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Last remnants of Never Never Land coming down at Point Defiance

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Oct. 14, 2010 at 11:27 am with 18 Comments »
October 14, 2010 12:55 pm

The Old Woman's Shoe in its heyday

The shoe today – The Old Woman moved to a Florida condo a while back

The last remaining vestiges from Point Defiance Park’s Never Never Land – the Old Woman’s Shoe and the stack of giant books – are coming down this week.

Demolition will take place today and Friday on the wood and stucco structures near Fort Nisqually in the park, according to Metro Parks spokeswoman Nancy Johnson. The four-decade-old structures are deteriorating and moldy to the point that they were deemed unsafe, Johnson said.

“There’s nothing that’s even recyclable or reusable,” Johnson said.

The family attraction, which featured playhouses and figurines based on fairy tales, has fallen into disrepair over the years. It opened in 1964 as a private concession within the park according to the park district’s history of the site. Metro Parks bought the attraction and reopened it in 1986, after the original owner was unable to make a go of it.

In 2001, the district removed the figurines and in the meantime has removed the remaining rotting wooden structures. Now, the area features a newer pirate’s ship play structure and picnic tables.

Johnson said the remaining figurines are being kept in storage and the district still has the original molds. The district has no immediate plans for the area, but long-range plans suggest that it would be an appropriate site for a Native American interpretive site to complement Fort Nisqually.

Share your memories: Tell us about your experiences at Point Defiance’s Never Never Land. Send us an e-mail with your story, please include your name and a phone number where we can reach you.

Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. my mother used to take me here all the time to play. When my kids were old enough, i started taking them there as well. They love the pirate ship but always wondered what it was like to actually ‘play’ in the shoe. i can tell stories, but it’s not the same.

  2. McKnlyHillScion says:

    Sad to see it go. It was an imaginative playland for children that encouraged knowledge and reading of the classic fairy tales. Though a Native American interpretive site is interesting, it risks becoming a sterilized, shallow display of Native life, a mere tourist destination (and I am a member of the large, local tribe.) It would never serve the youngest of our citizens in the way that Never Never Land had.

  3. guidocarmasi says:

    Never will Never be the same Never again in Never Never Land

  4. bkeyport1970 says:

    it’s a shame, but what must be done must be done. Maybe someday when the grownups realize the innocence lost can be gotten back, we’ll get it back.

  5. OldLefty says:

    No characters left for college kids to steal and put in interesting places around town?

    What is the world coming to??????

  6. royboy361 says:

    I too think it is a shame but if it’s falling apart then it has to go. I wish it could be replaced with something kids can enjoy like playground equipment.

  7. I think a Native American interpretive area next to Fort Nisqually would be so great! I would totally take my kids to that!!!!

  8. Rowdy_Rob says:

    Taking down something based on fantasy in the name of political correctness. What a shame…

  9. tree_guy says:

    Never never land is just a memory, a tribute to the failure of Metro Parks to allocate sufficient funds to maintenance and/or replacement. Happily, metro parks employees and managers will continue to receive a well maintained salary and benefit structure.

  10. I was sad a long time ago as pieces of this wonderful attraction started disappearing. It hurts more now that the last of it is going. It was one of my favorite places to go at the park.

    I’m glad they still have the molds. They need to put the molds to work and make some castings. Let the local schools and their art classes do the painting of them.

  11. So sad to see this go! Many great memories as a kid. Awhile back I was looking this place up and came across this site: http://www.tacomasun.com/2008/02/15/tacoma-underground-never-never-land-figures/ . It was nice to see the old figures again…

  12. I don’t see how it was unsafe. I walked around it just the other day with my six month old daughter and neither of us died from mold poisoning. That was my favorite place to visit for many years along with the Camp 6 Logging Museum. I think replacing something that was a lot of fun for kids with another interpretive site is ludicrous. I officially hate Metro Parks now.

  13. cking9900 says:

    Husky1B: I completely agree with you. there are not enough places to take small children for fun imaginative play around the area. I have great memories of Never, Never Land as a child. Its really too bad.

  14. TacomaBorn says:

    I AGREE wiith Tree_guy .. If these inflated salaries were Never, Never there.. then Never Never Land would still be there!!

  15. MJ2YOUNG says:

    Build another never never land for the kids to enjoy.

    This time have some pay phones in all areas of the park for people to use, in case they need to.

  16. Makes me wonder what ever happened to the many pre-columbian sculptures Clarence Deming had commissioned for the WP conservatory.

  17. The WA State Governor makes $ 166,800 / year.
    The head of Metro Parks makes $ 175,300 / year
    go figure…

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