Confideracy SectionConfideracy Section
The Confideracy (Old South) Section
Between 1861 and 1865 Texas was a member of the Confederate States of America. The Confederate section, now known as the "Old South" section, recreates Texas of the mid 1800s.
The original attractions in the Confederacy included the 1,200 seat Amphitheater, which in 1968 was converted to the 950 seat Southern Palace. In addition, present for the first year were the Confederate recruiting station and old south re-enactment performers, Little Dixie Carousal, and the Butterfield Stage Coach. A Dixieland Band provided additional entertainment and Nalar's Plantation House was one of the park's largest eating areas.
Skull Island was located in the Confederate section, but due to its own extensive history, themeing and numerous attractions, it is covered in a separate article.
In 1964, the Spee-Lunker's Cave Ride was added and the Stagecoach run shortened and the Que house was moved from next to Chicken Plantation to across from Cave. At the end of the 1967 season, the Stagecoach ride was completely removed.
In 1969, the Chevy Show was added at the site of the Stagecoach Que-house.
After the 1974 season, the Little Dixie Carousal, which had been earlier renamed as the Flying Jenny, and moved down the street closer to the cave entrance, was removed.
The Flying Jenny was replaced for the 1975 season by the Red Baron children's ride.
At the end of the 1982 season, the remainder of Skull Island was removed to make remove for the Roaring Rapids.
In 1996, Runaway Mountain opened next to the Plantation house.
Butterfield Stagecoach RideButterfield Stagecoach Ride
Butterfield Stagecoach Ride
1961 - 1967
The Butterfield Overland Stagecoach ride offered guests a ride on an authentic stagecoach. Riders sat in the coach or rode outside on the top of the coach. The loading dock consisted of two two-story towers, one to load guests onto the ride and one to unload. The top level was used to provide access to the top level of the stagecoaches. Three coaches operated on the pathway with four horses each.
The coaches traveled through the backwoods of the park, where the guests viewed various sites, including live Buffalo. At one point, the coaches crossed a small creek. For many years, the stages also passed the “Ghost Town Saloon”, where a skeleton bartender stood serving drinks to his skeleton customers. When the Stagecoach was removed, the Saloon and its inhabitants were moved near the mine train where they can be viewed by the passengers on the Six Flags Railroad.
The stagecoach ride was removed at the end of the 1967 season to make way for the construction of the Six Flags Oil Derrick Tower.
Flying Jenny (Lil' Dixie CarouselFlying Jenny (Lil' Dixie Carousel
The Flying Jenny was a mule drawn carousel. It was an original attraction, first located in front of the Amphitheater. When it opened it was named the Lil' Dixie Carousel. The name was changed to avoid confusion with the Six Flags Carousel when it opened in Boomtown.
In 1968, the ride was moved closer the Cave ride in order to accommodate the new Southern Palace, located at the site of the Amphitheater.
The ride was removed after the 1974 season and the Red Baron was installed in its location.
Flying Jenny Mule Ride located in lower right corner; Amphitheater located in upper left corner.
Re-enactment PlayersRe-enactment Players
Confederate Reenactment Players
Located across from the theater and the Skull Island dock stood one of the park’s historical recreations, the Confederate Soldier’s headquarters and recruitment station. This area was a recreation of a small confederate encampment and included a group of large tents, protected by cannon and framed by colorful civil war recruitment banners mounted on the scaffolding above the tents. Park guests could “enlist” in the Confederate army by signing on the dotted line. In addition, guests could visit with the reenactment players, who displayed their knowledge of civil war times.
The reenactment players were outfitted in the authentic distinctive gray uniform of the Confederate States of America. They marched through the streets of the confederate section and performed precision drills with their rifles. From time to time during the day, a union spy would be spotted in the crowded. At that time, the confederate soldiers would search the crowd, find the spy, and execute him by firing squad.
Skull IslandSkull Island
Skull Island was one of the original attractions at Six Flags Over Texas on opening day in 1961. Skull island was more of a section than just an attraction, in that it was a themed area consisting of other attractions. From its opening in 1961, it expanded to its largest in 1968. After the opening of the tower in 1969, it dwindled down to nearly nothing, when the last remnants were removed at the end of the 1982 season. The Island was a activity area themed loosely on the exploits of Jean Lafayette, and other pirates, off the Gulf Coast.
When the park first open, guest access to the island was solely by the skull rafts. The rafts, with their gas powered engines, where design to look like a log cotton raft from the days of the old South. The trip to Skull Island started at the raft ride que house, located in the Confederate section between what was Naler's Plantation Chicken House and the Amphitheater/Southern Palace. (Now roughly the site of Runaway Mountain.)
