On June 29, 1963, Legend City opened to much excitement by the local residences. They had high hopes of this being our version of Disneyland with a western feel to it. It featured several different attractions that were popular and always stick in the memories of those of us habitual visitors to the park. There was the Lost Dutchman Mine ride, Cochise’s Stronghold river ride, Sky Ride, a Penny Arcade, Gay 90’s Miniature Golf, Log Jammer, Iron Horse train ride, and many more fun and fast rides. A local kid’s TV show, “Wallace and Ladmo” appeared there almost every weekend the park was opened. Even an ex-Miss America 1965, Vonda Kay Van Dyke, presented a well-liked ventriloquist act at the park’s Golden Palace Saloon.
I have many memories of visiting Legend City, first with my parents and then with my friends. There were many times that we had nothing to do on weekends and lucky for us, Legend City was there as a place we could go to have fun. The prices were affordable and allowed us to experience all the attractions of the entire park. We got to know some of the employees, which usually gained us free access to some of the rides. It was definitely a fun place for us teenies to hang out in.
Legend City wasn’t without its problems. Through its 20 years of existence, it fell into hardship with a series of closings, bankruptcies, and ownership changes. After many years of difficulties and falling into financial disarray, it was finally sold to Salt River Project, a local electric company, in 1982. The doors were permanently closed after the 1983 season was over, then dismantled and bulldozed to make way for the new corporate offices for the electric company.
Even though Legend City is truly now considered a legend, it has fond memories for all of us that often visited the park when it was at its most successful era. Perhaps it is our very hot summers or the failing state budget is why this fifth largest city in the United States is lacking a major amusement park.