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Amusement and Theme Parks
The rise and spectacular fall of Venice Beach's Pacific Ocean Park
The rise and spectacular fall of Venice Beach's Pacific Ocean Park

If you had walked along the beach in Venice in the early 1970s, you would have come across the sagging, crumbling, partially incinerated ghost of an old amusement park on a pier. If you've watched the skate documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys," which shows surfers nimbly riding waves under the gnarled carcasses of roller coasters, you've seen much the same thing. But when it opened in July 1958, more than half a century ago, Pacific Ocean Park — or P.O.P., as it came to be known — was the thing: an amusement park that married Venice Beach's kitschy seaside carnival culture with the space-age Modern architecture of the late 1950s. A new book by...

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