In 1940, Roman Catholic attorney John Baptist Greco, opened Holy Land USA, a Bible-inspired theme park in Waterbury, Connecticut. Greco, a Waterbury native, wanted the community to be able to better understand the Bible. His vision was a place for all people, regardless of race, creed or color, to sit and be peaceful.
The park was built with the help of a group of volunteers known as Companions of Christ. It featured Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Herod's palace, a recreation of the Garden of Eden, a diorama depicting Daniel in the lions' den, and various recreations of the life and ministry of Jesus. The centerpiece of the site was a 56-foot (17 meters) tall cross and an illuminated sign that read “Holy Land USA”.
During the 1960s and 70s, Holy Land USA became the largest tourist attraction in Connecticut with more than 40,000 visitors annualy. The was closed down by Greco in 1984 with plans to improve and expand the site. The word, however, was left unfinished when Greco died in 1986.
Since then, the park has fallen into a state of advanced disrepair. The property was left to Religious Sisters of Filippi Greco who have been accused of stopping any restoration efforts. Currently the site remains closed although it continues to attract the attention of many tourists as well as urban explorers.
In 2010, the rape and murder of a 16-year old girl inside the property generated interest in the unused property and its future.
SEE ALSO: More abandoned theme parks and abandoned amusement parks around the world // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES