I believe I finally completed my collection.
Let me explain.
I loved going to what was then known as Storytown U.S.A., a beloved theme park in the Adirondacks. And one of my favorite parts of my trip involved visiting Ghost Town, a section of the park where kids could travel back to the old Wild West. They could even interact with the local sheriff, Wild Windy Bill McKay, and they could help stop the bandits and the rustlers and the horse thieves four times a day, every day.
And one of the beloved treasures a kid received upon visiting Ghost Town was a tin pinback marshal’s badge. These things were like gold.
And over the years, I’ve slowly built up a collection of these tin treasures. Recently, I acquired what I believe would be my final badge to complete the set. You want to see the collection?
Take a looksie.
Okay. The park opened in 1954, the Ghost Town addition started in 1957. That white pin at upper left was from that first year of Ghost Town, given away at around 1957 or into 1958. Sheriff Wild Windy Bill McKay was the man in charge back then.
The two badges at the top row all say “Ghost Town,” and the top of the pin denotes their manufacture as from from one of two companies, NBC of Albany, N.Y. (not the television network or the cookie company), and Arrow Novelty Company. These badges were yellow with red lettering and colored red points.
The final two on the top right and the three center left were all printed by NBC of Albany, N.Y, and have slight variations as to their being “Storytown” or “Story Town,” and there’s some font sizing differences.
The pin at center middle now says “The Great Escape,” and the company manufacturing the pin is listed as NBP of Albany, N.Y. Judging from the name change, this may have been awarded to junior marshals between 1994 and 2000.
At far right are the first pins to donate an anniversary, as can be seen with the number “44” on the badge’s lowest point. The words “The Great Escape” are now on one line. The 44 pin may have been offered in 2001, which would have been Ghost Town’s 44th year of operation (and coincidentally, Sheriff McKay’s 44th year as the area peacemaker). The pin at far right center, the “45” pin, was the last pin I needed to complete my collection.
The bottom row has a major redesign, as the “46”, “47” and “48” pins are now blue with white points and white lettering.
The two pins at far lower right are a 50th anniversary of Ghost Town pin (brown with “The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom” logo), and a 60th anniversary of the park itself (gold with “The Great Escape: A Six Flags Theme Park”).
Yeah, I have a narrow field of collecting. But now that I have all these badges together …
They just look awesome together. I’m sorry. They just do.
Man, I can’t wait for the park to open again. I need another ride on the Comet roller coaster. I need another walk through Ghost Town. And I need to feel like a kid again.
I think we all do at this point in time.
I had one of the yellow badges. If you ever go to visit the ruins again this summer you should post it and organize a field trip. We can rent an old yellow school bus and bring paper bag lunches with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a cooler filled with Chocolate Milk from the Normanskill Dairy!
Talk about dogged determination.
I think the sheriff has since passed away
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