The rafts, guided by host and hostess, traveled across the Skull Lake to the back side of the Island, where the guests disembarked. The rafts then carried those waiting back to the dock.
The "Skull Rock" was the central element of the Island. The skull shaped rock stood nearly two stories tall. The skull slide traveled out the left ear of the skull, turned 90 degrees, and ended to the front side of the skull. Entry to the slide was through the right ear. While waiting their turn, guest could look out through the skull's eye sockets.
The other feature of the original attraction was the Swamp Tree Slide. Access to the 30 foot high tree slide was by a steel rail staircase which spiraled around the fake tree. Once at the top guests slide down a tightly winding spiral slide located inside the hollow tree. For the ride down, the guests sat on burlap sacks.
Skull Island was immediately expanded for the opening of the 1962 season. A whole new section of the island was opened to the north and west of the original section, in what is now the Tower area.
The new area contained a scaled down pirate ship, on which guests could climb and play pirates. There were also paths to travel and a pirate's cave to explore. Bridges next to the loading dock connected the two sections.
In 1963, the bridges between the sections were expanded to included a tree house on each side of the water between the old section and the new section of the 'island'. Suspension and barrel bridges connected each side. Slides come down from the 'tree house' on the new side.
In 1964, the island was again expanded with the addition of three more Swamp tree slides on the Island in the middle of Caddo pond. Access to these tree slides was through a climbing suspension bridge that started from the new section of the island, as well as a lower bridge which started at the same location. The Indian canoes circled around the Island and under the bridges.
The Pirate ship and cave were removed before the 1966 season, although the area they were in was still part of the island.
The construction of the Tower for the 1969 season lead to the removal of the Swamp slides on Caddo island, as well as all of the 'new section' built in 1962. Skull Island was now back to its original size. For the first time, however, access to the 'island' was not restricted to the skull rafts. Guests could now access the island from the suspension and barrel bridges that used to connect the two sections of the Island. The bridges now connected the 'Island' to the Tower area.
The Island was virtually unchanged until the end of the 1976 season, when the Skull Rafts and last remaining tree slide were removed after sixteen years of service. The log rafts were removed from the park to make room for the Spinnaker. The que house for the rafts became the que house for the Spinnaker. The tree slide was removed to make room for a Pirate Boat theater which opened for the 1977 season. Skull Island could still be accessed from the barrel bridges, and the original attraction, the skull rock slide remained.
The Skull rock was removed in 1978, as was the pirate ship theater. All remnants of the island were removed at the end of the 1982 season to make way for the Roaring Rapids.
Nothing remains of Skull Island in the park today.
Skull RaftsSkull Rafts
The Skull Island Barges were rafts that took Guests to and from Skull Island.
Skull SlideSkull Slide
Skull Island Slide
(see Skull Island Article)
New for 1977 was the Spinnakker, an Enterprise Style ride built by Intamin. Located just south of the Tower, the ride was composed of swingin gondolas units in which 1 or 2 guest sat. The ride would start parallel to the ground, where it would start to spin around, similar to carousel. It would spin continuously until the capsules were pointing straight out, parallel to the ground. At that point, the ride’s arm lifted up to a 90 degree angle, so that the riders were spinning up and down, as with a Ferris wheel. The difference with a Ferris wheel, however, is that the ride spun very fast, and when the gondolas reached the top of the circle, the riders were turned upside down. The spinnaker was a very popular ride at amusement parks. It was a very visual entertainment, especially at night when it was well light. The Spinnakker was removed and installed at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, where it was dubbed the “Wagon Wheel.”
Tree SlidesTree Slides parktimes Mon, 08/16/2010 - 21:42
Skull Island TreeSlides
Southern PalaceSouthern Palace
The Southern Palace
The Southern Palace was built for the 1968 season. Prior to that time, an Amphitheater was at this location.
