Thursday, September 23, 2010

Opryland USA, Part One

While digging through a big box of slides, I found a group of Pana-Vue slides for Opryland USA. Like all Pana-Vues, they had turned magenta, and I was about to toss them, when I decided to look the park up. And I discovered that it closed in 1997! So I thought that there might be somebody out there who might be interested in seeing these.

Opryland USA opened in 1972 in Nashville, Tennessee (where else?)... these slides must have been from around that time. Here's a great shot of one of the three locomotives at the park; this one was called Rachel, and she was the only steam locomotive (the other two were diesel). She was built in 1922 for use in the coal fields of Pennsylvania - she was originally a saddle-tanker, but was completely refurbished for Opryland. What a beauty! Rachel is now in Grapevine, Texas. If you stood on your head, this photo could almost pass for Disneyland (although the train is going the wrong direction).

This slide was labeled "New Orleans Street Scene". If you say so! It lacks the charm and detail of Disneyland's New Orleans, but perhaps it isn't fair to compare the two. It has a very "Six Flags" feel about it.

If you enjoy paying for unflattering portraits of yourself, why not get a caricature - drawn by a real hippie?

Mmmm, old-fashioned candy! Think of all the flavors.... peppermint, coffee, cinnamon, caramel, cherry, and new chicken 'n gravy.

As I mentioned earlier, Opryland USA is gone, having closed for good at the end of 1997. There is now a fabulous shopping mall in its place. As long as there is a "Hot Topic" and a "Forever 21" I will be OK.


Pegleg Pete said...

Thanks for the pics! They take me back to my childhood. I couln't believe it when I went back to Nashville to visit family at some point in the '90s and heard that they had closed Opryland. It wasn't the best park in the world but it did the job. Opry Mills, the mall that replaced the park, was destroyed in last May's flood and people I've spoken to in Nashville say that the damage was so extensive that they aren't planning to reopen. And some people say there is no God!

TokyoMagic! said...

If the mall is going to be torn down, maybe they can rebuild Opryland in it's place....or how about building "Disney's America" there instead. Wait, dismantle DCA and build it where the Opry Mills Mall was and then build Westcot next to Disneyland....OR, just bring back the old DL parking lot. There are so many options.

Actually, I think I had heard that once Dollywood became so successful, Opryland had trouble competing for attendance.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Love the '70's Panavue's!

Who robbed Montgomery Wards for everyone clothes in these photos????

Nancy said...

this looks like it was a really nice place; the Brady Bunch seems to be having fun waving to the engineer... i have to show this to my daughter, Rachel. we love trains, too

two of my favorite things about the 70s are the fashions (got that covered) and the CARS!! got a parkin' lot shot anywhere there, Major? nothing like watching a Dirty Harry movie and drooling over those lovely machines :)

the candy shop certainly lives up to its name, and make mine fudge!!

TM, you have some great ideas there...let's start a petition!

thanks for these great pictures

pippin is my password was the old name of our world-famous (?) Thunderbolt at Kennywood!

Katella Gate said...

Nancy has beaten me to the Brady Bunch reference... so I will supply the sound track:

Gotta keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on dancin all thru the nite..."

Ah, the 70's. Not tasteful, just memorable.

As for "New Orleans Street Scene", well it's better than Old Towne Mall, what can I say? Today it would be called "French Quarter Experience".

As for the candy store, you haven't had real old fashioned candy until you've had horehound lozenges sprinkled with cardamom. Makes your Granny pucker and deworms her at the same time.

Major Pepperidge said...

I'm glad you liked these! According to Wikipedia, one of Opryland's problems (and there were a few!) was that it had the Cumberland River on one border, and Route 155 on another... there was no place for the park to expand.

TokyoMagic!, you are an optimist (which is a good thing)! I don't expect another amusement park to be built in this spot, but it if DID happen, there would be no complaints from me.

JG said...

Chicken and Gravy gumdrops sound good, but I prefer chocolate covered bacon.

What a nice little park. seems like there were lots of these around the country, once upon a time...thanks for the photos.


Tom Taylor said...

I had a season pass to Opryland for more than 15 years. This was a a beautiful park. A few explanations; Rachel was named for Andrew Jackson's wife, both were Nashville natives; New Orleans was mostly tahere to house a Dixieland bandstand, later used for a gospel dquartet, The Cumberland Boys, sho became a major gospel act; the mall will reopen in February; and Major, the only thing wrong with Opryland was that Gailord entertainment bougbt it, and they were idiots. The Wall Street Journal said it would take at least 22 years to break even if the mall were full capacity at top dollar the whole time.

Connie Moreno said...

Wait! Wait! Opryland is gone? Where the hell have I been???? I've always wanted to go there and now it's gone? Crap...

Major, you are a nut: chicken and gravy flavored candy? I almost spit out my iced tea all over my monitor.


Chiana_Chat said...

Mmm well Mrs. Knotts and my gramps made a Chicken n gravy soo good (and talk about high fat!) it qualifies as a candy to me hehe