Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley: A Journey Through Memory Lane
Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley, a once-thriving Wild West-themed amusement park, now sits abandoned atop the picturesque Buck Mountain in North Carolina. The park, which opened in the 1960s, attracted thousands of visitors each year, becoming an iconic destination for families and adventure seekers alike.
Despite its closure in 2002, the nostalgia and allure of Ghost Town continue to captivate people, sparking conversations about its past glory and potential future.
This comprehensive guide delves into the rich history of Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley, exploring its origins, rise to fame, eventual decline, and the ongoing efforts to revive this once-beloved North Carolina attraction.
The Origins of Ghost Town In The Sky
Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley was the brainchild of R.B. Coburn. A successful businessman from Virginia, Coburn fell in love with the idyllic Maggie Valley, North Carolina, and envisioned creating a Wild West-themed amusement park atop Buck Mountain.
Construction and Opening
In 1960, Russell Pearson designed and constructed Ghost Town In The Sky for approximately $1 million. More than 200 local men worked on the project, creating 40 life-sized replica buildings that made up the Old West town. The park officially opened its doors in June 1961, becoming an instant success.
The Park’s Unique Location
The park’s unique location on a ridge extending from Buck Mountain, at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, provided breathtaking mountain scenery. The entrance to the park was located on U.S. Highway 19, the main road through Maggie Valley.
The Heyday of Ghost Town In The Sky
At its peak, Ghost Town In The Sky attracted over 400,000 visitors annually. The park was divided into several themed “towns,” each located at different elevations on the mountain. These towns hosted various attractions, including live-action shows, horseback rides, train rides, and amusement park rides.
Live Shows and Entertainment
One of the park’s main attractions was its live shows, which featured can-can dancers, gunfights in the streets, and country and bluegrass music performances. The park’s actors dressed in period-accurate outfits, making visitors feel like they had returned to the Wild West in time.
Rides and Attractions
Ghost Town In The Sky boasted an impressive array of rides, including the chairlift, Tilt-a-Whirl, and roller coasters. Many of the rides were situated at the edge of the mountain, providing thrilling views of the surrounding landscape.
The Decline of Ghost Town In The Sky
By the early 1970s, interest in the Wild West began to wane, leading to a decline in the park’s attendance. Additionally, mechanical issues with the park’s rides resulted in frequent closures, deterring visitors from returning.
In July 2002, the park’s chairlift malfunctioned, stranding passengers in mid-air for two hours during hot and rainy weather. This incident marked the beginning of the end for Ghost Town In The Sky, as it closed just a few days later.
The Closure of Ghost Town In The Sky
After the chairlift incident in 2002, the park closed its doors and was put up for sale. Over the next several years, Ghost Town In The Sky remained closed and unmaintained, leading to vandalism, theft, and disrepair.
Attempted Reopenings and Revitalization Efforts
Since its closure, there have been numerous attempts to revive Ghost Town In The Sky, with varying degrees of success.
In 2007, Ghost Town In The Sky briefly reopened after $38 million was spent on renovations and improvements. However, the park closed again after the 2009 season due to financial difficulties and a massive mudslide in 2010.
Alaska Presley’s Ownership
In 2012, local businesswoman and Ghost Town investor Alaska Presley purchased the park and attempted to reopen it as an Appalachian Village. While the park did see limited openings between 2012 and 2014, it ultimately remained closed.
In recent years, ongoing efforts have been to find a new owner and revitalize Ghost Town In The Sky. The park’s future remains uncertain, but its unique location and nostalgic appeal continue to intrigue potential investors and visitors alike.
Exploring Ghost Town In The Sky Today
While the abandoned Ghost Town In The Sky remains closed to the general public, its eerie and forgotten state has attracted urban explorers and thrill-seekers. However, it is essential to note that trespassing on the property is strictly prohibited.
Other Ghost Town Attractions in North Carolina
For those seeking a similar experience, North Carolina has several real ghost towns, including Buffalo City, Brunswick Town, Cataloochee, Diamond City, Judson, Lost Cove, Mortimer, and Proctor. Any organization does not control these abandoned towns and should be visited at one’s own risk.
The Future of Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley
The future of Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley remains uncertain, as the park still seeks a new owner and investor. However, the park’s rich history, unique location, and nostalgic charm continue to captivate those who remember its glory days.
Visiting Maggie Valley North Carolina
While Ghost Town In The Sky may no longer be an active attraction, Maggie Valley North Carolina has reinvented itself as a mountain outdoor and recreational activity hub. The area has numerous attractions, making it an ideal vacation destination for those seeking adventure and natural beauty.
Ghost Town In The Sky Maggie Valley may be a relic of the past, but its legacy lives on in the hearts and memories of those who once visited this iconic North Carolina attraction. As the park’s future remains uncertain, it stands as a testament to nostalgia’s power and the Wild West’s enduring appeal.
Whether Ghost Town In The Sky will ever reopen remains to be seen, but its captivating history and unique location will not be forgotten anytime soon.