When it comes to eccentric local businessmen known for wonderfully creative endeavors, Bob Cassilly and Joe Edwards usually top the list. But take a drive down to Rolla and you’re bound to hear another name: George Carney.
The son of an entrepreneur and former Rolla mayor who owned several hotels, built the luxurious Uptown movie theater and invented the first curved screen for drive-ins, Carney grew up with tourism and entertainment in his blood. He bought his own hotel along Route 66 in the 1960s, but his real passion was cars, so in 1970 he sold the hotel to open Memoryville USA, a vintage automobile museum and premier restoration shop. It grew to become one of the largest in the country.
Carney happened to be a close friend of Donna Douglas, best known as Elly Mae Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, and for many years his museum displayed her white Cadillac convertible. Then sometime around 1996, apparently Douglas was looking for a place to film a TV series, and Carney delivered by building an authentic turn-of-the-century village.
Known as “Ozark Junction,” this 95-acre wonderland just north of Rolla looks like a carbon copy of Silver Dollar City. In other words, it is awesome! Tucked away in a forest, it has more than a dozen old-timey buildings, including a firehouse, a cider mill, a newspaper office and a train depot. There’s also a windmill, a two-acre lake, a whiskey still, a small quarry, and two unique homes – one a Victorian farmhouse, the other a big log cabin.
Douglas never did film a TV show here, but she was a frequent guest. And now that Carney has passed on, his brilliant labor of love is up for sale, just waiting for another creative soul to scoop it up.
Personally, I think Ozark Junction would be hugely successful as a bed & breakfast. I would totally stay in one of those cute little buildings! Other possibilities include a corporate retreat center, a youth camp or one very awesome private residence. Either way, the price has dropped and even more land is available if you want it. One of the large sheds is even producing $1,500/month in rental income.
So how about it? Wanna buy a village?
Listing courtesy of Stan Frisbee, Frisbee Mid-Missouri Real Estate, (573) 263-8040. More photos and info available on the Ozark Junction website.
If you’d like a buyer’s agent to show you this amazingly unique property with LOADS of potential, only 90 minutes from St. Louis, I’d be happy to help!