Top Add

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Interview with Ghost Town in the Sky Management


As I recently reported in THIS video.  Ghost Town in the Sky will be going through a re-themeing and will no longer be an amusement park.  I am a fan of classic roadside attractions and I have gotten a lot of feedback on the videos and articles I have done on Ghost Town.  I contacted Chris Chagnon who is working on the recreation of Ghost Town and was able to get an interview with him regarding some of the questions I have regarding the new attraction.

Carpetbagger: Why was the decision made to re-brand Ghost Town in Sky?  What ideas were behind this change in plan?

Chris: The world, people and tech change. For the park to continue and be profitable it needs to change and update with the time. To replace the existing rides would cost more than $15 million dollars and still would not compete with Dollywood, Six Flags etc. The highest and best use for the property was to re-brand it as a mountain Appalachian village with local artisans & entertainment.

Carpetbagger:  Have you received a positive response from the community and fans with this new concept?

Chris: With the exception of a couple of negative people, almost everyone has been positive and excited. We have received dozens of inquiries for entertainment and leasing of retail space. Just this week we leased 3 more units.


Carpetbagger: Will the Gunfights be part of the new Ghost Town village:  Are there any plans to incorporate any other shows (such as the old Can Can Show) into the new concept?

The gunfights will remain but with a new story line. It will not be western as much as "moonshiners" robbing the bank (hint :)). The Village Theatre and the Moonshiners Playhouse both will have live entertainment as well as street performances. Can can girls will be incorporated in one show as a take of the 1880's, but the entertainment will be updated for todays audience.


Carpetbagger:  Will the Old Western Village be altered, re-themed, or redesigned?


Chris: The western village will be turned into an Appalachian village.

Carpetbagger:  Many people have very fond memories of Ghost Town as Children, what does the new Ghost Town Village Offer them in the way of nostalgia?

Chris:  The Ghost Town In The Sky Museum will be on level two offering a guided tour of what the park was in its hayday as well as a 15 minute movie and ending with the gift shop filled with the original Ghost Town products. There is also an area where previous guests will see photos and 1 page letters of their memories. It is posted on Facebook and we have received dozens this week alone.

Carpetbagger:  There has been talk of creating a religious or "Holyland" section of the park for years, including a possible cross on top of the Mountain.  Are there any current plans to go forward with this concept?

Chris:  The "Holy Land" area is still on the books. The ridge line survey for the cross was completed this last week. The area known as level four, will be more of a convention center, banquets, wedding, revivals etc. There will be outside walking gardens to the tomb and more.
Carpetbagger: Will there be alcohol served at Ghost Town Village?



Carpetbagger: The new website notes that you can pay admission for chair lift rides to the Village.  Will this be the only way to access Ghost Town Village, or will there be shuttles?  Will shuttles have the same Admission?  Will there be season passes sold for the chair lift?

Chris: The cost to get to the top is $9.95. It has been priced at this amount to allow people to visit more than once. The $9.95 allows you transportation for the 20 minute ride on the chairlift to level two and then a bus or walking trails to level three or a bus from level one to level two and a second to level three. We have new buses ordered and the passengers receive a brief history of the property on the way up.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My current assessment:  From what Chris is saying I feel like this attraction holds a lot of promise.  I am especially happy that the gun fights will be kept, and the new storyline idea is interesting, especially with the current popularity of the moonshine legend.  I'm sure some people will be upset about them changing the Wild West theme, but it has always been a little out of place in the Appalachian Mountains.  I like the idea of incorporating the local themes and ideas.  With the struggles Ghost Town has been through in the last decade, I think a fresh look is the only thing that can save it.  I am definitely looking forward to visiting the new Ghost Town Village.



The Carpetbagger

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

Follow me and twitter and periscope.

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Please subscribe to my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

All Along the Watchtower - The South's Best Tourist Lookout Towers

If there is one  sure way to draw tourist dollars at your attraction, its to get them up in a lookout tower.  Not only do these towers pop out in the landscape and draw in tourists.  It gives them an opportunity to pay a few bucks to have a gorgeous view of the surrounding area.  Let's take a look at my Top 5 Southern Lookout Towers.

5.  The Space Needle - Gatlinburg, TN


Height: 407 Feet

Erected: 1969

Design: The visual center point of the tourist town of Gatlinburg, TN.  Connected to an arcade a few bucks will get you a trip to the top.  While not the most original design, it gets the job done.

The View:  The view from the top of the Space Needle is impressive.  You get a full view of the bustling tourist mecca surrounded by the Smokey Mountains


4.  The Citrus Tower - Clermont, FL




































Height: 226 Feet

Erected: 1956

Design: The Citrus Tower is not well advertised and many may pass by this odd looking tower and not know its function.  The Citrus Tower is a true piece of pre-Disney Florida tourism.  The tower was erected to showcase Florida's citrus industry.  Currently the tower sits on top of a dead mini-mall with no open shops, except for a makeshift stand that sells tickets for the elevator.


