Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Today, Let’s Talk Mott’s, Mott’s Miniatures that is. Formerly housed in Jeffries Barn at Knott’s Berry Farm the Mott’s Miniatures collection/exhibit was a truly extraordinary experience. The exhibit consisted largely of dollhouse size displays themed around the history of American commerce and home life. These displays featured exquisite miniatures many of them antique and many of them made by the various members of the Mott family. Today’s post features a display from Santa’s kitchen, the photos and accompanying text are from a 1998 auction catalog.

“The preferred status of Christmas among all other holidays for the Mott family is patently evident in the intricately detailed Mrs. Santa’s Kitchen. Their extensive collection of Christmas miniatures originated with Allegra’s mother, who had earnestly collected Christmas ornaments throughout the years. Considering the fact that this piece was made during the years of 1975 and 1976, one can appreciate the time and effort spent collecting the fine Christmas treasures that comprise this marvelous exhibit. Represented here is a true combination of the old and the new. The kitchen that opens up through a beautiful stained glass door contains many antique pieces, including real enamelware plates, dishes, utensils, furnishings and the arcade doll house ice box which is made of iron. Also included here is an unbelievably small toy train set that really works, as well as a holly decorated porcelain clock, also fully functional. The apparently red brick oven, full of Christmas treats, was hand carved by Barbara Mott and is actually made of solid pine. It was made to look like brick by a method of using four coats of paint of different colors with the addition of sawdust and talcum powder to the last coat, adding the texturized look. Barbara also designed the miniature houses on the shelves above, as well as the cookies and dough. Santa’s busy elves were hand sculpted and made by Cynthia Baron. The mistletoe and Christmas wreath were created by the Mott’s great grandmother from shells and seed pearls. Wax miniaturist, Helen Cook, made most of the candies, while the tiny strings of tree lights were fashioned by Mr. Wilson.”

That’s all for today, Thanks for Readin’

Have a Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toy Shop

Today we are heading over to the Ghost Town Toy Shop Peek-In, but first I need to give an update to my previous post. It looks like Ghost town has dodged another bullet as plans to move Demon Drop in Behind Boothill have been cancelled. Great news and a wise decision on the part of Cedar Fair.

Now that we have that out of the way let's head over to the Toy Shop in Ghost Town. The Toy Shop is a small peekin between the current Gun Shop and the Boothill Undertaker over in the back corner of Ghost Town near the BirdCage Theatre. Nothing really special about it but it is of course a welcome part of the peek-in family plus it made for a quick post.

Here is a peek inside. This mannequin looks more J.C. Penny than Claude Bell.
That's all for today. Take Care and Thanks for Readin'

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Charleston Square

I am not sure if it is still considered Charleston Square or not but today’s post features the area that leads from ghost town into what was the old Roaring 20’s section.

After learning of Cedar Fair’s plan to relocate an existing freefall ride to the former spot of the haunted shack (see for more info on that) I decided to get some photographs of this area as I suspect it will be in danger once the Bulldozer is fired up.

A closer look at the fountain

The old Roaring 20's sign on the roof of the former Knott's Beary Tales Building.

Looking back toward Calico Square

The Screamin Swing on the former site of the Hanunted Shack

To the right of the Screamin Swing is this fire station mural. It is actaully the stage door for the Good Time Theatre.

I believe this firetruck used to be parked on the side of the Haunted Shack where the fire station mural is now. It now operates shamefully as the 10 buck firetruck.

The ride that is coming to Knott's is called “Demon Drop” and is identical to a ride that was at Magic Mountain for 20+ years called “Freefall”. It is a tower drop ride that takes you up 10 stories and drops you down a track that curves at the bottom extending out several hundred feet from the tower to allow the ride vehicle to come to stop.

I do not know for certain that this area and most notably the beautiful fountain that is the centerpiece are in danger but by judging from the aerial photo below it seems that either this area or the area between Calico Square and the Mine Train will soon have the runway ramp from the newly installed “Demon Drop” running through it.

Not only will the tower be yet another steel eyesore on the skyline of ghost town but the shear size of it will certainly affect the sense of scale in that area making it seem even smaller and more a part of the outside world than it already does now. Add to that the fact that the runway ramp on this thing is going to have to go somewhere (either Calico Square or Charleston Square) and it seems destined to do some damage.

As a final note I noticed that the horse drawn hearses that used to sit across from the current location of Roy Bean’s Saloon have gone missing. I noticed this right before haunt started but did not get a picture until now.

