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'