Fort Apache – Supply, North Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Fort Apache

Supply, North Carolina

This handcrafted, old western-style town is filled with deserted cars, retired movie props, and other forms of Americana.  

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“Now you’re gonna think I’m crazy,” is the oft-repeated phrase from Fort Apache creator Dale Varnam about his eclectic collection. Upon pulling into this fantastic site, visitors are greeted by busses filled with “zombies,” about a dozen toilets, out of commission cars stuffed with mannequins, and a hefty load of other curiosities scattered about.

Beyond the front gates is where the true magic unfolds. Long tunnels created from tarps lead to a massive warehouse of retired movie props, including cars from The Godfather and The Green Mile. Varnam himself is filled with stories that are both abundant and priceless.

The film warehouse opens into what feels like a lost wasteland. Visitors will find abandoned classic cars, police vehicles, and ambulances. Huge movie backdrops sit silently rolled up around the property. However, the créme de la créme at Fort Apache is “The Town.”

“The Town” is a handmade series of storefronts that appear as if snatched from the old west. Many of the stores are entirely accessible and serve as bizarre museums on their own. Also found around this old western cutout is a chapel, moonshine parlor, a law office, theater, and a liquor store just to name a few. 

It’s worth noting that nothing is for sale at Fort Apache; Varnam’s wacky wonderland is simply a labor of love. The site was originally a junkyard and scrap metal repository created by his father in 1957. After living a bit of a lawless life and serving a short stint in prison, Varnam began creating this paradise of Americana. He does not charge admission and is happy to welcome visitors to share stories about the history of his belongings. Allocate yourself a generous chunk of time to spend at this wonderous attraction.

Know Before You Go

Fort Apache is easily seen on the side of Stone Chimney Road in Supply. The part immediately accessible to visitors is a spectacle unto itself, through the real wonders lie behind the wooden fence. Dale Varnam, the artist, lives on the premise, so please tread respectfully in the areas you have access to. Varnam is extremely warm, and if he sees you poking around the front, he will likely happily offer you a tour beyond the fence.

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