Friday, May 7, 2010

The Boys Are Back In Town

Heading into Ghost Town the other day I was pleasantly surprised to see Handsome Brady & Whiskey Bill sitting in their rightful place on the side of the Gold Trails Hotel. The last time I saw these two was over a year ago when they sat on a bench near the exit of the Calico Railway Station.

They appear to be well rested and freshly touched up for a hopefully extended stay this time around! Too bad these two weren't out for Chris Merrit's book signing. This is "the" classic Knott's photo and it is wonderful to have an opportunity to capture it again. Anyone who doesn't have a photo with Handsome Brady & Whiskey Bill needs to get over to the farm and make that happen.

The plaque behind the bench is the one that used to be mounted in stone next to the Old Berry Stand when it sat beside the Candy Parlour.

Heading into Calico square I came accross these ladies sitting in front of the Calico Saloon. At first I hoped it was Marilyn and Cecilia but upon closer inspection it was most definitely not.

These two were quite popular (due to their prime location), I had to make a couple of passes by the area before they were available for a solo photo shoot.

Does anyone know the origins of these two? Were they made by Claude Bell? Are they flappers from the Roaring 20's? Anyone, anyone?

It's good to see some of the manequins on the streets of Ghost Town again. It helps to add a little of that old Knott's flavor to the proceedings and they seemed to be a hit with the general public as well. This is a step in the right direction and I hope that the efforts to revitalize Ghost Town continue.

Well that's all for today,

Take Care and Thanks for Readin'

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Knott's 60th Anniversary

Today's post is from a 20 page insert that was printed in the Los Angeles Times on July 27, 1980. Knott's was celebrating their 60th Anniversary that year which means that this year can be considered the 90th!
The cover shows the Stage Coach on it's trail lined with eucalyptus trees. I sure do miss those trees. The Corkscrew looks a bit out of scale in this photo. Is that the Roaring 20's back there or the Land of the Giants?
Here is a happy birthday from the mouse himself. Love the literary reference!

Just a couple of images for today, I will be posting more from this issue in the near future. There is plenty of good stuff inside including an article on Bud Hurlbut, a behind the scenes article on the performers of Ghost Town, and the announcement of the coming new attraction "Wacky Soapbox Racers"..

Take care and Thanks for readin'


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Then & Now (Part 2)

Today's post features more Then & Now postcard comparisons.

First off is the Old Mill Stream seen here with running water from the early days of the farm.

And here is the same scene today. Hard to believe that this scene is only a generation away from being a century old. I wonder if it will make it to that milepost.

Here is an early postcard showing the Adobe Walls on Market Street

And here are those same Adobe Walls today

The wonderful Dreger Clock in it's old home in Cordelia's rose garden.

This same area today, sans clock. Fortunately the clock was rescued and can be seen once more just up Beach street from Knott's at the "Plaza Buena"

Gold Trails Hotel from the 1940's.

Gold Trails Hotel today. This completely rebulit building used to house the Covered Wagon Show diorama. After it's rebuild it became a dress shop. I say bring back the Covered Wagon Show and put the dresses in the general store.

Goldie's joint as seen from the Blacksmith's shop in the 1950's.

My attempt to get the same angle a couple of weeks ago. I believe that the shot above was taken from inside the Blacksmith's Shop through a doorway that is now closed.
"Gold Dust Goldie's Hotel" postcard from the 40's

Goldie's as she looks today. This building is a classic, who doesn't have memories of that leg kicking out the window as you went back to see Sad Eyed Joe. Now that I am older and understand what kind of a "Place" Goldie is runnin' I appreciate it even more.

The Gold Mine at the entrance to Ghost Town from the late 40's-ealry 50's

The same area today, pretty much unrecognizable excpet for the entrance to the Steak House.
Well that's gonna do it for today. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Farm tomorrow for Chris Merritt's Knott's Preserved event. Take care and Thanks for Readin'

Monday, March 29, 2010

Now & Then

For today's post here are some then and now postcard shots that I took at the farm a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!
The Chicken Dinner Restaurant today
The Chicken Dinner Restaurant in the 40's or early 50's

The spot where the Miner Statue once stood at the entrance to Ghost Town as it is today

And here is the Miner Statue that once stood at the entrance to Ghost Town in the early 60's

Here is the front of the General Store as it looks today.

And here is a General Store back in its heyday!

Here is the backside of the General Store & The Post Office peek-in as it appears today.

Here are the same buildings 60-70 years ago.

And finally the Calico Mine Train as seen from Calico Square today......

....and the Mine Train when it was new viewed from a spot slighty to the left (which is now blocked by a safety gate to protect you from yourself, I promise the train stays on the tracks)
While I imagine that anyone who reads this blog is well aware of it but, I still want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the upcoming Book Signing and Knott's History event that is taking place Saturday April 18th at the farm for the release of Chris Merritt's upcoming book "Knott's Preserved". I certainly plan to attend (though I still have not received my confirmation) and suggest you do to as this is certain to be a fun and informative time.
For more info here are links to both the "Knott's Preserved Blog" and the official Knott's website.

