Historian Fights to Save Baum's Yellow Brick Road

John Curran is convinced New York road inspired Baum
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2011 3:27 PM CDT
Historian Fights to Save Yellow Brick Road He Believes Inspired 'Wizard of Oz' Author L. Frank Baum
Yellow brick road, the Oz version.   (Amazon.com)

(Newser) – The famous yellow brick road of Oz legend is now being used as a parking lot, if one historian is to be believed. John Curran has been fighting for nearly a decade to preserve the golden bricks in Peekskill, New York, that he believes inspired L. Frank Baum. Baum was sent to the Peekskill Military Academy at age 12, the Wall Street Journal reports. As Curran's story goes, the future author got off his steamboat, asked for directions, and heard the now-famous words: "Just follow the yellow brick road."

There's no official consensus—Baum never mentioned that particular road, although he did write letters passionately decrying the school itself—but maps do show that the road once led from the academy. Much of it has since been paved over, but a stretch of the original yellow brick remains. Curran wants the city to memorialize it in some way—he once campaigned for a life-size statue of Wizard of Oz characters—but alas, no one wants to pay for it. (Read more The Wizard of Oz stories.)

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