RB Coburn remembered
Ronald Braxton Coburn, better know as “RB,” passed away in Palm City, Florida, on April 1. The inspiration behind Ghost Mountain later changed the name of his park to Ghost Town in the Sky and was instrumental in the overall growth and development of Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
RB Coburn was born November 1919 in Covington, Virginia. While attending Beckley College he met his wife Jeannette Meadows. Several years later, RB went into the US Air Force as a pilot instructor stationed in Orangeburg, South Carolina. In 1945, he started his first business by opening a company in Knoxville, Tennessee, and later moved back to Orangeburg to found a number of enterprises including a construction company, taxi firm, finance business, clothing store and restaurant. He also became a partner in a Holiday Inn.
After returning home from a family vacation where he had visited several abandoned western ghost towns, RB got his inspiration and vision to build Ghost Mountain. He purchased Buck Mountain at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains as the site of his theme park. Construction began in September 1960 and was completed the following May.
Ghost Town closed its doors in 2002 after 41 years of successful operation and Coburn sold the property in 2006. It reopened last May and as a tribute to RB Coburn, the new ownership is in the process of creating a memorial ceremony and Founders Day celebration for the 2008 season