Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pickwick Bowl, Burbank, Ca

 Just down the street from my place stands a recreation center with an ominous past, Pickwick Bowling Alley and Gardens.

"The recreation center known today as The Pickwick Bowl, in the 1940's, was just a trailer park with a community swimming pool. Despite the innocuous slogan "For 'fun in the sun' meet me at the Pickwick Pool," this small body of water had more than its share of scandal and urban legends. Not only did a "squeaky clean" teen-age celebrity reputedly get caught exposing himself to the other swimmers (leading to his firing at Disney Studios, and essentially the end of his career), but for some strange reason the pool area seemed to attract fatal injuries as children died from drownings and diving board accidents. Safety concerns were most likely the reason the pool was eventually filled in with dirt (creating the Pickwick Gardens).

 In 1958, construction began on the bowling alleys and adjacent ice rink. However, they may have built over the old "death magnet" at that site, but apparently they didn't get rid out it. Employees have told GHOULA confidentially that the management doesn't want it known (and denies) that many people have died (accidentally) on the ice rink. Strangely, all the death that seems to swarm around the premises has nothing to do with Pickwick's ghost story. The employees claim (and the management denies) that the ghost of a former manager haunts the upstairs office. Papers and other objects have been seen sliding forcefully across the desk for no apparent reason, as well as the door to that office seems to close by itself."-ghoula

 "That said, this recreation center has another claim to fame in the local ghost culture. Pickwick Bowl was the inspiration for one of the audio-animatronic "happy haunts" from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. There used to be a sign in front of this leisure complex that featured a caricature of "Pickwick," the Dickens character (and this establishment's mascot). It seems that Imagineers that would commute to work at WED enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) just a few blocks away decided to pay tribute to the cheerful fellow on the sign they past everyday. Thus, in the ballroom scene of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, a ghost hanging from a chandelier (also known by the name "Pickwick") was created to match the one at Pickwick Bowl."-ghoula

                                       The Pickwick Pool before being filled in in 1960's

                               Just after being filled in and converted into Pickwick Bowl
                                                                Pickwick Bowl Today













7 comments:

  1. Great story and great photos, but I'm wondering about the pool being filled in during the 40s, thinking it may have been later if this was indeed the pool related to the Disney star incident. That star was born in 1941, and the incident happened in his late teens/early 20s.

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    1. Thanks man! The story source is from : -ghoula Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles, the photos on the bottom are mine! Thanks for your insight, I'll do more research/ and post results.

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  2. Wow! I was wondering what happen to this place. Our school went to picwick park on a best field trip ever.

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  3. Pool wasn't filled in until the early or mid 1980s. Now the Pickwick Gardens where they do weddings and have a business meeting center. Not where the bowling alley has been for about 50 years.

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    1. I'm glad you remember this. I was starting to question myself, because I remember going there on a class field trip in the 80's and there was still a pool. Thanks!

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    2. I agree! I clearly remember playing and swimming at the Pickwick pool in the early to mid 80's...It was honestly bittersweet coming back for my cousin's wedding (which took place in the gardens) so many years later. Well it haunts me finding this bit of my youth buried beneath the roots of not only plants, but of even the roots of my own blood! I left no mark upon this location and all that are left are the memories in my head, after that it's the work of photographs and any records kept. Only if you could take those snapshots of time, the emotions you felt, the thoughts you had, the things you saw, and somehow could record them to a collective body of historic data. Sorry about getting out in the woods with this, but I think everyone can agree that so much history is lost every single day, so much information! We humans try to preserve it as best we can, but we need much more powerful solutions!

      I'm going to go absolutely off on a limb (and into wacko territory) and propose that if the claims of quantum computing are in fact true, then the instance somebody figures out how to manipulate and record the world around them by using one of these machines, time travel will be possible at least to that first moment. but the pessimist in me thinks we will destroy ourselves using the technology or be destroyed by those fortunate enough to possess it.

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  4. I swam at the pool on field trips with Camp Hollywoodland in the late 70's!!! So sad to see it's not there!

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