Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tombstone Junction

Tombstone Junction was a Wild West themed amusement park featuring an actual internal railroad system of its own (not one of those miniature choo-choo rail cars like you see in some zoos). Tombstone Junction was located outside of Corbin, KY and entertained countless happy tourists until it burned down in not one, but two fires: one in 1989, the last in 1991.

Today little is left of Tombstone Junction, but it lives on the memories of those who saw it in its glory days. Tombstone Junction still commands an enthusiastic following to this day, judging by the volume of e-mails I've received about it over the years.

According to Karl Lusk, retired Executive Director of the Kentucky Railway Museum, the trains actually survived the fire, were auctioned off, and are still out in circulation, albeit in piecemeal fashion:

"I was at that sale, working for Ford Bros. auctioneers, Somerset, as rail equipment consultant and auctioneer. The two small steam locos were purchased by John Caperton, a rail enthusiast from Louisville. The larger loco was purchased on behalf of the Big South Fork Scenic Railway at Stearns, where it is currently undergoing restoration to operating condition. The cars, in bad repair, were, I believe scrapped, and the shop equipment, parts, etc. sold to a number of buyers, including the KY Railway Museum, Tennessee Valley Railway Museum, Diversified Rail Services, etc."

We've received many photos of Tombstone Junction that had lain dormant in the old vacation photo albums of several families, and will show some of them here soon. We always want to see more, though, so if you have Tombstone Junction photos, feel free to scan them and send them!

For more information, turn to page 160 in your copy of Weird Kentucky.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Tombstone Junction was a great. My grandparents lived in Knox County back then, so going to visit them usually included a visit to TombStone Junction. I remember that one time they had Spider-Man at Tombstone Junction, and I got to hang out with him quite a bit. I remember him wearing a cap that I bought at one of the frontier stores, posing with him in a period picture (which I wish I still had), being on the train, and fighting the bandits around the saloon. Pretty good old memories.

I still wish there was a place nearby to go experience the smells of those types of trains -- The Old West style ones -- today.

super dave said...

ive been a big fan of this place all my life but the place did not burn in 1989 it was 1991. i saw conway twitty and waylon jennings there in 1991. i have a myspace page devoted to tombstone junction please check it out.

Minda said...

I loved this place as a kid. It's amazing to think of how many country stars played there during the peak of their career. It's sad that it's gone.

Susan Marie said...

It is sad that Tombstone is gone. I loved going there as a kid and even worked there in the summer of 1978 or 1979. I don't remember his name now, but I carpooled from Stearns with the man who played the undertaker in the gunfight shows. Really enjoyed the music shows and loved eating lunch at the Red Garter Saloon.It was a fun time.

Tina said...

This was my mom and I's getaway. We lived in Fairfield, Ohio and would drive down and stay over night. I saw Tom T. Hall and Tanya Tucker here. Man it brings tears to my eyes thinking back or the good times I had with my beautiful mother whom passed away 3 years ago. I am now 47 but oh how I remember the wonderful days of being a kid at Tombstone Junction.
Tina Fox and Loving memory of my precious mama, Reva Fox

Logan said...

I'm just wondering if anybody has any posters of tombstone. My dad used to be a gun fighter there.

JSH said...

That's awesome, Logan! Do any action photos of him in his Western outfit exist in the family scrapbook?

Anonymous said...

I was there in late June 1979 and have pix of a bearded man who played a gunfighter. Will have to find it.

Anonymous said...

Are there any plans to do anything with the property? Sad it is vacant when it could be put to use. Beautiful area with the falls and Dupont Lodge nearby.
Who owns it now?

onceuponasunflower said...

@ Logan

My father was a gun fighter there, too. I know he has a poster...somewhere. I saw it when I was around five, so who knows where it is now.

Also, my dad used to pick up the stars from the Somerset airport. The one he talks about the most is magician Lance Burton.

My mom worked in the ticket booth.

OH the stories they can tell.

Jessie Darren said...

Tombstone Juntion was a magical place for me growing up. I Went there several times. One Saturday Night,(1982) I camped out at a pull off just up the road from Tombstone. Sunday morning,the roaring of diesel engines woke me up and it was Conway Twitty's Tour bus coming down the hill.He put on a great show. Leather & Lace was the warm up band. Last time i was there, George Jones pulled a no show,but still had a good time. Great memories. If I had the money I would open that place back up. Does anyone remember Billy Thunder Cloud?

indiana said...

As a kid my grandparent lived up the road from there. Alot of families made memories there. I often tell my parents if some one would come back thru and open it back up, an revamp the old tombstone junction.How many people would come back to that area. It would and could create so many jobs for that area, an think how many people would go an see all the small actracions, like the falls, sterns railroad, barthell, meuseum, there is just alot oppertunities out there. Hows the old saying go If You Build It They Will Come.!