Donley's Wild West Town

Union, Illinois

Memories of the Phonograph


Doug Boilesen 2022

Donley's Wild West Town is a themed, "Family Fun Since 1974" amusement park with a museum which includes a collection of phonographs. At one time this was known as "Seven Acres Museum and Village."

It was one of the last family run theme parks of its type in the United States but is no longer open.

In a 2017 article by Liz Moyer in the New York Times the current owners' selling conditions were described as wanting the new owners "to continue in their current Howdy Doody-esque form, right down to the gold-panning pavilion, the live action Wild West show, and kiddie rides on the 19th-century miniature locomotive." The challenge, says Moyer, is that "places like Wild West Town are relics of a bygone era, trying to attract children who are more attracted to virtual reality and mobile apps than games of cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians."

Perhaps this 'museum" should be moved from Phonographia's PhonoAvenue gallery to Phonographia's Temporary Exhibits for collections no longer on display.

Nevertheless, the following shows a few of the phonograph related items that at one time were displayed at the Union, Illinois museum and village.



Courtesy David Kasnic for The New York Times