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Is the Yellow Brick Road in Peekskill?

When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, could the yellow brick road have been inspired by a road in Peekskill, New York? City historian John Curran thinks so, and has done the research. Baum attended Peekskill Military Academy in 1868, when he was 12 years old. He did not enjoy the experience.
Mr. Curran believes the ordeal shaped the Wizard of Oz. "Whenever Baum had an emotional experience, such as his two years at Peekskill Military Academy, it showed up in the book," Mr. Curran says during his Oz presentation at the museum. "Whenever the characters get off the yellow brick road, they get into trouble."

In 2005, a Fulbright scholar and artist persuaded John Testa, who was the mayor of Peekskill at the time, to conduct an authenticity study on the road. Mr. Curran uncovered maps showing that West Street, which leads from the steamboat dock up a hill to the military academy, was indeed made of Dutch pavers, a common yellow-hued brick in the Dutch-settled area.

The maps showed Mr. Baum had to have walked along the road to get to school, Mr. Curran said.

Only a small part of the road is still brick. Curran would like to restore the road, or build a monument of some sort to Oz, but the city does not have the money for such a project. Link -via The Daily What

(Image credit: Shelly Banjo/The Wall Street Journal)

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I wonder if it is also an analogue for the "straight and narrow" it is a common theme in literature that describes the anagogical procession from ignorance to enlightenment. In John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Christian walks a straight-and-narrow path to the Celestial City and “Whenever the characters get off" the path "they get into trouble.” In the Wizard of Oz the path leads to the Emerald City. Generally such stories will follow one character who begins in the state of ignorance and gradually learns by the help of characters with definite traits and defecits that reflect her own psychological nature. As in the Tin-Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion who all have their strengths and weaknesses reflecting human psychology. In Pilgrim's Progress these characters actually have names reflecting those triats, such as "Pliable" and "Obstinate". The general theme is very old, probably prehistoric.

Personally, I think this is the nature of much great literature, whether it is Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Dante's Divine Comedy or Shakespeare's Othello. While it has a deeper enlightened meaning to it, it also passes as great entertainment to those not interested in grasping the hidden meaning. Anyway, just a thought I wanted to share and interesting history.
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