Meeting Princesses and Paupers in Central Park, New York
The fir log cottage was originally designed in Sweden as a model schoolhouse to be presented during 1876 U.S. Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The enchanting Scandinavian craftsmanship caught the eye of Frederick Olmsted, one of Central Park's designers, who purchased it for $1,500 and had it reassembled just south of the Delacorte Theater. It served as a tool shed, public restroom, entomological laboratory, and then civil defense headquarters during World War II, only to be re-designed as a children's theater and crafts workshop in 1947. Since then, thousands of viewers, young and old, have been enchanted by the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater's delightful productions of children's classics such as Gulliver's Travels, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and, of course, the Swedish heroine Pippi Longstocking. Before each show, puppeteers who write their own scripts and design the puppets themselves share production secrets with eager audiences. The ticket price—$5—is as charmingly old-fashioned as the whole project.