by Paula Bosse
Six Flags Over Texas had a bookstore: the Historical Press Bookshop, located in the “Confederate Section.” Who knew? I was surprised when I ran across this postcard, but I figured it was a place to buy gum, film (remember film?), giant combs emblazoned with the Six Flags logo, and this very postcard. But no. It was a bookstore that sold rare Texana, including historic books, prints, and documents. At Six Flags. …Over Texas. …Land of Pink Things and Log Rides.
The description from the back of the postcard:
The store was ostensibly owned by Six Flags developer Angus Wynne, Jr., but the contents were owned by Ted W. Mayborn, wealthy petroleum trade journal publisher, writer, and Texas history aficionado. In a playful bow to having an antiquarian bookstore inside a theme park (!), he hired female family members to dress up in cowgirl outfits and brandish six-shooters in a bid to “protect” the (probably very expensive) merchandise.
I’m not really sure how this worked — or why anyone would think this was a good idea. Would one find oneself enjoying a day at Six Flags only to stumble across this unexpected cache of rare books and feel compelled to pick up a leather-bound first edition or a fragile broadside? Or would one go to Six Flags expressly to visit the bookstore and browse the stock — despite the fact that it was in an amusement park? Would one have one’s purchase shipped, or would one lug it around the park, through Casa Magnetica, past Skull Island, and into the Spelunker’s Cave?
There has to be a story behind this unusual business endeavor. Did Ted save Angus from choking one time? Did he win the franchise in a poker game?
I’m not sure how long the Historical Press Bookshop lasted. My guess? Longer than it should have.
Weirder than discovering that a bookshop was once part of the Six Flags experience was learning that Mr. Mayborn owned a real bookshop called the Red Barn Bookstore and that my father worked for him for a few months, a time my mother described as being brief but stressful. I think I can understand why.
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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.