|1962||Six Flags Campus Revues||Amphitheater|
|1963||Six Flags Campus Revues: Gilchrist Clitters||Amphitheater|
|1964||Six Flags Campus Revues: The Singing Flags||Amphitheater|
|1965||Six Flags Campus Revue: Thank You Mr. President”, subtitled “A New Play with Old Music||Amphitheater|
|1966||Six Flags Campus Revue: Let’s Do It, (Let’s Find a Cause)||Amphitheater|
|1967||Six Flags Campus Revue: Numbers Games||Amphitheater|
|1968||Red, White and Blue Revue||BC-TV||Southern Palace|
|1969||Fabulous Flickers||Southern Palace|
|1970||45 minutes from Broadway||Sing-in-70||Southern Palace|
|1971||Sing Out! America||Southern Palace|
|1972||Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!||Southern Palace|
|1973||The Passing Parade (Original Parade of Progress)(Gilbert Girls)||Southern Palace|
|1974||Great to Be Here*||Southern Palace|
|1975||Jukebox Jubilee||Southern Palace|
|1977||"Good Times, Good Music, Good Friends"||Southern Palace|
|1978||Jazz Crazy!||Southern Palace|
|1980||Six Flags Follies||Southern Palace|
|1981||Six Flags’ Follies||Southern Palace|
|1982||America - Saluting American Music||Southern Palace|
|1984||Star Struck||Southern Palace|
|1985||Celebrate America! <new - 85 fact sheet>||Southern Palace|
|1987||The Incredible Acrobats of China *||Stars & Stripes Salute!” ("All American Revue" on some materials)||Southern Palace|
|1988||The Incredible Acrobats of China * June 5 to July 2||Stars & Stripes Salute||Southern Palace|
|1989||Flashback, the Musical||Texas Themed||Southern Palace|
|1992||We are the World (Do you hear the people sing?)||Southern Palace|
|1993||Ice Express (First SP Ice show)||(Chevrolet/GEO) Southern Palace||Southern Palace|
|1994||Warner Music Rock Revue *||Pure Country also||Southern Palace|
|1995||Hot Rockin' Country *||Southern Palace|
|1996||Hot Rockin' Country *||Southern Palace|
|1997||Hot Rockin' Country||Southern Palace|
|1998||Hot Rockin' Country||Southern Palace|
|1999||Hooray for Hollywood!||Southern Palace|
|2001||American Rock * David Blackburn||Southern Palace|
|2002||State of Rhythm||Southern Palace|
|2003||The State of Rhythm *||Southern Palace|
|2004||The State of Rhythm||It's Alright *||Southern Palace|
|2005||The Amazing Acrobats of China||It's Alright *||Southern Palace|
|2006||The Amazing Acrobats of China *||Hello Texas (Spring Show)||Southern Palace|
|2007||X-Treme Country||Southern Palace|
|2008||Dick Clark’s Academy of Country Music: Back Trax||Southern Palace|
|2009||Country is my Rock||Southern Palace|
|2010||Country is my Rock||Southern Palace|
|2011||Chart-Toppers 5.0 *||Southern Palace|
|2013||Chart-Toppers 5.2||Southern Palace|
|2014||Chart-Toppers 5.3||Southern Palace|
|2015||Chart-Toppers 5.4||Southern Palace|
|2016||Chart-Toppers 5.5||Southern Palace|
Let's Find a CauseLet's Find a Cause
Following are pictures from the 1966 production of "Let's Find a Cause." Of the cast, the ventriloquist Jay Johnson went on to be a star of the hit comedy SOAP and Cissy King became a dancer on the famous Lawrence Welk Show. Photos courtesy of Cast Member LaVerne Huselton Catter.
Let's Find a Cause ~ Campus Review 1966
Unidentified Show Girl, Jay Johnson (of SOAP)
LaVerne Huselton Catter, Unidentified Show Girl
Unidentified Show Girl, Jay Johnson (of SOAP)
Cissy King (future dancer on Lawrence Welk Show)
Speelunker CaveSpeelunker Cave
The Cave Ride opened in the park in 1964, making it the sixth oldest operating ride in the park. The Cave Ride was perhaps one of the most innovated rides at Six Flags Over Texas. Of course, the Cave took its inspiration from Dark Rides everywhere. Floating through a dark tunnel was certainly not a new concept, even in 1964.
The ride is simple in design and operation. Riders float through the ride in small "tubs". The "tubs" are basically a variation on the Flume's Logs. This makes sense, since the Cave "river" is basically the same as the Flume "trough". The "tubs" have change somewhat overtime, with the seating going from around the inside, to front to back, as with the logs, to side by side in rows.
What made the Cave special, however, was that it was inhabited by Six Flags Spee-Lunkers, a characteristic that made it unique among dark rides. The Spee-Lukners are small creatures, about four feet tall. There most prominent feature is their long triangulars faces.
The ride had no real story line, the riders simply saw the Spee-Lunkers doing various activities. Highlights of the trip included, the storm scene, complete with lightening and thunder; the barrel, in which the tub went through a large barrel which rotated around it, creating the illusion that the through was rotating; and the air and water sprayers at the end of the ride.
