Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: Goldrush Junction
Visitor Tips and News About Goldrush Junction
In 1961, "Rebel Railroad" opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It featured a steam train, general store, blacksmith shop, and saloon. In 1966, it was renamed "Goldrush Junction" and in 1970, the Cleveland Browns football team purchased "Goldrush Junction." In 1976, Jack and Pete Herschend bought Goldrush Junction, and in 1977, renamed it "Silver Dollar City Tennessee" as a sister park to their original Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. In 1986, Dolly Parton became a co-owner, and the park was renamed "Dollywood."[Bob, 11/12/2008]
Gold Rush Junction was indeed in Pigeon Forge, TN. It began as Rebel Railroad, then it was Gold Rush Junction, then it was Silver Dollar City, and now it is Dollywood.
The tipster that says it was in Maggie Valley, NC is either thinking of Ghost Town in the Sky or the Maggie Valley Railroad (another train ride type tourist attraction that is now gone) back in the 60s/70s.
Source: "The Land of the Smokies" book by Tim Hollis[Rusty, 10/20/2008]
I visited many times as a child, and continue to visit the area with my family. It was originally "Rebel Railroad", and I still have pics and souvenirs from that time; then became Gold Rush Junction, Silver Dollar City, then Dollywood. When it was Rebel Railroad, all I remember was the train ride, a small gift shop, and a snack bar. If I am not mistaken, the train at Dollywood is still the same train?[Twila, 07/31/2008]
My Granny and Papaw used to take us there in the 1960s. And they [lived in the area] before Gold Rush Junction was there. Got one great picture of me and my little brothers. It is now Dollywood. Granny and Papaw are related to her somehow or 'nother. I liked it better the old way.[Catherine, 07/12/2008]
My family and I spent a week in Pigeon Forge in June 1968. At that time Gold Rush Junction was just off the main 4-lane highway that connects Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, which is now the Parkway. We rode the train and witnessed the train robbery and the gunfight; the actors would fall over "dead." At one point the train conductors gave out little rifles to the children so they could join in the fight. My son was one of them. He started to run out there but turned around and came back. I asked him what was the matter and he said breathing, real fast, "I ran out of bullets."
Later, they moved Gold Rush Junction to where Dollywood is now and it was called Silver Dollar City. We went there and another of my sons fed the "Organ Music Peddler's Dancing Monkey" some food, and my daughter helped the blacksmith make a horseshoe, which he let her keep. At that time the only things in Pigeon Forge were a couple of motels and 2 souvenir shops (one with a replica of an old farming community out back called "The Village of 1800"), a restaurant, a drive-in movie theatre, a camping site, and The Old Mill.[B. Lawson, 06/04/2008]