Studio Sixty1 | The Ghosts of Rock a Hoola

The Ghosts of Rock a Hoola

October 27, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

That seemed an appropriate title for a blog post leaning into Halloween.  When you see the images, you'll get it.  Especially the last one.

Anyways, Rock a Hoola . . ..  also known as Lake Dolores Waterpark.  Go and have a look at this.

I had a chance to visit briefly a couple years back and made these images.  I saw so much potential for more, but had a bit of a schedule to stick to.  After reading some recent news about it, I want to visit again.  Here's some of it's history via wikipedia.

Planning and construction
The park was originally designed and built by local businessman Bob Byers for use by his extended family. Lake Dolores was named after Byers' wife.
The initial phases of conception, planning and construction took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. An expanse of arid land on the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert 100 yards (91 m) from Interstate 15 was chosen for the project. The area contains underground springs fed by the Mojave Aquifer. Lake Dolores (the body of water) is a 273-acre (110 ha) man-made lake fed by underground springs.
In May 1962 a basic campground adjacent to the small lake was opened to the public. Enthusiasts of Motocross (off–road motorcycle racing) and people traveling on Interstate 15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas gave the campground some business.

Lake Dolores Waterpark
Over the next 25 years, rides and attractions were added, and the site evolved into a waterpark, which was advertised on television with the slogan "The Fun Spot of The Desert!"
The park saw its peak attendance between the early 1970s and the mid-1980s. After a downturn in popularity in the late 1980s, the park closed.
Rides and attractions
The park featured eight identical 150-foot (46 m) sixty–degree–angle steel waterslides mounted side by side on a man–made hill. Riders rode on small plastic "floaties" which skimmed 40 to 50 yards (37 to 46 m) across the lagoon when they hit the water at the slide's end.
Nearby were two V–shaped waterslides, also roughly 150 feet (46 m) long, which were ridden standing up. The slides ended about 15 feet (4.6 m) above the water, shooting the standing rider out of the end like a human cannonball.
On the "Zip–Cord" ride, riders hung from a hand–held device attached to a guide wire for approximately 200 feet (61 m) at a 30–degree downward angle. At the end of this wire the hand–grip would slam into a blocking mechanism and come to a stop about 20 feet (6.1 m) above the water, with the momentum thrusting the hanging rider 20 feet (6.1 m) forward into the lagoon.
In the middle of a smaller adjacent lake were three high diving boards, and three trapeze-like swings hanging from an A–frame structure mounted on a 20-foot (6.1 m) high platform. Riders launched themselves from these swings into the lake.
The "Big Bopper" was a fast, long group raft ride. The "Lazy River" was a slower and more relaxed raft ride. There were also bumper boats, an oval JetSki water racetrack, and a swimming pool.

Rock–A–Hoola Waterpark
Byers sold the defunct park in August 1990 to a three–member investment group led by Oxnard businessman Terry Christensen, who envisioned a more polished park with a 1950s theme.
In 1995, the original waterslides on the hill were removed to make room for new installations. The park reopened under a new name, "Rock–A–Hoola", on July 4, 1998. The new park featured the constant playing of 1950s and 1960s Rock and Roll music throughout the park. In its "Rock–A–Hoola" incarnation, the park included a river ride on inflated tubes.
An on–premise RV park had been planned but its opening was delayed. In its three seasons the park amassed three million dollars in debt, one of the three investors experienced financial problems, and the park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2000.
The court–appointed trustee failed to find a buyer, and in August 2000 the bankruptcy filing was changed to Chapter 7 liquidation. The bankruptcy judge overseeing the case returned the property to Dolores Byers (husband Bob Byers died in 1996) with most debts discharged.
Dolores Byers sold the property in September 2001 to S.L. Investment Group LLC of the City of Industry, California. She died a month later.

Discovery Waterpark
After a $400,000 renovation the waterpark reopened in May 2002 under a new name, "Discovery Waterpark". In 2002 and 2003, the park was open on weekends. During the last season of operation in the summer of 2004, the park operated intermittently. The park has been closed since the summer of 2004.

Desolation and ruin
In 2003, Olympic Gold Medalist and former professional football player Ron Brown and the Pro Players Network, a group of former and current professional athletes, formulated a proposal to purchase the park and turn it into a camp for disadvantaged youths, but this effort failed.
In recent years the park's hardware has been sold piecemeal. The "Big Bopper" waterslide was dismantled and shipped to Canada. It is now "Colossal Canyon" at Cultus Lake Waterpark near Vancouver.
The water slides and attractions are now gone. Repeatedly vandalized, much of the park is now in ruins.

Later activity
In January 2009 the park appeared in an episode of the reality show Rob & Big on MTV. Professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and friends used the waterpark and its slides to perform skateboard stunts for the show.
In 2011, a group called Oasis Themepark announced a project to renovate and reopen the park, but progress has been desultory.
In June 2012, another skate film "Kilian Martin: Altered Route" directed by Brett Novak and sponsored in part by Mercedes-Benz carefully showed the park in its current state while reflecting on its past appearance.
In 2013, TrustoCorp, a group of deviant artists from New York City, transformed the park into a "TrustoLand" as an artistic statement, by repainting many signs and buildings with unusual images and messages.
On May 27, 2013, Boards of Canada publicly debuted their album Tomorrow's Harvest by playing it first at Lake Dolores Waterpark. They had previously hinted that it would be played there by tweeting satellite images and uploading a video to YouTube featuring a distorted advertisement for the park titled Look Sad Reel, an obvious anagram of Lake Dolores.

The general abandonment that is seen throughout the park:

The Ghosts of Rock a HoolaThe Ghosts of Rock a HoolaThe Ghosts of Rock a Hoola

I think this one will work without the backstory.  Late day sunlight and shadows in the desert.

The Ghosts of Rock a HoolaThe Ghosts of Rock a HoolaThe Ghosts of Rock a Hoola

I visualized this looking creepy as a black and white when I composed it.  It's about as desolate and forlorn as things get.

The Ghosts of Rock a HoolaThe Ghosts of Rock a HoolaThe Ghosts of Rock a Hoola

I might crop this one in a cinemascope aspect ratio and add a second version.  I keep expecting to see one of George Romero's 1968 vintage zombies shuffle out of the snack bar.

Siochán leat, S.E.G.

I miss you, Pop.


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