The Yellow Brick Road in L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is in the spotlight after a bunch of marine researchers recently stumbled upon a “strange yellow brick road” in the bottom of the Pacific ocean.

How did L Frank Baum think of a Yellow Brick Road?

Dorothy and her dog are whisked away from Kansas into the strange world of Oz by a tomado. They meet a Witch of the North, who tells them that they have to go through a Yellow Brick Road that leads to the Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz who would help them find their way back. What ensues is an adventurous journey through the yellow brick road, along which they meet a talking Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a cowardly lion, who become their friends. The yellow brick road, however, was far from smooth. It was broken in places, with deep chasms leading to steep cliffs.

L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is believed to have been inspired by a brick road in Peekskill, New York, where he attended the Military Academy. However. Roger S Baum, the great grandson of Frank Baum and a children’s book author, says the yellow brick road in the books was actually inspired by the winding cobblestone roads in Holland, Michigan, where Baum loved to spend summers with his family.

There is another claim, which states that Baum once stayed in a hotel in Dallas, Texas, during his newspaper career. This was a time when the streets were paved with wooden blocks of Bois D’Arc also known as Osage Orange. It is said that when Baum looked out of the window of his room after a rainstorm, when the sun was just coming out, he saw a bright yellow brick road, which made way to his book.

The yellow brick road appears not just in the first book of the Oz series, but in their sequels, too-The Marvellous Land of Oz (1904) and the Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913).

There were several roads nearby, but it did not take Dorothy long to find the one paved bricks” with yellow

The central character in the 1900 children’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz took this road, her silver shoes making a tinkling sound on the hard yellow road-bed. This golden thoroughfare would lead her to Emerald City, located in the exact centre of the continent

Bizarre, but true

Looks like a team of researchers felt like Dorothy when they stumbled upon what looked like a yellow brick road at the bottom of the ocean. Recently, a little north off the islands of Hawaii, a marine exploration vessel Nautilus found a strange “yellow brick road” on the bed of the Pacific ocean.

While studying an area called the Liliuokalani Ridge in the Papahanamokuakea Marine National Monument, the researchers say they found what looked like an ancient dried out lake bed paved with yellow bricks. Though underwater, the “yellow brick road” appeared dry, “almost like a baked crust of earth that could be peeled off.”

The team found the formation bizarre. One of them quipped that this could be Dorothy’s yellow brick road, while another wondered if this was the road to Atlantis, a fictional island that appears in ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s works.

The road on the seabed could be the result of fractures in a volcanic rock that gives it the appearance of a bricks, says the team.

Oz worlds

The US has a number of Oz-themed parks, where one can join Dorothy on her adventurous trip to Emerald City. Some of these parks have created yellow brick roads too.

Liberal in Kansas, United States of America, has a ‘Dorothy’s House’, ‘Land of Oz and the ‘Coronado Museum’, which pay tribute to the characters in The Wizard of Oz. There is an Oz-themed park here as well.

Aberdeen in South Dakota, the US, has Storybook Land’ and the Land of Oz Atractions based on the adventures of Dorothy.

The Land of Oz located in Beech Mountain, North Carolina, is a theme park based on Baum’s Oz books. It was opened in 1970 and was fully operational until its closure in 1980. Now, it has reopened with Journey with Dorothy’ tours and Autumn at Oz festivals.

Picture Credit : Google 

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