MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Ask anyone who grew up in Memphis between 1976 and 2005 about Libertyland, and they will have a memory to share.
The amusement park holds a spot in the lore of the city. That's because it played such a memorable part in many people's lives.
"People got their start at Libertyland. People met their spouses. So, I think for many, a common thread through all of this is nostalgia. People have very fond memories of Libertyland and what it meant to them. Everyone has a Libertyland story of their favorite memory," John R. Stevenson V said.
Stevenson is one of those Memphians who is nostalgic for Libertyland. For him, it's impossible to pick one favorite memory, but the first that comes to mind was of a time he got a continuous ride on Zippin Pippin.
"The ability to ride it over and over without having to get off...that was just a very special memory," Stevenson said. "Also, my first time riding Zippin Pippin when I was 5. I just remember it was such an exhilarating experience and unlike anything I've done before and then the Revolution was my first looping roller coaster, and so I just have so many coaster milestones and memories at the park. It's hard to pick just one."
It's that love and nostalgia that inspired Stevenson to create a book about the history of the park.
Libertyland: Images of Modern America is now available. Click here to order your copy of the book.
The book is a collaboration with historians, people who worked at the park, people who helped design the park, and Memphians who just loved visiting.
"My goal with this book is to provide something tangible that will keep the memories of this park alive," Stevenson said. "It hurts when I hear someone say 'What's Libertyland?' It's understandable, it's been gone for more than 10 years now, so it's very understandable, but I hope this book is a conversation starter or something that is a tangible item that lives on and helps keep the memories of the park alive for generations to come."
Stevenson describes the book as a photo history book, inside of which you'll find countless pictures of the park throughout its history.
The book is organized chronologically, giving the reader a chance to relive the park starting in its embryonic stage as Fairgrounds Amusement Park in the 1920s and going through current options for what Memphis can do with the space left behind after the park closed in 2005.
Stevenson said his book is a tribute Libertyland's legacy, and a history lesson for generations of Memphians to come.
Stevenson will be signing copies of his book throughout the next few months. To see a schedule of signings and learn where you can buy a copy of the book yourself, click here.