Amusement Park Owner Plans to Build 220-Foot Cross on Ridge

| by Kendal Mitchell
Maggie Valley.Maggie Valley.

The owner of a North Carolina amusement park plans to build the one of the largest crosses in North America on her property.

Alaska Presley, owner of the Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in the town of Maggie Valley, said she wants to knock down part of an older steel roller coaster and place a cross on top of  what she calls "Resurrection Mountain."

Presley says she has the support of local churches and plans to begin fundraising for the project soon.

A surveyor said Presley plans to make the cross around 220 feet tall.

“You can see the drop tower now,” said Marty Owens, a surveyor who was at the park. “So you put something approximately that tall, maybe taller, you'll see it from the valley I'm sure.”

Owens said he and Presley have begun to look at where within the property lines Presley can establish a location for the cross.

Ghost Town was a popular amusement park during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, but began to lose its luster in the 1990s. It shut down in 2002 for five years until new owners tried to revive the struggling park. It went into foreclosure in 2012.

Presley bought the nearly bankrupt amusement part three years ago. The park officially reopened last July.

Maggie Valley officials said there is currently no limit about how tall the potential structure can stand, but state ridgeline rules may affect the final height of the cross.

Some people in the town said Presley should consider how the cross would affect the natural landscape of the area.

“I think something that would affect all of Maggie Valley and in fact all of Haywood County, I think that is something that should be more than just Alaska’s vision,” said Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone. “I think everyone should be allowed to weigh in on something that drastic on the mountaintop.”

Sources: WLOS, Fox8, Smoky Mountain News / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons