Friday, April 22, 2016

Archaeology of Kitsch

After seeing the Wonders of the Ancient world standing next to roller coasters and fast food joints I was regarding the hyper kitsch of Wisconsin Dells in a somewhat different light.  One place that looked to have had better days caught my eye for a closer look.

The CASTLE OF ERROR as we shall call it stood right next to a brightly colored T shirt shop and across from a slightly more frightening place that promised you could FEED LIVE ALLIGATORS and see such sights as a two headed turtle and a 400 pound albino python.  Maybe the jump and shriek spook house attraction just couldn't compete.

But how long had it been out of business?  And what kind of place was it?

First of all it was not a very convincing Spooky Castle.  Here you can see an easy escape route for those clear headed enough to just scoot under the faux wood door.  The yellow patch is where the foam insulation that seems to have been the chief building material has peeled off.

The CASTLE shared an alley with the Go Kart track next door so it was fairly easy to peek inside the ominous, brooding stronghold...

Huh.  Looks more like a hamburger shack.

And that guess was not far off.  Probably practical considerations prevented the proprietors from covering the front step with slime and ooze, so you can look down at the entrance and still see:

A quick Google search showed this to be an Italian deli.  Its menu seemed pretty basic.  They bragged about having a flight simulator you could "fly" in while waiting for your order to be up.  The underlying structure still looks wrong for a deli, so perhaps Bomberinos was not the first occupant.  As to the most recent owners, one of them still seems to be keeping the spooky faith just inside the front door:

I'd like to think he found my spectral image good company.

Of course Archaeology always comes down to dating.  Bomberino's goes back far enough that I saw one of their menus on ebay. It seems to have been a small chain that closed its last store in 2003.  And taking a look on Google Earth I see that the sign of the CASTLE had already begun to fall off in the spring of 2014.

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