The Mixed Fortunes of the Land of Oz

The Land of Oz

On June 15, 1970, the Land of Oz theme park opened on Beech Mountain in Avery County.

The theme park, based on the book and movie The Wizard of Oz, was the brainchild of entrepreneur Grover Robbins, the same man who opened Tweetsie Railroad. The park featured costumed characters reminiscent of the movie with a recreation of the city of Oz, complete with a yellow brick road. In its early years the theme park attracted many visitors and experienced much success.

That began to change in December 1975, when a fire caused major damage to many of the park’s structures. The park began to experience financial troubles and attendance declined.  It closed in 1980.

The property was abandoned for several years until the landowner restored the park in the late 1990s. A few former employees decided to hold an “Autumn of Oz” festival to commemorate their days of working at the park. The festival became an annual event.

Today the “Land of Oz” is used primarily as a venue for special events and private parties. Individuals can also rent the facility and spend the night in Dorothy’s house.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.