Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City

Infobox Amusement park
name = Silver Dollar City

location = Branson, Missouri
area = 70 acres
opening_date = 1960
season = March through December
rides = 22
coasters = 5
water_rides = 4
owner = Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation
homepage = []

Silver Dollar City is a theme park in the state of Missouri. Opened in 1960, the park is located between Branson and Branson West, Missouri on Highway 76. The park is an 1880s themed experience that fits Branson's vision as a family friendly vacation destination with down-home charm.

Silver Dollar City's operating season runs from mid-March until late-December, with the park closed during the months of January and February. Silver Dollar City is owned by the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, which owns, operates or partners in 20 properties in 9 states, and includes the nearby White Water and Celebration City theme parks.


Marvel Cave

Silver Dollar City has developed into one of the most successful theme parks in the United States. Situated at the site of one of the Ozarks' oldest attractions, Marvel Cave, Silver Dollar City literally sprang from the ground. The cave, which has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is important not only because of its subterranean features but also because of its role in the origins of Silver Dollar City.

The first oral record of Marvel Cave comes from the Osage Nation, while the first written record dates from an 1869 expedition. Henry T. Blow of St. Louis, a lead mining magnate, explored the cave with six miners. They found no lead before returning to St. Louis, but convinced that the flat ceiling of one room was composed of marble, they originally named the cave Marble Cave.

The cave remained undisturbed until 1882 when another group of entrepreneurs, led by Mr. T. Hodges Jones and Truman S. Powell of Barton County, entered the cave in hopes of finding lead. Jones and Powell found huge amounts of bat manure, or guano, and the flat wall, which they also believed to be marble. Two years later Jones bought the property and, with several of his friends, formed the Marble Cave Mining and Manufacturing Company to mine the cave. The company planned a town, Marble City, on the rough hilltop near the cave and in 1884 recorded a plat map at the courthouse in Galena, Missouri. Although a few lots in the new town were sold, little development seems to have taken place.

By 1889 much of the guano had been mined from the cave, the marble wall proved to be limestone, and no lead ore was found. The mining company, which had developed so quickly, ceased operation.

The history of the cave took another turn in 1889 when William Henry Lynch, a Canadian miner and dairyman, purchased the cave and a square mile around it for $10,000. Lynch, with the aid of his family, proposed to open the cave to sightseers. The Lynches began operation of the sightseeing venture in 1894 with a grand celebration and a few visitors. The venture was not immediately profitable and was closed until Lynch raised additional capital to reopen the cave sometime after 1900. The cave has remained open since, making it one of the oldest continuously running tourist attractions in the Ozarks.

Herschend Family

When William Lynch died in 1927, ownership of the cave passed to his daughters. Shortly there after, the name of the cave was changed to Marvel Cave. The Lynch family operated the cave for nearly fifty years until a Chicago vacuum cleaner salesman, Hugo Herschend, purchased a 99-year lease on the cave.

After Hugo Herschend's death, five years after he began managing the cave, his wife, Mary, took over the day-to-day operations of the venture. With the aid of her two sons, Jack and Peter, Mary Herschend was able to make vast improvements to the cave, including a train which pulled visitors a distance of 218 feet, from the depths of the cave up to the surface.

Once the train was in operation the Herschends felt the development of the cave was complete and immediately began to search for ways to expand their growing attraction. Anticipating additional tourists to the Ozarks, they wanted to create an attraction which would attract even more tourists to the cave.

New Theme Park

The Herschends decided to build an Ozark frontier town on the land surrounding the site of the cave. The new attraction was named Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City originally was the site of five shops, a church, a log cabin, and a street production reproducing the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys several times daily. The scenic designer for much of the original attraction was Andy Miller, who had been the set designer for ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee.

