The theme park now known as Dollywood can trace it's
history back into the 1960's when Rebel Railroad was opened on the land now known as Dollywood. Operated by the Robbins
Brothers, the park featured a coal-fired steam train named Klondike Kaite, a store, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon.
In 1970 the park was purchased by Art Modell, then
owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns, and became known as Goldrush Junction. The park began to expand, although the major
attraction remained the same, a 5 mile train ride into the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Some attractions added
were a saw mill, wood shop, campground, and several children's rides. Under this administration, the Robert F. Thomas
Church was built, a popular physician in Sever County. Visitors will flocking to the park for a glimpse at the Smoky
Mountain way of life. For a single season in 1976, the park was known simply as "Goldrush."
In 1977 the park underwent another name change when
it was purchased by Jack and Pete Herschend from the Branson based Herschend Enterprises. The park then became known
as Silver Dollar City, Tennessee.
During the first year of operation, Craftsman Valley
was created to showcase the phenomenal craftmanship of the people of the Smoky Mountains. The Silvery Dollar gristmill
was built - the first working gristmill built in over 100 years in Tennessee.
In 1986, Herschend Enterprises welcomed singer, songwriter,
and actress Dolly Parton. Not only did Dolly share her insight about the park, but also her name, and the park became
known officially as Dollywood.
Since that time, Dolly has continued to share her
roots with the public as millions of dollars have been invested in the park that continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
Meeting the demands of an interested public, Dollywood remains stedfast as the number one attraction in Tennessee.