Did Peekskill inspire ‘Wizard of Oz’ creator?

The image of Dorothy and her newfound friends skipping along a yellow brick road has been made classic by the book and film "The Wizard of Oz." But did the inspiration for the sun-colored cobbles come from Peekskill?



A small patch of canary yellow cobblestones lies right behind a wine shop on South Water Street in Peekskill. Some, including actress Liz Peterson, believe the stones were inspiration for Frank Baum, who wrote the famed tale.



Back in the late 1800s, Baum came to Peekskill to attend the military academy, where the Peekskill High School now sits.



Some say that in order to get to the academy, Baum was told to "follow the yellow brick road." They believe that the Peekskill road turned into the symbolic road that led Dorothy to the great and powerful Oz.



County Legislator and former Mayor of Peekskill John Testa says he doesn't think the road's home is in Westchester. "The road is a later construction from when he was here... But there might be other influences of Peekskill that would have influenced his thinking."



Either way, Baum's books certainly influenced 36 locals that are currently working to put on a performance of the "Wizard of Oz" at the Paramount Theater in Peekskill. The cast has been preparing for their shows that begin next weekend.


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