The Mostly-Deserted House of David Amusement Park, Benton Harbor
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
However, there are sometimes people on the grounds who will show you around.
There are other articles where you can read about the House of David and its infamous leader, Benjamin Purnell. But this time it's all about their famous amusement park that was/is located in Benton Harbor.
People from all over the world – for real – came and visited this park. After Purnell's fall from grace, the park became insanely popular in the 1930s, with thousands of people visiting EVERY DAY.
The park had a miniature train (powered by coal) that drove visitors around the park, and to the House of David commune as well. There was a zoo with alligators, monkeys, lions, tigers, pony rides, goldfish/koi pond, bird house (aviary, with some unique birds that included cockatoos, eagles, and emus), and bears. The park also had a hotel, baseball field, beer garden, open-air theater with an outside dance floor, mini race car track, penny arcade, light house, fountain, print shop, jam and jelly stand, souvenir shop, bowling alley, cider mill, pool hall, and restaurant.
The entertainment performers came from all over the country and this one the place to go in Western Michigan. Over time the membership declined in both communes and the amusement park closed. Today there are a few members left. The Eden Springs Park has reopened restoring one of the trains. The park is not what it used to be but the train still gives rides to passengers.
After a few decades, House of David membership declined, due in part to the rule that required no member was allowed to have sex. With few people left to tend the park, the park finally shut down in the 1970s. In the 2000s it somewhat re-opened, only giving train rides through the park around the abandoned buildings that still sit on the grounds. Take a look at the gallery below for some 'then-and-now' pictures.
The Former House of David Amusement Park
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