Did You Know There Used to Be a Holy Land Theme Park On I-84?
Decades ago a religious theme park right off of I-84 drew tens of thousands of visitors a year.
If you've ever traveled on I-84 East from the Hudson Valley you may have noticed a huge cross on a hill. That cross was once the home of a thriving religious theme park called Holy Land USA. The 14-acre park was built in 1955 and became a hot tourist destination during the 60s and 70s.
Most people drive by the giant cross on their way from the Hudson Valley to Massachusettes or New England. The enormous crucifix sits high on a hill overlooking I-84 in Waterbury, Connecticut. It was once the centerpiece of Holy Land USA, but now is all that's left of this crumbling, religious theme park. The attraction closed its doors in 1984 and although there have been a few restoration attempts, it's never reopened.
The park was built to resemble Jeresulem and Bethlehem and depict scenes and moments from the Bible. There was a "Garden of Eden" exhibit and huge letters on a hill spelling out "Holy Land USA," much like the famed Hollywood sign in California. After closing, the park became a different type of tourist destination. Curiosity seekers would hop the fence and gawk at the decaying attractions and dilapidated structures, which were both creepy and beautiful at the same time.
This footage was taken in the park after it closed and later uploaded to YouTube with a sinister sounding soundtrack.
In 2010 the park received unwanted attention after a 16-year-old was raped and murdered on the abandoned Holy Land grounds. Although the park has never reopened to the public, the cross has been repaired and replaced through the years. In 2013 LED lights were added to the landmark, allowing it to change colors depending on the Catholic church holidays.