Some scenes were removed and replaced with other scenes as the years went on, so the ride was not exactly the same over the years. At the end of the 1991 season, the Spee-Lunkers were removed from the cave and replaced with characters from the Warner Brother's Looney-Tunes. Due to the significant changes made in the animinations. the ride after 1991 is covered in the Gold River Pages.
The Spee-Lunker scenes, in order as much as possible, were:
Writing on Stone Table
One Spee-lunker writing with a hammer and chisel on a large stone tablet. Made a distinctive "chinging" sound.
Three Speelunkers riding in a large circle in and out of a cave. The turtles were mounted on a carousel type mount, so the speelunkers road around in a large circle
A large treasure chest. Over the years, different treasures were featured, including the standard jewels, gasoline cans during the gas shortage and coffee bags during the coffee shortage. The lid opened and closed as the riders went by.
playing "catch" with a bolder
Two speelunkers playing "catch" with a large bolder which went out over the tub as it passed underneath.
SpeeLunker in a sinking tub using a sword to fighting off a shark lurking up out of the water.
Speelunker playing a large pipe organ with his friend pumping the organ.
Five spee-lunkers: a band director standing, with four string players sitting on mushrooms and playing harps;
Country & Western band
In later years there was a country and western band with a bucking bull ride.
The Storm scene started as you came upon the boat. Lightened flashed in the distance. Thunder roared and the sound of rain falling could be heard.
As you came up on the boat, you saw the outside of a large sailing boat, which rocked back and forth. As you came around the front of the boat, it was if you were now inside the boat and seeing scenes from the boat on each side.
Prisoner sawing away at his bars. (on the boat.)
Two Speelunkers sitting at a table playing a game of cards. (on the boat)
The tubs went through a long barrel which rotated around the riders, creating an illusion that the whole river was rotating.
Speelunkers representing each of the six flags shaking hands with each other. Shown are the "Mexican" and "USA" representatives.
(c) Davis McCown, 1999
Gold River AdventureGold River Adventure
Gold River Cave Adventure
Yosemite Sam and the Gold River Adventure
The Speelunkers cave opened for the 1992 season without the original Speelunkers. It was now the "Yosemite Sam and the Gold River Adventure ". The new version of the ride featured Bugs Bunny and the other Looney tunes characters in center stage.
Also, known as the Gold River Adventure, the ride tells the story of Yosemite Sam’s robbery of the “payroll”. “Sheriff” Bugs Bunny and his friends are responsible for seeing that the gold is returned and that Yosemite Sam is locked up for his misdeeds. As would be anticipated, the story ends happily.
The ride intimations and features were designed by R & R Creative Amusement Design, and built by Sally Dark Rides, a ride and animation company. According to the company, the ride contains 29 animated characters, and a total of 125 animations and other special effects.
Although all of the inhabitants of the cave were removed and replaced, the ride structure itself remained the same. The special effects, such as the storm and rotating barrel were removed. The make-over cost $5 million dollars and opened in June of the year.
Runaway MountainRunaway Mountain
Runaway Mountain Rollercoaster, Six Flags’ eighth roller coaster, was added for the 1996 season. Runaway Mountain is located in the Old South (Confederacy) section between the Southern Palace and Nalar’s Plantation house. The area had once been occupied by the Skull Island River Raft queue house and the more recently removed Spinnaker.
Runaway Mountain utilizes single unit cars rather than the trains common with the other roller coasters. Runaway Mountains key feature is that the entire ride is inside. The darkness of the interior prevents the riders from knowing whether they are going up, down, left or right. This lack of knowledge makes the ride more thrilling, even though it is not as tall or fast as the other major coasters.
The four seat cars reach speeds of up to 40 mph and g-forces of up to 3.6.This is actually faster than the 39 mph estimated at the time for the Texas Giant, and the 2.7 g’s pulled on the Giant. The ride includes drops of nearly 90 degrees, banked turns at 82 degrees, and two high speed horizontal spirals.
The ride lasts one and a half minutes and can entertain a thousand guests an hour.
The publicity for the ride resembled the story line for the original skull island. As with the Skull island, which was located at the same spot, the mountain was said to contain gold left there by the famous pirate Jean LaFitte. The riders search for the gold as they explore the mysteries of the mountain. The ride’s tagline is the “Coaster that dares the Darkness.”
The ride was designed using the most current computer aided design techniques and was a “heart-line design”, meaning that the riders heart was used as the center of gravity. The ride also employed state of the art computer controls as well as a chainless lift that provided much quieter operation.
The ride was built by Premier Rides of Maryland and was originally based on three twelve passenger trains.
In order to avoid confusion of the names, “runaway” was removed from the Runaway Mine Train’s name, which was shortened to simply the “Mine Train”