Do you love the ‘Wizard of Oz’ !? So do we, but there was someone who loved the epic tale more than anyone! In fact, he loved it so much he created a real life version of the ‘Land of Oz’. Grover Robbins opened the Land of Oz in the resort town of Beech Mountain in North Carolina, he was a resort developer who was credited with being the first to recognize winter sports in the South.
Prior to opening the ‘Land of Oz’, Robbins opened the historical ‘Tweetsie Railroad’, July 4th of 1957. Tweetsie was a Wild West themed park with it’s main attraction being a train ride pulled by a historical train. This park is still open to visitors! https://tweetsie.com/
With all of Robbins resorts and parks doing well, ‘The Land of Oz’ was opened in 1970 by Robbins and designed by Jack Pentes. The park was designed to start in Kansas where visitors would experience the Tornado that Dorothy did, then move through the various movements Dorothy made did during her journey. Once arriving in Emerald City, visitors would find gift shops and restaurants.
Just prior to the opening of the park, Grover Robbins passed away. Regardless, the opening day attracted over 20,000 visitors and went on to be the top attraction in the area for it’s first year.
The Emerald City portion of the park caught fire and burned on December 28th, 1975. Many important pieces from the actual move, such as the original dress worn by Dorothy (Judy Garland). The park began to fail after the fire, leaving it exposed to
vandalism and the elements, only a few pieces of the park were saved, ‘the yellow brick road, ‘munchkin houses’ and a few pieces of the witches castle.
In July of 1991, the town of Beeach Mountain’s Independence day was celebrated in the park, staging a productions of The Wizard of Oz and celebrating a redevelopment of the property into
condominiums. The new owner of the land restored the park in the late nineties and allowed former employees to hold a festival, Autumn at Oz.
To date, the Yellow Brick Road has reportedly lost over 44,000 of it’s bricks, but it will still take visitors through The Enchanted forest and famous Poppy Field!