Sunday, December 17, 2006

Silver Creek, Dynamite and Ol' Georgie MacGregor

Over the years, many colorful characters found their way to the valley of Silver Creek Springs, the fictional home of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. One such individual, Georgie MacGregor, is especially notable for his contribution to the Lodge’s surrounding landscape and the very nature of Silver Creek itself.

MacGregor, a prospector, arrived in the valley in 1852 seeking his fortune. Silver Creek was named for its mineral deposits that made the water shimmer, but that didn’t deter MacGregor. He was convinced there was a rich silver vein there just waiting to be tapped. The Silver Creek Star newspaper related how Georgie managed to “set up camp” near the Lodge with the help of proprietress Genevieve Moreland:

Even if Ol' Georgie was "a few logs shy of a full load" in the common sense department, he was nevertheless cunning. When he approached the Wilderness Lodge, he presented himself not as a prospector, but as a cook. The frontier, at this time, did not have a surplus of chefs, so such skills were highly valued. The Lodge had become a gathering place for artists, naturalists and others, and Jenny thought Ol' Georgie would be a welcomed addition. She offered Ol' Georgie a room in the Lodge in exchange for his services. He responded, "Now, Miss Jenny, I reckon the best place fer me is yonder, by that thar stream. Thataways I won't bother any of your guests an' I'll be closer to the trout. I kin clean the pans easier thataways, too.

It wasn’t long before Jenny discovered MacGregor’s true intentions. In a surprise visit to his camp, she discovered cooking pans filled with water and silt from the stream, and Ol’ Georgie was shooting trout point blank with his Hawken pistol. Jenny quickly hired a new cook, a former Army sergeant, in hopes of dissuading MacGregor from his hopeless endeavors.

It didn’t work.

The Silver Creek Star related the subsequent sequence of events, and their explosive consequences:

On a supply run to the trading post for cooking utensils and fishing gear, Georgie returned with two crates. He took one to the kitchen and the other he carted off to his cabin. Ol' Georgie was cooking up one last plan to uncover his fortune. The next morning, Ol' Georgie doggedly served breakfast and slipped away quietly to his cabin. The guests were still gathered around the table, discussing how much better the food tasted when all of a sudden, a tremendous explosion shook the very foundation of the Lodge, knocking them to the floor.

After collecting themselves, they scrambled down the stream in a panic. Where the stream once flowed gently over rocks was now a cavernous, smoldering hole, deep in the earth. Ol’
Georgie was no where in sight. His cabin was splintered and roofless. The group stood in silent amazement at the damage around them. A faint voice was heard from above. Ol' Georgie had blown himself twenty feet up a pine tree, black as tar and barely conscious. A box labeled dynamite stood under the tree.

It was the last time Ol" Georgie ever looked for gold or silver. And the cratered pool he blew into the ground serves as one of the fondest recreational pastimes at the Lodge.

At Disney, even the swimming pool has a back story.

Another interesting detail in the vicinity of Silver Creek relates to the Teton Boat and Bike Rental, located near the lake shore. The building is the original cabin that Colonel Ezekiel Moreland built shortly after arriving in the valley for the first time.


cwliner said...

WOW! The Wilderness Lodge is my favorite place to stay when we take trips to Walt Disney World. Knowing this back story will make it all the more exciting next time I get to go.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your blog. This story is so detailed its really amazing, we are staying there for the 1st time this summer and I cant wait to really look around the Lodge.