The Background Story of Thunder Mesa
The story of Frontierland's fictional town 'Thunder Mesa'. As told by Jeff Burke (executive producer), Bob Baranick (imagineer) and Craig Flemin (show writer).
Fort Comstock (named after a silver mine in Virginia City, Nevada) guards the entrance to Thunder Mesa - Frontierland - Disneyland Paris. It is a kind of log stockade that was constructed by its earliest inhabitants as a defense against an attack of native Indians (from the Shoshone's Tribe). Their tepees can be found in the vegetation surrounding the central hub of the Disneyland Park.
The frontiersmen who lived within the pristine surroundings of Big Thunder Mountain were farmers, poachers and smugglers. Tobias Norton & Sons Frontier Traders was the first shop in Thunder Mesa.
In 1853, Henry Ravenswood (born 1795) struck gold in the mighty Big Thunder Mountain. Soon the Thunder Mesa Mining Company was founded. Thousands of people were attracted by the new found wealth. Thunder Mesa's population was growing at an incredible pace.
New modern shops opened for business to meet increased demand for food and supplies (The Thunder Mesa Mercantile Building). The town prospered.
The miners and merchants settled on the Eastern part of town and relaxed at The Lucky Nugget Saloon (founded in 1858 by Miss Diamond Lill). Situated at the west side end of Thunder Mesa, close to the Ravenswood Manor, The Silver Spur Steakhouse was the most expensive restaurant in Thunder Mesa. It served upscale meals for the high society.
When the Disneyland Park opened its gates in 1992, the restaurant contained some real masterpieces by Edward Borein, Charles Russel and Albert Bierstadt that had been lent by an American collector. Unfortunately they were replaced by copies in 1994, as grease was penetrating through the glass showcases, a process which over time could have damaged the priceless originals.
The outlaws and desperados met each other at the Last Chance Café. While the Lucky Nugget Saloon and the Silver Spur Restaurant are a homage to gold and silver, the Last Chance Café offers a reference to the third seminal metal of the West through its counter made of hammered copper.
Big Thunder Mountain is protected by the Indian Thunder Bird God. When someone tries to rob the richness of the mountain, the God flaps its wings which draws lightning and shakes the earth. In 1860, the Thunder Mesa Mining Company was struck by the wrath of the Thunder Bird God. Henry Ravenswood and his wife lost their lives during the horrible earthquake. Due to security reasons, the gold mine closed and the mining company ceased its activities.
When the gold rush lost its edge, Thunder Mesa started to settle down. Miners and fortune seekers left town. Community life became important and agriculture was once more the most important economic activity (Cottonwood Creek Ranch, named after a tree species native to North America, Europe and Western Asia).
On special occasions the folks from Thunder Mesa would all come together for a party. Everyone would meet in the large barn bringing with them some tables and chairs from their own home (Cowboy Cookout Barbecue Restaurant). Once here they would spend the day enjoy tasty BBQ ribs, chicken and spicy chili.