One interesting feature is the wishing well, which let's you drop a coin all the way to the bottom of the tower.



The View: Remember that the Citrus tower's function was to show off the citrus industry and the acres of citrus groves that dotted the area.  Sadly, the citrus groves are no more, replaced with condos and Walmarts.


The saving grace of this tower's view may be the unique look it gives you of the President's Hall of Fame, next door.


3. The Prayer Tower - Oral Roberts University - Tulsa, OK



Height: 220 Feet

Erected: 1967

Design: The center point of of the seriously Christian Oral Roberts University is nothing short of breathtaking.  One of the most unique and visibly striking towers on this list.  The observation area is modeled to look like Jesus's crown of thorns and there is an eternally burning flame on the top.

View: Now, full disclosure, when I visited the tower the observation tower was closed, so I did not get a chance to get inside the tower.  Check out THIS video online to get an idea of what the view looks like.  It is apparent that the outside stylization compromised the view.  The crown points block a large portion of the view.  Also, the observation deck was built in the middle of the tower, meaning its not all that high off the ground.  However, the tower was designed to give you a look around the campus, and does show off some of the amazing retro architecture that can be found at Oral Roberts University.



2. The Sunsphere - Knoxville, TN



Height: 266 Feet

Erected: 1982

Design:  The Sunsphere was built for the 1982 World's Fair and has been a iconic symbol of Knoxville ever since.  The Sunsphere was immortalized in the Simpsons Episode "Bart on the Road" were the Sunsphere was shown to have gone derelict and being used to store old wigs, as well as being redubbed "The Wigsphere".  While this isn't exactly factual, the Sunsphere was essentially abandoned for the majority of three decades with no one really sure what to do with it.   Fortunately the observation tower was finally reopened to the public in 2007.

View: An odd design flaw of the Sunsphere is while it is an iconic part of the skyline, it was built in the lowest point in the city meaning the surrounding buildings tower over it.  Because of this the view is mostly restricted to the immediate area and the buildings directly surrounding the Sunsphere.  Take a look at the video below as I take you on a tour of the Sunsphere.


1. The Sombrero Tower - South of the Border - Dillon, SC



Height: 200 Feet

Erected: 1950s

Design:  South of the Border is simply put one of the most iconic roadside attractions in all of the South.  It is easily the most tacky place on planet earth and has served as a roadside oasis for weary travelers since the 1950s.  One of the most iconic sites is their legendary Sombrero Tower.  While traveling along 1-95 a giant sombrero emerges over the horizon and you know that you are in for a treat.  It even lights up in a pure neon glow at night.


The view:  Sadly, getting a chance to ride the Sombrero tower can be rare, as it functions intermittently at best, but I have been lucky enough to ride to the top.  The slightly sketchy experience of sitting in the brim of a giant sombrero 200 feet in the air is a ounce in a lifetime experience.


The view is breathtaking and at the same time bizzare.  If you look out on one side of the Sombrero you look down at the madness that is South of the Border.....


However, on the other side, there is nothing, but a lonely highway and miles and miles of nothingness.


The Carpetbagger

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

Follow me and twitter and periscope.

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Please subscribe to my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pleasant Hill Church

Back before me or my wife had real jobs, we couldn't afford to go on long distance road trips and see cool roadside attractions.  So what we did for fun was basically get in the car and drive the back roads looking for cool things.  One of our favorite spots was a little Post civil war African American Church called "Pleasant Hill".  We took a lot of photos over the years.

Here's an old shot from back when we used film.


And with my son on the porch.


Here are some of the various photos we took over the years.






The church was essentially abandoned when we used to visit, but it was recently restored.  While I am happy that it has been restored, I kinda miss the old weathered look.  The inside is not completely remodeled with pews and a steeple.  When we used to visit the church was empty with vines growing up through the floor.  He is my son looking out one of the windows from the inside.


And her is my wife, pregnant with Anna in front of the same window.


And here is my mother, holding a newborn Anna in front of the window


We recently visited Pleasant Hill and saw the renovations.  Check out that video below.




The Carpetbagger

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

Follow me and twitter and periscope.

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Please subscribe to my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cherokee Stickball


 Cherokee Stickball is ancient Native American tradition.  It is still played and is shocking violent and extremely fascinating.  Check out the video below.



The Carpetbagger

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

Follow me and twitter and periscope.

Make sure you add me on Facebook and Instagram.

Please subscribe to my Youtube Page where I regularly post videos. 

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