With the growing numbers of tourists visiting the attraction each year, the Herschends were able to add many new shops as well as rides and variety shows. Silver Dollar City changed quite dramatically through the 1980s and 1990s. Through much of the 80s, the park's sole parking lot was a short section directly behind the park with their iconic green trams used to carry guests to the front gate. As the park's customer base grew, parking had to be extended across the street in the 90s and park-goers were transported to the gate from these lots by way of trolleys and old school buses instead of the green trams. On occasion, guests were asked to park down towards the lake, with buses provided to bring guests into the front entrance.

The theme of "being 100 years in the past" has also been deemphasized in recent years to increase the attention of a newer generation of families. Partnerships with Nickelodeon have created new shows and rides that are less consistent with the themes of the 1880s. Though some shows and attractions are themed around modern characters and themes, SDC continues to emphasize its nostalgic "100 years in the past" setting. Throughout the history of SDC, performers that feature American folk music and dance have always been a celebrated part of every festival.

Today, Silver Dollar City plays hosts to thousands of visitors each day during the tourist season.

Pop Culture

The park gained much public notice when the Clampett family of CBS' The Beverly Hillbillies decided to pay a visit to Silver Dollar City to start off the 1969-1970 season. The plotline involved Granny (Irene Ryan) attempting to find a husband for Elly May (Donna Douglas) back in the hills, while Uncle Jed (Buddy Ebsen) socialized with hotel clerk Shorty Kellems (Shug Fisher). They visited the blacksmith Shad Heller, soapmaker Granny Ethel Huffman, and woodcarver Peter Engler, and Miss Hathaway (Nancy Kulp) was seen in the Ozark woods. The Hillbillies were from the area surrounding Silver Dollar City and Branson, and references to Jim Owens and his White River float trip business and some Missouri mountain locations were made throughout the show's nine year run. On July 5, 2007, Silver Dollar City was featured in an episode of the soap opera As The World Turns.

The City (Layout, Attractions and General Information)


SDC is divided into 9 distinct districts. They are listed beginning with the park entrance and continuing clockwise around the park.
* Park Entrance
* Main Street
* Midtown
* Hugo's Hill Street
* The Great Barn (At Wilson's Farm)
* The Riverfront
* The Grand Exposition
* Valley Road


* Homestead Barnyard
* McHaffie's Homestead
* Oak Trail Schoolhouse #3
* The Train Depot
* Wilderness Church


* Brown's Candy Factory
* Carrie's Candles
* Cut Glass
* D. Ellison's Basket Shop
* Duplicating Lathe
* Hazel's Blown Glass
* Heartlad Home Furnishings
* Hillcreek Pottery
* Mountain Leather
* Mountain Outfitter's Knives
* Valley Road Woodcarvers
* Wilderness Road Blacksmith


* American Plunge
* Becky's Carousel
* Electro Spin
* Elephant March
* Fire in the Hole
* Flooded Mine
* Frisco Silver Dollar Line
* The Giant Barn Swing
* Grand Exposition Coaster
* Grandfather's Mansion
* Happy Frogs
* The Ladybugs
* Lost River of the Ozarks
* Magnificent Wave Carousel
* Mighty Galleon
* Racing Regatta
* Royal Tea Party
* Tom Sawyer's Sand Station
* Tom Sawyer's Skychase
* Thunderation
* Waterworks Waterboggan
* Wildfire
* Wings of Wonder


Throughout the operating season Silver Dollar City hosts six different festivals:

*WorldFest (April - May): An international event showcasing different cultures and performers from around the world.
*Bluegrass & BBQ Festival (May -June): Is a celebration of bluegrass music and BBQ from across the nation.
*National Kids' Fest (June - August): Is a summer festival featuring a circus on ice, popular children's characters such as VeggieTales, along with other activities that appeal to children.
*Southern Gospel Picnic (August - September): Gospel music is showcased during this festival along with picnic style dinners.
*National Harvest Fetival (September - October): Is a salute to an old time harvest celebration featuring visiting-craftsmen and autumn cuisine, along with a showcase of American music.
*An Old Time Christmas (November - December): Is a traditional holiday Christmas Celebration with special shows, foods, and other attractions. In addition, the park is decorated with nearly 4 million Christmas lights and a five-story special effects Christmas tree.

