— Historian John Curren believes he has found the inspiration for the yellow brick road in L. Frank Baum’s popular children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Mostly gone, the road leads to a parking lot in the small town of Peekskill, NY
Curren pored over the life of Baum and discovered the man spent two years as a child in Peekskill, NY. At the age of 12, Baum spent two difficult years at the Peekskill Military Academy. Maps from that time show there was an actual yellow brick road made from Dutch pavers. The road extended from the river, up a hill, and to the Military Academy. Though he never mentioned it in any of his diaries, a young Mr Baum would have walked this yellow road many, many times.
Most of the brick road is now paved, but a small section still remains as a parking lot in the heart of downtown Peekskill. The owner of the lot would be happy to commemorate the literary road, but he is not willing to lay down the cash needed for restoration. The town is ambivalent as well. Even a custom rendition of Anything Can Happen sung by a supporter during a town meeting would not move the officials to donate $225,000 for a memorial. [WSJ]