From Mick Melvin:
While traveling on Route 84 to visit my then fiancé (now wife), I spotted a cross high up on a hill going through Waterbury, CT. That was about eight years ago, and I have been fascinated by it ever since.
I asked my fiancé about it and she told me it was connected to a theme park. I was surprised to hear that Holy Land USA was once a thriving amusement park in the 1960’s and '70’s. The property is now run down and has been vandalized badly.
The park is comprised of a mini Bethlehem, a chapel and replicas of catacombs, villages, the Garden of Eden, and many other statues. Most of the attractions are destroyed or in serious disrepair (I drove past this place countless times as a kid, and always wondered what it looked like; wish I'd visited -- DB).
The park was a closed in 1984 and was to be renovated and expanded. The original owner, John Baptist Greco, passed away in 1986 and that never happened.
The property was left to the Filippini Sisters, a religious order of nuns. The sisters tried to revitalize the park, but have since sold the property to Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary and car dealer Fred "Fritz" Blasius. They plan to revitalize the property. The first thing they did was install a new illuminated 50-foot cross, replacing the original 56-foot cross.
I didn't get many great shots because of the huge "No Trespassing" sign, but I plan on revisiting this site to get some better shots. (Here's a recent article about the renovation, and cool photos of what the place looks like now -- DB).
One additional fun fact (this is for you, Dave), is that the Flaming Lips recorded a video for the song, "Unconsciously Screamin’," in 1990 at the site.
(I DO love that fun fact! Here's the video -- DB)