Here is a shot of the Hearse’s before their removal. The larger hearse had an animatronic “stiff” that would raise it’s head periodically in an attempt to startle onlookers expecting the passenger to be “dead”. Just one of the good old fashioned Knott’s Berry Farm tricks that reminded me of the old days. Hopefully they are being refurbished, but I somehow doubt it.

These horse drawn hearses had been at the farm as long as I can remember. The smaller white one was for a child (kind of morbid, but classic)

I hoped that they were going to be given a more prominent location for the haunt but after looking around for a couple of months I have not been able to locate them.

That's all for today! Thanks for Readin'

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Today's post features this wonderful Paul Von Klieben painting of the Hangman's Tree from an eraly postcard. The back of the postcard reads:
"Spooky Isn't It?"

"We don't intend to frighten you with this card. It is merely a strange leaf out of California's history during the Gold Rush of '49, as portrayed in the famous Ghost Town here at Beautiful Knott's Berry Place. If you look at this card in a certain way, then perhpas you will see.................

The ghost of this here Ghost Town

If you turn the card upside down and look between the fork in the tree trunk you will see the image of the ghost. A neat little trick that makes for a neat Halloween treat.

That's all for now.

Take care and thanks for readin'

Monday, September 21, 2009

Today's post features a postcard that I won recently on E-bay. It is a Buena Park post card that features our favorite farm but from an interesting angle focusing more on the Independence Hall side of the street with the farm itself in the background. This must be sometime in the early 90's, Boomerang is visible which means that the Corkscrew is already gone. Ghost Rider has yet to stomp it's foot down in the marketplace and it doesn't look like Jagaur has invaded Fiesta Village yet.

Zooming in we can see the clearing where Jungle Island used to be across the lagoon behind Indepence Hall.

I was surprised to see this barn in the photo. I am pretty sure this was the building for Henry's Auto Livery. I am also pretty sure that it is no longer there.

Thanks for Readin'

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Farm Report Aug 29th, 2009

It was a capacity crowd for Jay Jennings’ book signing this past Saturday. I had the pleasure of meeting him and having him sign my book. It was an excellent turn-out and apparently all of the books sold out. Good to see that there is a strong market for the good ole’ days of Knott’s Berry Farm. Hopefully Cedar Fair took note. See Jay’s website for a recap of the event.

Since I was at the farm I ventured into Ghost Town for a few pictures. I thought that Ghost Town was looking pretty good. There have been some more details added/replaced in the peek-ins since my last visit. Other repairs and details added around town showed what I interpreted as a sincere effort to keep things in good shape. Granted much of it is probably in anticipation of the coming Halloween Haunt, as the photos below will show, but it is still nice to see things looking good.

This guy is hanging around waiting for October to come.

One of the details that has been replaced/added in Ghost Town. is this reproduction of the Hangman's Tree sign. I haven't done a side by side comparison but I think it looks pretty true to the original.

Despite the recession Hop Wing Lee seems to be doing well. The laundry hangin above his store being evidence. There was no laundry hanging as of my last visit so this was another added detail that I noted.

It looks like they have put the original Silver Dollar sign back on the Saloon, oops I mean Shootin Gallery : (

This sign now hangs above the Silver Dollar. They are trying.....right?

The little house was all closed up this time.

Off in the corner is the Boothill undertaker. I love the Pepper's Ghost effect inside (when it is working).

Last stop for today the Birdcage Theatre. Note the ghost on the roof holding a birdcage.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hello Again!

It has been a crazy summer! I intend on resuming a somewhat regular posting schedule very soon. Now that I have a scanner I can dig into my post card collection for Blog topics! Yay! For today we'll start with this wonderful Paul Von Klieben post card of main street.

I am heading out to the farm Saturday for Jay Jennings book signing. I am looking very forward to it and hope to meet some fellow Knott's enthusiasts! Here is a link to Jay's site with info about the book and the signing.

That's all for now. Will post again soon!

Take care and Thanks for Readin'

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farm Report - Father's Day 2009

I went out to the farm for father’s day last weekend and decided that an updated post was in order. They have restored some more details on the peek-ins since my last visit. The Barber shop now has a pole and lettering on the window and more artifacts have been returned to the interior of the Silver Dollar Saloon (Oops! I mean shooting gallery).

Due to the graciousness of the lady working in the little weaver’s cottage I was able to get some interior shots of the little house featured in my last post. They are not the best photos but I felt they were worth posting.
A blurry shot looking in the door from the front porch

The kitchen sink

The Old Stove

It appears that this little end of the house is actually the kitchen which leads me to believe that the gun shop behind it is also part of the original house. After I have all of my facts and photos assembled I will make a full post on this charming little building which is currently my favorite
little corner of ghost town.
The Maintenance door to the Log Ride. I thought it looked photogenic that day.

