Before Dollywood There Was…?

Michael Wender Local History, Popular 13 Comments

If you read the title of this post and thought “Silver Dollar City,” you were only one-third right. True Dollywood and East Tennessee historians will remember that before Dollywood or even Silver Dollar City came Goldrush Junction. And, while writing this post, I discovered that the attraction originally opened as “Rebel Railroad” in 1961 (Wikipedia: Dollywood).

Why all the nostalgia? While I was cleaning my office this week, I discovered an old brochure from Goldrush Junction. I’ve posted scans on my Flickr account if you would like a closer look:

Photo composite by Michael Wender

Comments 13

  1. CP

    I remember going to Silver Dollar City as a kid. That place was sparse compared to Dollywood today.

    On a side note, I did get a chance to visit Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO a couple of years ago. Did they used to be a chain of theme parks like Six Flags?

  2. Barry

    I’m one of those oldish Knox natives who remembers Goldrush Junction. Mostly I remember the music from the commercial (“Gooooooldrush Junc-TION!”)

  3. Missybw

    I too remember Goldrush Junction, my Nana took me there a few times. I remember that Six Flags was much better and my best friend Terry threw up in the car on the way home from our first visit. Yeah, TMI.

    And as for CP’s questions about Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City/Dollywood in Pigeon Forge is the sister park to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. The owners of both are Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. And, yes, they still do own a percentage of Dollywood. Dolly does not own the entire thing. HFEC also own about 20 other amusement attractions around the country. And yes, I’m sure this is way more than you ever wanted to know. However, Wiki has a very detailed article on this if you want to know more. The only reason I’m this well-informed is because at least one member of my family has worked there for the last 20 years. Including me, back in 1984, when I ran the Bumper Car ride in the County Fair area. Back then the employees all called the place “Steal Your Dollar Holler” and no truer name has ever been coined, right?

  4. Missybw

    Lurking… that’s me… always there, just being quiet sometimes. Had construction going on in the house all last week, so that tied up a bunch of time.

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  6. Elissa

    I am just wondering how long it has been since you cleaned your office. 😉 Your post reminded me of the Tweetsie Railroad. Amazingly it is still operating under the same name with the same kind of attractions it offered 51 years ago.

  7. Earl

    Maggie Valley, Ghost Town in the Sky. Nothing like riding a traveling carnival roller coaster permanently installed on the side of a mountain. Literally it was a cliff.

  8. Knox Villain

    I remember Rebel Railroad (translation: I’m old).
    I did some freelance artwork for Silver Dollar City back in the 80’s.

  9. Dan

    I realize that this is a very old post, but on the off chance that you might still be around, Jody, I thought I would put a note out here. Our family visits SDC several times a year and those mugs that you mentioned might save us a few bucks every visit. Interested in selling them?

  10. trojan joe

    There is a couple of nice Rebel Railroad Brochures on EBAY this week . . . give a look, I think I will bid on them.

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