GATLINBURG, Tenn — Ober Gatlinburg is sporting a new name for the first time in decades after a group of Sevier County natives bought the popular attraction.
If you head to Ober Gatlinburg's website now, you can see it has a new name and logo: Ober Mountain.
Staff said they are working to rebrand Ober. They want it to be known as a year-round destination, so they are working to expand events at the park to include mountain biking, ziplining and more.
Ober announced last week it had officially been sold to a group of Sevier County natives led by Joe Baker, who is the founder of Ole Smoky Distillery and Yee-Haw Brewing.
“Gatlinburg is our home,” Baker said. “The vision for Ober Gatlinburg that was laid out by its founder, Claude Anders, is inspirational. He saw that the greatest views of the Smokies exist up there, high above town, and made it someplace special. His sons have carried on his legacy, and we’re looking forward to celebrating their heritage and continuing their vision.”
The seeds of Ober Gatlinburg were planted in 1972 and 1973 when the lower terminal of the Aerial Tramway was built on the original site of The Hemlock Motel. At the time, the ski resort was separate from the tramway, having been built in 1962 and opening as a private club.
In 1975, Claude Anders purchased both the tramway and the resort and merged them into one organization. Two years later, Ober Gatlinburg was officially named after the German word for "upper" or "top of." Literally, the name could mean "the top of Gatlinburg." Now, it could mean "the top of the mountain."
Since then, Ober Gatlinburg has grown to introduce an ice rink, retail areas, an arcade, a slide, a wildlife encounter, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, summer tubing and many other year-round activities. There are also dining options for visitors who want to see the top of Gatlinburg.
Ober is currently hosting OktOBERfest until October 30, inspired by the original Oktoberfest in Munich. The fall celebration is meant to provide visitors with a unique chance to see the colors of the leaves change across the Great Smoky Mountains, as fall sets into the area.