Restaurants and Eateries

* Aunt Polly's Fried Chicken
* Big Jack's Sandwich Shop
* Buckshot Annie's Chicken Shack
* Buckshot Annie's Skillet Cookery
* Eva & Delilah's Bakery
* Farmer's Market
* Flossie's Fried Fancies
* Frank's Hot Dogs
* Hannah's Ice Cream Factory
* Jim Owen's Fish Camp
* Lumbercamp Hamburgers
* Mary's Springhouse
* The Mine Restaurant
* Molly's Mill Restaurant
* Riverside Rib House
* The Tater Patch
* Tom Sawyer's Fun Food
* Wagon Works Grill

Specialty Shops

* Allen's Backyard Stained Glass
* Apple Butter Shop
* Ashley's Tintype Photography
* Aunt Molly's Quilts & Lace
* Benjamin's Pen & Ink
* Brown's Candy Factory
* Book & Print
* Carrie's Candles
* Christmas Hollow
* Cowboy Jepp's
* D. Ellison's Basket Shop
* The General Store
* Hand Cut Coin Jewelry
* Hazel's Blown Glass Factory
* Heartland Home Furnishings
* Hill Creek Pottery
* Hospitality House
* Gill Wire Jewelry
* Grandma Lena's Honey Heaven
* Granny's Lye Soap
* J.J. Fiddlesticks Toy Shop
* Love My Country
* Mission Metals
* Moon Valley Waxworks
* Mortimer's Magic Box
* Mountain Leather Shop
* Ozark Marketplace
* Phoebe Snapp Taffy
* SDC U.S. Post Office
* St. Louis Jewelry
* Sullivan's Mill
* Valley Road Woodcarvers
* White River Mercantile
* White River Wildflowers
* Wilderness Road Blacksmith Shop

Recurring Shows

* American Kids
* Championship Cloggers
* Cajun Connection
* Horsecreek Band
* Old-Time Story TIme
* The Homestead Pickers
* Sons of the Silver Dollar

Stages, Multipurpose Buildings and Theaters

* The Boatworks Theater
* The Dockside Theater
* The Frisco Barn
* The Gazebo
* Marvel Cave
* McHaffie's Homestead (Porch)
* SDC Saloon
* The Opera House
* The Homestead Pickers' Pickin' Shead
* Red Gold Heritage Hall

Former rides

*Buzz Saw Falls - A roller coaster that also incorporated a water type boat for the vehicle. The ride was largely promoted, however was constantly plagued with mechanical difficulties. It was closed in 2003 and construction began to modify the ride into Powder Keg, which opened in 2005.
*Rube Dugan's Diving Bell - An attraction that simulated a Jules Verne-style fantasy submarine ride, the first simulation ride of its kind. Disney World engineers told Silver Dollar City that it could not be done. It was removed in the mid-1980s to make room for the Lost River of the Ozarks, a ride that could run more people through per hour . Slim Pickens was the voice of Rube Dugan. Noel Green was the only person to ever play Rube Dugan in the flesh during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. []
*Jim Owens Float Trip - Outdoor boat ride around a man-made river with animatronics. Removed after the 1980 season and remodeled into the American Plunge log flume.
*Stagecoach - In the early years of the park, an authentic stagecoach took guests on a bumpy ride around the perimeter of the town square pulled by sturdy draft horses. It was removed within the first five years after the park opened.
*Runaway Ore Cart - A small children's roller coaster that was removed after the 2004 season.

ee also

*Dogpatch USA
*Celebration City

External links

* [ Silver Dollar City] (Official Website)
* [ Dollywood] (Official Website)
* [ (A fan website for SDC)]

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