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In 1882, Reuben Branson opened a general store and post office in the area. Branson was formally incorporated in 1912 and construction of the Powersite Dam nearby on the White River which would form Lake Taneycomo was completed. In 1894 William Henry Lynch bought Marble Cave (renamed Marvel Cave) and began charging visitors to tour it. Hugo and Mary Herschend leased the cave for 99 years in 1950 and began hosting square dances in it. The Herschend Familymodernized the cave with electricity and concrete staircases, and in 1960, the Herschends opened Silver Dollar City which was a re-creation of a frontier town that featured five shops, a church and a log cabin with actors that played out the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. Harold Bell Wright published his novel about the Ozarks, The Shepherd of the Hills, in 1907. The Old Mill Theater began its first outdoor production based on the novel in 1960. The show known as The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama & Homestead still runs today. It is also the home of Inspiration Tower, the Sons of the Pioneers show, and other attractions. The Harold Bell Wright Museum is located within The World’s Largest Toy Museum complex. Mayor of Branson for 12 years & entrepreneur Jim Owen built the 1st theater in 1934 on Commercial Street, originally called “The Hillbilly Theater” which began to attract people from far and wide to tour the area. 1959 saw the completion of Table Rock Dam on the White River, which created Table Rock Lake. In 1959 The Baldknobbers Jamboree opened the first live music show in Branson. In 1962 Paul Henning, inspired by a Boy Scout camping trip to the Ozarks, created The Beverly Hillbillies which ran on first-run television until 1971.[10] The first five episodes of Season 8 in 1969 are set in the Branson area when the Clampetts returned to their home. Henning later donated 1,534 acres (6.21 km2) for the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area near Branson.[11] He also donated the modified 1921 Oldsmobile truck used as the vehicle in the series to the College of the Ozarks where it is on display in the Ralph Foster Museum. The Presley Family (no relation to Elvis Presley) became the first to move their show (Presleys’ Country Jubilee) toHighway 76 in 1967, followed a year later by the Baldknobbers. Eventually Branson would have more than 50 theaters, most of them located on Highway 76. In the early 1980s Chisai Child’s Starlite Theater (not to be confused with the current theater by the same name) was one of the first to introduce stage sets, horn section, elaborate costume changes, and music outside of the traditional country music normally played. It helped to launch the careers of Shoji Tabuchi, and many others.[12] In 1983 Branson began its transformation into a major tourist attraction when the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre opened and began to bring famous country music stars to Branson. Many of the performers who have had their own theaters in Branson first discovered Branson when they performed at this venue.[citation needed] Also in 1983 the 7,500 seat Swiss Villa Amphitheatre opened in Lampe, Missouri. The outdoor amphitheatre brought in acts like Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf, and Ozzy Osbourne. Closing in the early 2000s, it reopened in 2010 as the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. In 1987, Box Car Willie became the first internationally known entertainer to purchase a theater in Branson and have a permanent performance schedule there. In 1989, Shoji Tabuchi opened his first theater in Branson (converting the Ozarks Auto Museum on West 76 Highway into a theater). He then built a new theater on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway in 1990; while Mel Tillis moved into Shoji’s old theater. In 1990-1991 several nationally known stars such as Jim Stafford, Ray Stevens, Mickey Gilley, and Moe Bandy opened their own theaters. Along with these national stars many home-grown shows also had theaters. The Lowe Family featured their show and hosted nationally known stars like Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Vern Gosdin, Waylon Jennings, and others. 76 Music Hall (now known as the Grand Country Music Hall) became the first theater to have three different shows a day performing in different time slots. Buck Trent became the first nationally known star to open a morning show. The increasing number of theaters and other attractions opening in Branson drew the attention of “60 Minutes”, which aired an episode about Branson on December 8, 1991, and called Branson the “live music capital of the entire universe”.[13]    *(SOURCE WIKIPEDIA)

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