Well that is gonna do it for today. I have a few more of these Then & Now shots to post if anyone is interested.

Take Care and Thanks for Readin'

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I miss the Volcano

Today's post features the Volcano that used to be on the backside of the Gold Mine neslted in the back of the Marketplace. This was one of my favorite things to see at Knott's and it was on the free side of the fence so I was able to see it quite regularly. This is also one of my favorite postcards in my collection. The only thing missing in this picture is the little devil winding his crank that ultimatley lead to the volcanic eruption. He is just off to the right of this view. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of him but you can see him at this link from the OC Archives collection on Flikr.

Here is the Volcano in it's original location next to the dining room of the Chicken Dinner restaraunt. The Volcano was originally conceived to cover an unsightly stand pipe from the farm's irrigation system.

Here is an enhanced color post card showing the volcano in it's second and final location behind the Gold Mine. The background has been cropped and replaced with a solid dark blue which I assume is meant to resemble a night sky. I always got a kick out of the look on that cowboy's face. He seemed just as perplexed as I was as to what a Volcano was doing there in the middle of the old west.

And finally here is a picture of the volcano from an old farm guide book that shows the volcano from a different angle. I am not sure if this is in the first or second location. I kind of think that this might be the backside of the volcano before the wall of the gold mine was built behind it. I don't know for sure and would love to hear from anyone that does.
Sadly the volcano is one of the many casualties of progress at the farm. It was removed along with the Gold Mine in the mid 90's to make room for the construction of the Ghost Rider.
Now that the Ghost rider has been built the area that used to be home to the volcano is a big empty concrete circle. I wish they would have put this back after completing the queue for the Ghost Rider. This was a classic Knott's attraction and I miss it very much.
Well that's all for today. Take care and Thanks for readin'

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kodachrome Prints of Ghost Town

Today's post features a little booklet of Kodachrome prints that looks to be from the early 60's or possibly late 50's, not sure. Measuring approx 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" these little pictures are the perfect size for a blog post. The cover has a die cut oval in the center that reveals part of the first page beneath it. There are brief narratives on the back of each picture that describe the photos from a visitor's perspective. so without further adieu, here it is in it's entirety.

"Much to our surprise, we found a real Post Office in Ghost Town."

"Each early California minig town had its General Merchandise store. Ghost Town is no exception. Here we found everything from horse liniment to peppermint stick candy. Even today, there were old-timers playing a game of checkers on the cracker barrel."

"Probably the most unusual thing we did while visiting Knott's Berry Farm was to take a ride on the Stage Coach. This old coach at one time saw service on the Butterfield Stage Line. It was really a thrill to get up on this old coach and ride around the farm."

"Visting this old school took me back many a year. It reminded me of the days long ago when I first attended school. You know the first school I went to looked something like this one."

"Here is a trip you would like. You board the train in Calico Square and are whicked out across Ghost Town Boot Hill Diggin's. They say there is a surprise in store for the passengers on each trip around the farm. I am sure this is so, because before we arrived back in Ghost Town, we were held up by train robbers. Wish you had been here."

"We ventured down a tunnel and eventually came out down in canyon. Here an old-timer showed us how to pan for real gold. This was quite an experience. I slushed the pan back and forth for about three minutes until all the gravel was out of the pan. Much to my surprise, in the bottom of the pan, there were distinct traces of gold. The old-timer placed the gold in a little bottle and I am bringing it home for proof."

"This Chapel is one of the most beautiful settings I have ever seen, so peaceful and serene."

"Picking those luscious boysenberries."

"Out in the parking lot, we found that there were acres and acres of shade trees. It was such a relief to drive our car in under one of the big trees and just rest for a while. Will be seeing you soon."

And here is the back cover. Apparently you were supposed to mail this little book like you would a post card. I guess the post office used to be more gentle with the mail because something like this would not make it through undamaged today. Well I hope that you enjoyed this little book and the brief tour of Knott's a half century ago.
That's all for today. Take Care and Thanks for Readin'

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Buena Park Aerial Postcards

Today's post features a mid 90's aerial view of the farm looking Southwest from Beach & La Palma. It looks like the Jaguar Roller Coaster that took the place of large portion of Fiesta Village is still under construction. Still this card shows a farm that still had a Candy Parlour, Reflection Lake, Mystery Shack, Gold Mine, Volcano, Church, Little Chapel, & Boothill & Wagon Camp without Roller Coaster tracks running through them.

And finally here is another shot from a few years earlier looking north. This was before the Boardwalk makeover removed the roaring 20's airfield theme from the area behind the Log Ride & Mine Train.

Well that's it for today.

Take Care and Thnaks for Readin'