Monday, March 2, 2009

Old Miner Statue

Well the official word is that the peek-ins will be back. Let’s hope that they stay true to their original form. They are rumored to be back this month so I will try to make it out to the farm for updates on the progress. In the meantime we will resume our regularly scheduled programming.
Today’s post features the miner statue that used to be atop the fountain over by the goldmine at the entrance to ghost town. Following an internet tip I headed out to Cabazon California off of Interstate 10 on the way to Palm Springs. The statue stands in front of the Wheel Inn Café which can be found directly in front of Claude Bell's dinosaurs.

“The Cabazon dinosaurs were started in the 1960s by Knott's Berry Farm sculptor and portrait artist Claude K. Bell (1897-1988) to attract customers to his Wheel Inn Cafe which opened in 1958.”
-excerpt from Wikipedia-

Although I cannot confirm that this is the exact statue that used to reside at the farm I can say that if it is not the original it is an exact replica as can be seen in the photos below. The only difference I see is the paint color. Can anyone can confirm its authenticity? Does anyone know how long it has been there? I am pretty sure that I still saw it at the farm back in the mid 90’s. Perhaps there was more than one. It’s topics like these that inspired me to start this blog. I look forward to learning and sharing more.

Take care and Thanks for readin’

Miner Statue in front of the Wheel Inn Cafe in Cabazon

Again from a different angle

What I believe is the same statue at it's original home at Knott's Berry Farm (photo is from I believe)

And for fun a shot of one of Claude Bell's Dinosaurs.


Chris Merritt said...

Claude Bell made several different versions of the miner (at several different sizes) - so my thought has always been that this one isn't the one that used to be at Knott's...

Jackie Perez said...

it is my first time reading your blog! :D
I had no idea that the Knotts sculptures had history. I just saw then as another piece of the park and nothing else.
Thanks for sharing that with us!


Let's Talk Knott's said...

Thanks Chris! I wasn’t completely convinced that it was the same one. It sure looks the same and it is also the right size. There is a similar miner statue at Calico Ghost Town but it is much bigger than this one. I guess the Calico statue was made by Mr. Bell as well. I am looking very forward to reading your book when it comes out.

Let's Talk Knott's said...

Welcome Jackie! There is a wealth of history at Knott’s. Each year there is less and less of it though, so I started this blog as a way to learn and share more about it before it is all gone. If you haven’t already heard of them I encourage you to check out the following blogs that have fantastic Knott’s information from time to time.
Outside the Berm has really gone the extra mile on Knott’s stuff lately.

TokyoMagic! said...

The fountain with the miner was definitely gone by the 90's. I started working there in early 1982 and it was already gone by then. I want to say that they removed that fountain when they moved and enlarged the entrance to the park in the late 70's...but I can't be sure.

Was the miner out at the corner of Beach and La Palma the same size and pose as the one on the fountain? That one was supposedly blown up by vandals and was missing for a quite some time, but it was later replaced with the metal version that's there IS still there today, isn't it?

outsidetheberm said...

There is another larger version that we know of in the San Bernardino mountains.

Steve Michener said...

I can confirm that the statue at the cafe is not the original from Knotts. I don't know what happened to the miner, but the original Donkey is in the front yard of a home in Canyon Lake that my wife and I bought from Bud Hurlbut. Bud is owner of Hurlbut Amusement and was an original partner in Knotts. Bud is now in his 90s and still active in his company. He is a treasure to speak. He has many stories that include names like Disney, Agnew, Warner Bros, etc. He is an amazing man...a walking history book.

We would like to reunite our donkey with the original miner (if it still exists) so would appreciate feedback or leads from anyone who knows anything. Thanks!

lazy j said...

i grew up down the street from knotts, that statue was part of the local scenery right there on the corner of beach and la palma, i seem to remember it being at the edge of the parking lot where camp snoopy is now .. .. BUT one day we went by and .. uh oh .. all that was left of the prospector was his boots. i swear i'm not making this up , it was in the early 80s or so , it appeard that someone had cut the statue down and stole it .. we always commented after that how the new one didnt look the same at all, he was scrawnier..
i love knotts i'm glad i found your blog,i live in san diego now and can only vist once or twice a year,i find many of the things cedar fair has done to my home park deplorable, like the demolishing of the haunted shack. , and at the same time commend them for things like restoring the peek ins, and keeping the mine train in wonderful shape. i can remember playing in the gypsy camp wagons when they were in a backyrd of a home based antique store down beach blog i get sentimental about old knotts
.. .

Anonymous said...

The miner is Seldom Seen Slim (aka Charles Ferge). He was a miner and recluse out in Death Valley, Walter Knott new him and visited him as did my Grandparents. My Mom remembers my Grandpa taking him food and supplies when they would go camping out there when she was a kid. If you look for photos of him on the web you'll see the resemblance.

Wendy Bell said...

I love reading all the comments on the statue of Seldom Seen Slim that my Father Claude K. Bell sculpted for Mr. Knott. Actually he made three statues, one was placed on the corner of Beach & LaPalma and the second one was on the corner of LaPalma and Western. The third statue, the one in the picture that is in front of the Wheel Inn in Cabazon, CA, was from the fountain outside my Father's Studio "Portrait's 'n Pastel" that he ran for over 40 years. When they took it down my Father brought it out to Cabazon where he built the dinosaurs and placed it there. Sorry, but Bud Hurlbut did not have it ever! LOL

ford said...

i remember when they put the miner and mule up at the wheel in they both came from knotts berry farm whatever is in your yard is a inposter sorry i knew the daughters of the man that built the wheel good people but now there is only a concrete slab where the miner and mule stood for three and a half decades

Anonymous said...

My sister's late father-in-law, Edmund McKnight, worked at Knotts and as I was informed, posed for the original miner's statue on La Palma and Beach. He lived across from me in Buena Park at the time and we were close friends. Could you verify that he did pose for the statue? My son brought up the subject and I told him I would try and find out if it was true. I don't have any reason to doubt it; but you never know. Thank you for any information you can give me.