Calico Mine Co. Engine #4

And finally what I think is a pretty neat picture of the Cavern Room of the Mine Train. It is so hard to get photos inside this ride that I was quite happy to get this one.
Well that's all for now, Take care and Thanks for Readin'

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Little Old House

I’d like to share a discovery I made while researching Knott’s history. There is a little old house in a back corner of Ghost Town (Behind Goldie’s place and across from the Birdcage Theatre) that I believe is the Candle Maker's Shop referenced in the following excerpt from the “Ghost Town History & Reference”

When we moved here in 1920, this was an old house on a neighboring farm. We don’t know when it was built. We added an additional room onto the weaver’s side in 1955. Mr. and Mrs. Knott went to their first party in this old house after settling here.”

1950's map showing location of what was then "The Candle Maker's Cottage". The Weaver's Cottage is now the gun store. The little old house sits quietly beside it.

Chances are that the house was not new even back in 1920 when the Knott’s first settled in Buena Park which means that it is probably well past the century old mark. This little building fascinates me as it is not only a piece of old west history, but also a piece of Walter & Cordelia’s personal history as well.

The little house is easily overlooked as it is tucked back behind some of the more popular ghost town attractions. The history behind it is even less obvious. I have found that it is often closed but there have been a couple of times when the front door was open and I even saw a lady sitting on the front porch last summer making lace. Unfortunately I have not yet had the opportunity to get interior photos. I am not sure if the general public is allowed inside this structure but I am going to do my best to get some pics of the inside as soon as I possibly can.

If anyone knows anything else about this little house I’d love to learn more about it.

That’s all for today!

Take care, and Thanks for Readin’

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

“Hello Main Street”

This is a follow up post to “Goodbye Main street”. The construction walls on Main Street have come down and the peek-ins are back up and to be honest they look pretty darn good. This was much more than I was expecting. The peekins look fresh and inviting and I noticed they were drawing quite a lot of attention on Saturday when I was out at the farm. has posted a full update on the return of the peek-ins that includes a short video that is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.

"Assay Office"

First off the Assay Office looks great. They put the original figures back in and used many of the original set pieces. They have restored the animation and now the Assayer’s scale rocks back forth as he assesses the ore samples. It is good to see the awning back on the front of this building. It is also nice to be able to see in the side window now since they relocated the sign painter that was butted up against that side wall. For some reason this building looks to be a little wider or shorter than it was previously, perhaps the awning skews the proportions. Still overall this building looks fantastic.

"Hop Wing Lee’s Laundry"

Another stellar job. Hop Wing Lee looks rested and refreshed. He is back at work and thanks to the restored animation is actually pressing clothes again. Nice to see the Laundry hanging on the line above. I am so happy that they put the original door back in. Who doesn’t remember peeking through that little round hole when they were little?

"Barber Shop"

The Barber Shop looks pretty good but it appears that either time or money ran short as there are some important details missing. First off there is no lettering on the windows. Also the barber’s pole is no longer on the outside of the building. Lastly the wanted poster inside could have been done better, it needs to look like the guy in the chair or the humor is lost. Actually maybe the guy in the chair is to blame, either way they need to match. Still the overall appearance is an improvement. Maybe they just haven’t had a chance to finish the details. Let’s hope!

"Silver Dollar Saloon"

I don't think anyone expected the Saloon to return to it’s former role and unfortunately the results live up to the expectations. This is the only let down in the whole bunch. The ugly green target board has returned, the raccoon on a stump has also returned to add an air of realism to the proceedings. The exterior lines of the saloon we’re retained but it is now an unfinished shell for the shooting gallery. The decorative steel grille is all that is left from the old Saloon. I am also hoping that they are not done with the details here as well but I fear that they are.

Deadwood Dick’s grave

D.D.’s grave is still there but the grave markers have been redone. Unfortunately they, like some of the grave markers in Boothill, do not look very authentic. I forget where but I read that back when Ghost Town was originally built they made the signs look weathered by painting the letters on and then sandblasting the wood to give it that aged look. The painted letters would stay raised up while the wood on the background was worn down. I wish that they would give that a try these days.

Overall I think that Cedar Fair has done a very good job rebuilding this part of Main Street. I hope that as much care goes into the next part of ghost town that gets "refurbished".

That's all for now. Take care and Thanks for Readin'