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Monday, July 13, 2015

Funtown Mountain: Guntown Mountain Reborn


Back in 2011 I rolled into Cave City, KY to soak in some roadside goodness.  After visiting the Mammoth Cave Wax Museum and Wildlife Museum I noticed a interesting billboard.


Guntown Mountain, a true roadside relic, was one of the last of the Wild West Towns that used to be a staple of the American Vacation.  Guntown Mountain is much in the same vein as Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC.  Must like Ghost Town the only way to the top is in an ancient Chair Lift.


After a nostalgic, yet rickety ride to the top I was dumped off into a charming little replica of a an old western town.


Sadly, most the building were just facades and were not functional.  The undertaker's shop did contain this fellow.


The "Lucky Lady Saloon" was open.....


Featuring this delightful mannequin bartender.....


Fairly soon after I arrived the main event begin: The Gunfight.  Unlike Ghost Town Gunfight, the Guntown fight did not have an M.C., but rather a prerecorded narration.  The fight itself was pretty no frills.

Some hooligans harass and rob a poor sap....


Then "The Stranger" rolls into town.......


Before you can blink the Stranger mows down the villains.........


The show is over and their are dead cowboys everywhere.....


An extremely bare bones gunfight compared to Ghost Town, who incorporate stunt work and comedy into their fights.

Before the shock wares off and the children start crying, the cowboys hop up and pose for pictures with tourists.


Apparently they also did hangings, but I didn't get a chance to witness one.  Actually, that seems kinda messed up.


Guntown did not last much longer after my visit.  Guntown sat shuttered and was at risk of being demolished.  That is until Kentucky businessman and noted local eccentric Will Russell purchased the Mountain reopened it this year under the new moniker "Funtown Mountain".  Russell has re-imagined Funtown as not only a celebration of the American Roadside, but also a celebration of American pop culture.   One thing that is being eliminated  is the gunfights, which Russell felt glorified violence. 


The lower half of the park opened this June and I had a chance to visit a week after it opened.  The Old West Town on top of the Mountain is still under construction and is supposed to be open this fall.  Fortunately, they was plenty of roadside goodness to make my trip worthwhile.  One of the most noteworthy sections of Funtown to be open is its "Haunted Hotel".  The oldest Haunted Attraction in America.


Truly an old school walk through haunted attraction, the Hotel employs classic haunted house elements in order to terrify you.

Funtown also features a black-light putt-putt course, which in turn features a minature version of the Haunted Hotel.


Not to mention a little Lucky Lady Saloon as well.....


Why do all the buildings have eyeballs?

At this point Funtown is centered out of the Souvenir Shack.


Its a souvenir shack like none I have ever seen before.  Its packed with super weird kitchy antiques that are all for sale.


They also have a Wax Colonel Sanders...........


Uncle Sam.............


The Clown from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.....


An animatronic bear.....


The Kraken.....


and some creepy taxidermy......


Funtown also claims to have the World's Oldest Ham....


I hate to break it to them, but the Oldest Ham is in Smithfield, VA...........

They also have one of the coolest Old Timey Photo area which they call "Funtime Selfies"......


To see my entire trip through Funtown check out the video below.



The Carpetbagger

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Biblical Mini Golf

 
I have talked about the roadside oddity that was Golgotha Mini Golf in the past.  A few years I stopped by and the place was pretty desolate, with only a few Jesuss remaining.  They tried to reopen with a race car theme, but that didn't last to long.


I stopped by a couple weeks back and it was depressingly grown over, almost all of the religious figures have been removed or stolen with only a few remaining out back.


Fortunately, all is not lost.  Later in the week I was able to stop at ANOTHER bible themed golf course in Lexington, KY.   Check out the video below as I take you on a walkthrough of this amazing religious golf course.


The Carpetbagger

I love hearing from people please comment below.  Also, feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

And I can't forget my Flickr Photostream, where all this got started.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Videos from Helen, GA


Helen, GA is a former asbestos mining town that found itself in hard times when the asbestos market collapsed.   The town lifted itself up with the spirit of tourism as it morphed into a misplaced German town in the Appalachian Mountains.

Let's take a look around town.....


I also took a look at an abandoned bear pit.....



And finally we take a look at the legendary Nacoochee Indian Mound....




The Carpetbagger

I love hearing from people please comment below.  Also, feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

And I can't forget my Flickr Photostream, where all this got started.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens


Howard Finster: The man that brought Folk Art to the masses.  Pretty much setting the bar for what Folk Art would become, Howard rocketed to main street fame by painting album covers for REM and the Talking Head.  Howard was a Baptist Minister, and may not have necessarily listened to the music and may not have agreed with everything they stood for, but he knew that his paintings, which were loaded with bible verses, would reach the masses through this venue and spread the word of his lord.


Though Finister is best known for his paintings, he also turned his home into a living work of art which he called his "Paradise Gardens".   One of the original "Folk Art Environments"

The Gardens still exist today and ownership has been passed around with a board of directors controlling it.  I know there is some controversy about the treatment of the Gardens and its preservation, but I don't know enough about this to explain it fully.


Of course I HAD to go see this Iconic Southern Location.  I know that the Gardens were always in a state a flux and it was hard to tell whether or not it was currently open to the public.   A few years back I was able to get in telephone contact with the current caretaker.  He was a very nice man and happily invited me down to visit the Gardens.  So I made plans and drove three hours to Summerville, GA.  When I got there my heart sank in my chest.  The Gardens were closed.  Locked up tight and surrounded by a fence.  I called the caretaker and asked why the Gardens were closed when I had previously confirmed that it would be open.  He informed me that they had shut down because it was too hot.  Too hot.

Okay, I will admit it was probably a solid 100 degrees outside, but this is the deep South and we are not supposed to be phased by this sort of this.   I sadly walked along the perimeter hoping I could take a few errant photos.  But God winked at me.  A giant tree had fallen on the fence and smashed it almost to the ground, creating a perfect bridge for me to enter the gardens.  I figures if God had not wanted me in the gardens he probably wouldn't have given me the bridge. 


I carefully entered the Gardens, took only pictures and left only footprints.

The Gardens were in an overgrown half wild state, which on one hand is kinda sad, but on the other hand kind of adds to the charm.






The gardens features fantastic art is all different mediums.....










Howard's resume is is painted on the individual windows of an old shack.


The gardens are full of strange and unusual structures built by Finster.....




One of the most magnificent structures is Finster's "Prayer Tower", which apparently has been sealed off for years, because of its lack of structural integrity.


A proper church exists on the property as well....



Howard was supposed to cremated and placed in the coffin at the front of the Church.


Sadly, Finster's wishes were not followed and he was buried in a family plot.

Of course there actually is a body immortalized at the Paradise Gardens....


A skeleton of an unidentified body was dug up locally.  The body was old and foul play was not suspected.  The local officials had no idea what to do with it, so they gave it to Finster because "It felt like the right thing to do".   The body was respectfully preserved by Finster.


I also love this "self portrait" of Howard Finster......


A wonderful place to visit and a great legacy left behind by a fascinating man.

The Carpetbagger

I love hearing from people please comment below.  Also, feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

And I can't forget my Flickr Photostream, where all this got started.