The Arto Monaco Historical Society, ensuring the legacy of Arto Monaco for future generations


During the flooding of August 28, 2011, the former Land of Makebelieve site
suffered devastating damage to its remaining buildings, including the castle.

We want to thank our friends for their expressions of concern and remind
everyone that the site is very hazardous! For reasons of safety, please do
not enter the property. For photos by Arto Monaco's niece, Carrie Denton

We are grateful for the help and support of the Town of Jay and our many
wonderful Upper Jay neighbors. In particular, we thank Lynda, Bob, Carrie,
and Scott Denton, who have been dedicated guardians of the Land of
Makebelieve and tireless collaborators in the work of the Arto Monaco Historical Society.

Our plans for the immediate future are uncertain, but we remain committed to
our long-term vision of developing  a park on the property that will honor
Arto Monaco and the magical Land of Makebelieve. Your contributions toward
making that a reality are most welcome.


Join us on

Formed in 2005, The Arto Monaco Historical Society is a public charity
exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. Donations are fully tax deductible.




In Memorium:

GLADYS B. MONACO, 1910-2011

Gladys B. Monaco passed away on October 16, 2011, at the age of 100, in Saranac Lake, NY.

Glad was born on December 21, 1910, in AuSable Forks, NY, the ninth child of Mima Johnson and Alan Burrell. In 1941, she married Arto Monaco, shortly before he joined the Army. Together, they traveled and lived in many locations during his distinguished World War II career.

After the war, Glad and Arto returned to Upper Jay, NY, where she supported Arto’s business and artistic pursuits, including the Monaco Toy Factory, the design of Santa’s Workshop in Wilmington, and the creation of the Land of Makebelieve in Upper Jay, which she and Arto operated for 25 years.

Glad was proud to have been the first “Little Bo Peep” at Santa’s Workshop. She correctly claimed to have “worn the Little Bo Peep costume better than anyone.” She enjoyed adding, “After all, Arto designed it!”

Glad founded and owned the Strawberry Roan gift shop in Wilmington, NY, with Ruth Zackey. The shop was a local landmark, featuring a big, beautiful strawberry roan horse figure, which Arto designed to sit out front.

The flooding associated with Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011 destroyed Glad’s home, which had been located on the site of the Land of Makebelieve in Upper Jay. Following a rapid, yet reluctant, evacuation, she lived with her sister-in-law, Teresa Monaco, before moving to Saranac Village at the Will Rogers Institute in Saranac Lake, NY.

Glad will be missed by family and friends, including the generous caregivers who shared affection, enriched through hours of card playing and story telling.

A burial service will be at the Mountain View Cemetery in Upper Jay, NY on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM. All are welcome. Online condolences may be made at A memorial reception may be held at a later time; details will be announced once the arrangements are confirmed.


Cartoon by Arto Monaco, 1941, from a notebook he kept during his Army service

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The Arto Monaco Historical Society, ensuring the legacy of Arto Monaco for future generations