Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Says Goodbye to Old Attractions

by Allison Hambrick
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Recently, Dollywood, owned by country legend Dolly Parton, bid adieu to an old and oft-forgotten attraction. The area in question was an old tunnel, sometimes referred to as the Silver Dollar Mine, which existed in the park since the mid-1970s.

At a Glance

  • Dollywood said goodbye to the old mine shaft tunnel.
  • The tunnel previously served as the platform for both the Inventors Mansion and Dolly’s Rags to Riches Museum.
  • It also housed the Silver Dollar Arcade as well as a gift shop.

Dollywood: Which Attraction at Dolly Parton’s Park Is No More?

During the park’s off-season, Dollywood chose to renovate the old mine shaft tunnel that connected Craftsman’s Valley and The Village. However, it also served a structural purpose. The tunnel’s history traces back to the time before Dolly Parton owned the park. In those days, it was called Silver Dollar City. Jack and Pete Herschend operated the park under that name from 1976 to 1986.

Initially, the tunnel was a platform for the Inventors Mansion, which was a centerpiece for the park. However, Parton repurposed the building as Dolly’s Rags to Riches Museum. As the park grew, the tunnel became a less important walkway, so the park opened the Silver Dollar Arcade. It also featured a gift shop that sold rocks and gemstones. Unfortunately, when the museum closed in 2018, the tunnel became largely irrelevant.

John Gullion of The Smokies wrote about the attraction during the fall of last year: “It’s appropriate that in a theme park dedicated to mountain life the remnants of a mostly forgotten relic are fading back into the scenery,” the author wrote. “Although, this is Dollywood. So it won’t be long until the space is rediscovered, repurposed and revitalized. Also very much in keeping with the spirit of the mountains.”

“Much like the construction efforts we completed last season, these projects are designed to provide the best guest experience for our visitors,” Wes Ramey, a Dollywood spokesman, said in regards to the changes. These renovations allow for more space and accessibility than the tunnel would have in its previous state.

Additionally, Parton herself discussed the park and its legacy upon reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Parton said in a statement. “I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here and I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that.”