Posted Thursday, April 3, 2003 3:46 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Efforts by the founder of the Ghost Town in the Sky to sell the theme park are raising concerns about this mountain town's tourist future. The park's chair lift broke twice last year and its roller coaster never opened, failing state inspections.
Read more from AP via The Charlotte Observer.
Please visit the small parks. We don't know what's happening behind the scenes
Big Kirby, while the area is scenic, one of the parks problems is that Dollywood is just about 30-40 minutes away and probably attracts away all the locals and most of the tourists. I do not see why SDC would want this park so close to one of their parks.
*** This post was edited by Enigma13 4/3/2003 9:48:58 AM ***
*** This post was edited by Enigma13 4/3/2003 9:49:24 AM ***
Who is hoping to make it to his first SRM.
Bird Watching is Awesome I spoted this awesome bird of prey
I am SO ready to ride!
There is a major difference between the two situations, and that is ease of visiting both parks. SDC and CC are located in the same town, Branson, while Dollywood and Ghost Town are separated by a mountain range with only scenic bypasses connecting them. The logistics do not support a dual pass system or the idea that tourists will enjoy both parks in the same day. The parks are close enough together for Dollywood to totally dominate Ghost Town through competition, but separated enough to make some sought of joint venture not feasable. Speaking from experience as someone who knows the area, and also the habits of people visiting, it is unlikely that someone would head to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge in the day and back over to Ghost Town for the night. You can choose to believe me or not, but based on the logistics of the area it would be a dreadful business decision.
*** This post was edited by Enigma13 4/3/2003 1:24:49 PM ***
Despite that, I had a blast there. From the moment you pull off the side of the road to the 'ski lodge' looking front gate, then the adventure andanticipation continue with either the incline ride or the skyride. (Hmm, the place has a remarkable view, I wonder if they could get people to pony up $1-$2 just to ride the incline with only a scenic overlook up top.)
Once up top you have a fabulous view. Not to mention the park has a wonderful in park transportation system in the way of trams that take yo from place to place.
It has the makings for a really cool place, unfortuantely I suppose it doesn't have the money to realize that potential.
BTW: The laterals on the Red Devil are extreme.
For those who haven't been there, a short list of the 'unique' things they offer:
- Walk trhough haunted house, a seperate gravity house (see water go uphill and that sort of thing), a cool indoor scrambler, a terrific Dodgems ride, the coaster, which is a rare OD Hopkins looper with lap bars. Further up the hill (take the tram, is a wonderful, if stereotypical Ghost Town. (The parks pizza parlor serves "Tombstone Pizza", yes that Tombstone Pizza, they take it right out of the box and warm it up when you order it.), scenic train ride (and you can take food on the train), then in the very back the rides midway, which is on a steep hill. A competent collection of stantard carney rides. (Trabant, Tilt, Yo-Yo, Round Up, Paratrooper, etc) Stand outs are the Sea Dragon that runs parallel to a real nasty looking drop off (so close they don't flush load it, it only has openings on one side of the boat), not risky enough for you, try the Yo-Yo with the custom made pistol supports, that actually does swing out over the drop-off down the mountain. Don't look down!
When I went they also had a pan-for-gold, an Indian show, and an imitation knock-off Country Bear show,
But then, Three Other Themeparks rose in the area. To the west, Dollywood had reopened (after its tenure as SDC TN) and was pulling in millions, despite that it was only 77 acres back in '86. To the North, a little Park called Tweetsie Railroad began drawing large crowds after they added some rides to there Railroad Museum and Western Town, and to the south Carowinds was becoming more popular with that big new Vortex coaster.
So , about '92 was when I recall Ghost Town first beggining to slip, when the park became dirty and you would see as many as 7 rides all closed at once.
I don't think that SDC/Herchends Ent. would purchase the park. Its way to close to Dollywood and the themes are to similar for the park to do much. Besides, no other Company in there right mind would purchase it anyways. It is a Nightmare on Hot days when a bunch of people are trying to get off the mountain.
"Grit Your Teeth, Bare The Load, Enjoy your ride, on Thunder Road"
(prepares to be flamed)
Remember my face, I'll dig your grave...
I was associated with the park in a capacity from the beginning of the construction of the Red Devil until just a few years ago when economy and the deterioration of the park was more than I could bear.
The owner tends to try to 'save money' buy buying used equipment or rides from other parks or themepark shows. The Red Devil was no exception. I recall that the construction was was delayed with cost over runs and engineering errors. By the time the Red Devil was in it's intermittent operation, it's cost was much greater than had it been installed correctly.
One problem with the park, which is evident in it's decline is the man power. Unskilled maintenance crews, skeleton staffs, many of this labor is procured from local prison work release.
The beautiful Buck Mountain is probably permanently scared as non-public areas have been used as landfills or areas to simply discard old equipment. Some of the trails and old deteriorating buildings more resemble junk yards.
As far as the park's effect on local economy, in forty years there are many businesses in the valley have become established and will probably not feel an effect by the park's closing.
There was a time when employed were paid earlier in the week during peak summer months. That was so they could cash those checks at local convenience stores and be broke and sober so they would show up for work on the weekend. One particular store used to received a call to let them know to stock the coolers when 'payday' was early.
The ones who will probably feel the effect of "Ghost Town's" demise most will be the liability insurance carriers. A great percentage of per capita admission to the park is paid in premiums because of past claims. Our nickname for the two methods of access to the park were "Chair of Death" (for the chair lift) and the "Torture Rail" for the inoperational inclined railway.
During the years when "National Linen" operated the park, employ morale was at such a level that pockets on uniforms were sewn closed and routine strip searches were conducted because of employee theft.
In it's day, "Ghost Town" was quite an attraction. Perhaps a fund should be established now for environmental clean-up and a new use found for the land. That or perhaps it should simply be closed and remembered as a "Ghost Town.'
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