According to the folklore of local Indian tribes, Thunder Mesa was the roost of the legendary Thunderbird, who guarded the gold within Big Thunder Mountain from any who dared take it, creating earthquakes with flaps from its powerful wings.Settlers arrived in the area of Big Thunder Mountain. Searching the land for precious minerals and other riches, their search would soon prove successful. A rich vein of gold was discovered in the red rocks of Big Thunder Mountain and as soon as word got out, more and more settlers streamed into the area, transforming the serene wilderness into a lively and steadily-growing gold-rush town. The founder, Henry Ravenswood, named the town Thunder Mesa.
For his own family, the increasingly-wealthy Mr. Ravenswood began construction on a grand mansion on a hill overlooking the sprawling town. Apart from the four-story manor-house painted in white with a red gable roof, the estate encompassed vast gardens decorated with marble statues as well as the family cemetery on the banks of the river.
Its owner’s dearest pride and joy, however, was his beautiful young daughter Melanie. She grew up protected, free to pass her time in the expansive manor gardens under Henry’s watchful eye. However, as she grew older, things began to take a turn. Henry was incredibly overprotective of his daughter, distrustful of any man trying to court her and he had hoped to keep her in town. Additionally, townspeople were undermining his authority and taking gold nuggets from the mine without him knowing. In 1860, shortly before Melanie was to wed a train engineer named Jake Evans, an earthquake struck Thunder Mesa, killing Henry and dropping half of the town into what is now known as Phantom Canyon. Melanie's groom however would be killed shortly before the wedding by a mysterious Phantom, said to be Henry's restless spirit. Melanie began endlessly searching for him, never to be seen again, with Ravenswood Manor becoming known by the locals as Phantom Manor.
With the loss of the Ravenswoods and Big Thunder's gold, Thunder Mesa settled into a quieter river town.
- Rainbow Ridge, setting of Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain.