Located in Branson, Missouri, about four hours outside the city of St. Louis, Silver Dollar City is a theme park for travelers and state residents. Since officially opening in May of 1960, the now 57-year-old park has become a top-rated attraction, drawing over 2 million visitors each year. Open from March all the way until December, Silver Dollar City is run by the Herschend Family Entertainment group and features 31 different rides and roller-coasters spread out over its 61-acre park.
History of Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri
The history of Silver Dollar City dates back to 1889 when William Henry Lynch, a miner, and dairyman from Canada, purchased what was known as the Marble Cave, a cave that was discovered in the early 1880s. Paying $10,000 for the cave, which equals about $272,000 in current days, Lynch turned the cave into a tourist attraction, welcoming sightseers to come and view its many crevices and beauties. However, many were not interested in the Marble Cave, and thus, not even revenue was generated to keep it open, forcing Lynch to close the new attraction after opening in 1894. Finally, six years after opening, in 1900, Lynch and his family raised enough funds to reopen the Marble Cave.
Since reopening, the Marble Cave continued to grow in popularity. In 1927, however, William Henry Lynch died, leaving ownership of the cave to his daughters. They decided to rename it, changing the attraction from the Marble Cave to the Marvel Cave. Ownership stayed within the Lynch family for the next 50 years or so before it was purchased by Hugo Herschend, a vacuum cleaner salesman from Chicago at the time. Herschend purchased a 100-year lease on Marvel Cave. As the cave grew in popularity, the Herschend family decided to build another attraction to bring in even more visitors. This attraction was Silver Dollar City.
Opening of Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri
Silver Dollar City, which was in development since the late 1800s, officially opened on May 1, 1960. The name for the park was taken from scriptwriter Ozark Jubilee and publicist Don Richardson. On opening day, Silver Dollar City featured an appearance by Uncle Cyp and Aunt Sap Brasfield, a famous American comedy duo. In its first year of operation, the park brought in over 125,000 people. The number of visitors in its first year alone was already four times more than those who visited Marvel Cave in previous years before the opening of Silver Dollar City. Eight years later, in 1968, Silver Dollar City began charging admission for visitors. Over the years, the park continued to expand, eventually opening up another theme park in Tennessee known as Dollywood, named after the Herschend’s partnership with Dolly Parton.
Rides @ Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City is divided into ten separate sections: the Park Entrance, Main Street, Homestead Ridge, Midtown, Valley Road, The Grand Exposition, Riverfront, Wilson’s Farm, Hugo’s Hill Street, and Fireman’s Landing. The 31 rides and rollercoasters featured include American Plunge, Birdle’s Cabin, Electro Spin, Elephant March, Elsie the Milk Cow, FireFall, Frisco Silver Dollar Line Steam Train, and The Grand Exposition Coaster.