Abandoned Amusement Park
Marble Falls, Arkansas
“Dogpatch USA was profitable in its first few years, and Odom expanded
the park’s amenities. By the 1970 opening day, a motel consisting of 60
mobile-home units had been completed, and a funicular to carry guests from the parking lot to the park entrance was a few weeks away from completion.
In 1971, Odom, who foresaw unlimited potential for the park, bought out
most of the remaining investors for $700,000 and became, essentially,
the owner. Several new attractions were added in time for the 1972
season opening, including an “Animal World” section with a sea lion
exhibit and an aviary with exotic birds, a children’s water ride, and,
as stated by the Harrison Daily Times, a “unique boat train ride.
Success seemed to be on the horizon for Odom and Dogpatch USA, but the
many unforeseen events of the 1970s cast a dark shadow on Odom’s dreams.
Attendance figures throughout that decade were woefully short of
expectations. In 1973, interest rates began to skyrocket, and a
nationwide energy crisis kept many tourists home. In a bout of cancellations nicknamed the Rural purge, American television networks eliminated many shows with country themes, and the popularity of hillbillies waned. The Li’l Abner restaurant chain was never built. The proposed Li’l
Abner TV series was never made; a pilot was produced and premiered as a
television special on ABC-TV, but it received poor reviews and no
network purchased the series.”