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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Memories of Sarasville: An attraction of cement homes and dinosaurs that was once on the east side

BY RICHARD JOHNSON

I remember my daycare center taking us east of town to somebody’s yard filled with stone doll houses and concrete dinosaurs. I remember being told not to touch anything. 
I remember telling my parents about it and us driving around, to no avail, trying to find it again. In high school, my friends would eat acid and go jump the fence. Vandals destroyed most of the figures until one day it was gone. 
So how did Sarasville begin before it came to its destructive end? 
Here’s what people remember of the place dubbed “Dinosaur Acres”:
A man's daughter, Sara, died unexpectedly and unnaturally. He constructed the first dinosaur as a memorial, dinosaurs being one of her loves. Children began coming and playing with this grey-blue Brontosaurus,
Images from Sarasville, once located on Cheyenne’s east side.
which in turn made him desire to build little homes. More children were coming around, mostly at the low-light dusk hours. This lonely father started to run wiring to this area to ensure the children would feel more secure and not fear any sense of dread after nightfall. 
Unfortunately, after the lighting was in place, the children became scarcer. He removed the bulbs from the few poles scattered throughout. All except for that Brontosaurus of mortar, rocks and drowned-out pale blue pigment. 
He heard gleeful laughter an evening shortly after. The children had returned!  He ventured outside, with a warmed heart and a smile, to greet them. Alas, as he crossed his threshold the children left. Left is a misnomer. They simply dissolved, or more accurately, evaporated into a mist. Were these maybe the children that have gone missing since the death of his beloved Sara? 
No one came after this cold lonely night. He started to build with a furious strength to hear these children again.
I just kinda know about them. Made of cement and Coke bottles. Here’s one for you. Ever hear about the guy with the circus wagon full of monkeys that shredded him? Out in the same area. Yeah, I don't have names, but he was a customer of my dad’s. He had a traveling monkey show. He would go around all over and put on his little thing and show the monkeys. Went in to feed them one night and they ripped his ass to shreds and ate most of him.”
 
I do remember Sarahville. Only visited a couple of times. My dad said the guy who built it used glass embalming bottles to build the one house. Dad told me they would save them for him at the funeral home. Dad said they were square and made for easy building. The one at Sarahville was big enough to walk into.
I heard that it was a guy who lived there. And he built the dinosaurs and stuff in memory of his deceased daughter,
 Sarah. Hence, Sarahville. I also had heard if you trespassed on his property, he would shoot you with salt pellets.
I lived by it growing up.  I loved it and always heard it was haunted. I never saw anything and used to sneak in and get stoned.
I just heard it was haunted but never experienced any paranormal. Was only there once at night and it was creepy.
Dinosaur town, off Pershing. House got condemned because of the number of cats on the premises. The ammonia and feces in the residence were beyond any nasty hoarders’ episode. Then the vandalism that our fine Cheyenne residents did to the statues made the government step in and make the old man take down the statues. 
Used to be a meat packing facility on the same road, which is no longer there either.  I remember this place, and loved seeing it in its prime. What a shame what it is now.
 
Went there every Sunday with my grandparents and ate our hamburgers from the Arctic Circle. He was a sweet man and always let us walk around and showed us what he was working on. It is so amazing to see those photos.
 
Snuck in a few times in high school and smoked in the little glass house. Remember hearing the same story about the daughter and possible shooting of trespassers! Ha! I’d love to read a short story about it!
 
I ripped my pants, all the way up the ass, on a fence there running from something I was afraid of.
 
Me and a couple buddies went there at a not-so-logical time of night and were not exactly welcomed by the owner. This was circa ’96 if I remember correctly. We roamed around and got a close look at many of his works.
At the time we all thought it was creepy, but now that I think back, the artist had a ton of talent. The time spent to make everything out there is hard to fathom.  As we were running away, I distinctly remember one of our crew ripping their clothes while jumping the fence.  Good times!
The man who built a garden for his disabled wife? Was on the east side.”
                  — 
Does anyone remember why we called it Sarasville? I heard a mentally challenged man built it for his nieces and nephews.
 
I always heard he named it after his wife, Sara, that died. And that she was buried in one of the houses.
  
I know he built it for his daughter. Rumor had it she was never the same after something tragic happened. Nothing confirmed, but one rumor was she was abducted and raped. Lots of stories, but nothing for sure. His wife was never the same after that. It was very sad when they (the son) tore it down. Was a great tourist attraction.
 
Sara was the name of the mother to Paul, Wilda (Clark) and Laura. That’s where Sarasville came about.
 
It’s a shame we can’t have nice things. It seems our city should be renamed “Vandalism and RockSalt” because those seem to be the theme. 
Cheyenne truly is “The Tragic City of the Plains.”


            Richard Johnson is a former City Council member from Cheyenne’s east side.

7 comments:

  1. I like the kinder, gentler Richard.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The place was called Mobley's or at least the people's name was Mobley, as a small child I used to sell him my Easy Bake Oven boxes and he would put them in the little houses and give me a dime and me and my brothers would go down the street to Jim's Place the meat packing place and by Penny Candy and then we would go throw dirt clods in the open gut pits behind Jim's Place those were the good old days. I visited last when the old folks were passed and the son was loading the little houses on trailers to sell in Colorado somewhere, sad to see it go. The old man would always let me and my brothers in and we would spend hours on hours there.

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  3. I lived across the street from this location for over ten years with my family. Unfortunately I never witnessed the statues. I heard from numerous people if the prior existence. I believe I met the owner of this place in an unorthodox setting. And to say the least, it’s unbearably saddening to me. For whatever reason this place existed I believe it’s a cornerstone of Cheyenne’s history. Whatever the accurate story behind this place is, it left a mark! I’m glad I got to live so near and dear to it!

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  5. Does anyone know the approximate address of the property? I'd like to drive by just for old time's sake...

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