In 1956, Blowing Rock's Grover Robbins Jr. worked with Gene Autry, ho agreed to sell the historic Engine 12 for only $1. By the summer of 1957, residents were once again able to ride along the old narrow gauge tracks. Three years later, Tweetsie Railroad service acquired a second engine. Enthusiasm for this excursion railroad service grew throughout the 1960s and investors and supporters supported the creation of North Carolina’s first theme
park.By mid-decade, the park began offering a variety of historic-themed rides and attractions, including the park's main street that continues to feature western shops and entertainment.