Friday, July 09, 2010

Rebel Railroad, Pigeon Forge Tennessee - August 1963

Today I have four photos from (as the title says) Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, featuring the Rebel Railroad! Here's some info, courtesy of Wikipedia: "In 1961, shortly after Pigeon Forge officially incorporated, North Carolina brothers Grover and Harry Robbins opened Rebel Railroad in the town's Middle Creek area. The railroad simulated a ride on a Confederate steam train that was under attack by Union soldiers during the Civil War, playing upon the centennial of the war that was sweeping the country at the time." Check out this impressive, eye-catching sign with two vintage locomotives used as a static display. I guess at one time these old trains were not uncommon, and could be had for relatively little money. Hard to believe!

"After the Union assault was beaten back, the railroad came to a stop at a mock-frontier mountain town, complete with blacksmith shop, general store, and saloon. By 1964, the Civil War Centennial was beginning to die down, so the Robbins brothers decided to rename Rebel Railroad Goldrush Junction. The attraction was reworked with a "Wild West" theme replacing the Civil War theme."

That train is a beauty, and happily, you can still ride it today! After the Rebel Railroad's first name change to Goldrush Junction, it was later changed again to Silver Dollar City (a sister park to the one in Branson, Missouri). In 1986, Dolly Parton became part owner, and the park's name was changed once again, to Dollywood!

That little girl is pretty excited, she can't wait to ride! Notice the boy shadowing the oil man (?) ; he probably grew up to be a model train enthusiast. Or a g-man!

I have four more Rebel Railroad photos (from a different lot) to share with you soon. I hope you've enjoyed these!


Parton me said...

Engine 192 is now the Dollywood Express! Good ol' Dolly, what a nice park.

TokyoMagic! said...

As soon as I read Pigeon Forge, I wondered if this was anywhere near Dollywood (I love Dolly!) I've always wanted to go visit her park and take a raft over to Tom Sawyer's Island In The Stream. Okay, I made that up, but I have always wanted to go. Maybe I should plan a trip there sometime instead of going to a Disney park. And Dollywood's celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year, don't you know!

Great photos, Major....would love to see more.

Donnie said...

WOW. great Dollywood history lesson. I was there a few years ago and rode the steam train and was covered in soot afterwards

Pegleg Pete said...

Great post. When I was a child back in the '70s Pigeon Forge was full of odd and interesting mini-theme parks and roadside attractions. Alas, when I passed through on the way to the mountains several years ago I found that most of these had been replaced by outlet stores!

Viewliner Ltd. said...

I was actually going to do a post about the Rebel Railroad later this week on my PTA Transit Authority blog.

But you beat me to it Major. Great minds think alike. Fantastic pictures.

I went ahead and posted a GIANT POSTCARD of Engine #192 on the PTA as a companion piece to your post. Here is the link:

Nancy said...

we visited Pigeon Forge about 15 years ago, was really nice. did not get to Dollywood but hope to return one day.

great pictures today!

Pilsner Panther said...

The prominent display of Confederate flags is definitely "politically incorrect" by modern standards, and the battles over whether it should be seen in public are still going on! But American history is what it is, and it can't be changed. Nor should it be.

BC said...

My grandparents lived in Oak Ridge (my grandfather having helped build the place back during the war). All through the 60's, whenever we went to see Grandma, (Grandpa passed in 63), we would always take a side trip & drove between Oak Ridge & Cherokee. On the way to Gatlinburg, you passed the sign with the pair of trains out on the highway. We always stopped & played on the trains, although I don't remember ever going on the Rebel Railroad attraction. We were poor & such things weren't in the budget. Grandma remarried & moved to northern Indiana in 1969 and I've never gotten back. But I've always wondered what happened to the trains. Now I know. Thanks

Rev Bryan Taylor said...

I was about 6 when my family along with my cousins who lived nearby went to Rebel Railroad. The male children were given toy rifles to help ward off the Yankee and Indian attackers that would occassionally assault the train. I have always had some very treasured memories of the place and also how politically incorrect it would be now.
Thinking back it was rather funny to have a bunch of Northern children shooting at "Yankees" with their toy guns.