Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Four From Knott's, September 1969

I've been digging through my box of Knott's Berry Farm slides (yes, only one smallish box of 'em) to see if I've missed anything good. There is one group from 1969 - you've seen some of them before (here and here) - that I decided to scan. You'll see lots of buildings and other features that I had previously deemed "too boring". But since then, I have grown to appreciate the Ghost Town, especially considering how much of it has changed or been lost entirely.

Here's the Fire Department, and for some reason I do have memories of this particular building from my childhood. Mostly of those wrought iron gates! The red box mounted to the left front of the building looks like a modern fire alarm (?); now that I think about it, has there ever been a fire that has gone through Ghost Town? The whole place looks like it would burn in a matter of minutes.


Not many people know that Santa Claus once tried his hand at being a prospector. Obviously he had an eye for the ladies! Some of you may remember the redhead. Anyway, everybody is having a swell time. The ladies hold various vintage Knott's flyers, can you recognize any of them?


This little shack appears to be down in the "pit" where you could pan for gold. I don't know if it had any function except perhaps for storage.


Boot Hill is a place that we always ran to, mostly to feel the heart still beating beneath the grave of one unfortunate resident. Such a cool idea, simple and evocative. Behind them is a brook (from a spring that gushes from the rocks), and beside that rests an Indian family. Walter Knott certainly seems to have had respect for native Americans, showing them as people instead of bloodthirsty killers. Ahead of his time, in more ways than one!

13 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you for more Knott's pics, Major! I believe those gates of the firehouse are still there but unfortunately, they tore down most of the firehouse in 1985 and only left a few feet of it standing to give it the appearance of "ruins". I complain about Cedar Fair, but I forget that the Knott Family was destroying their own park's history even before they sold it to Cedar Fair.

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. Great shot of the indians on the hill BEFORE the John Wayne/Goodtime/Charles Shultz Theater was built (with it's Grand Canyon painting on the back wall facing Boot Hill.)

Katella Gate said...

Thanks for posting these "Old Tyme" photos of Knotts. For whatever the park lacked in Disney-style sophistication, it made up for in its picturesque settings.

Chris Jepsen said...

I believe the guy with the beard is "Tumbleweed" Harris.

Personally, I think the adobe ruins of the fire station add a nice touch to the entrance of Ghost Town. As buildings have been added or rebuilt to the area over the years, the builders have often forgotten that it's supposed to look like a ghost town -- not a thriving Old West village at its prime.

outsidetheberm said...

Well said, Chris.

The 'little shack' down by the mine was a nice peek-in. One could hear the miner inside reading 'The Wreck of the Hesperus'. The audio is around here someplace - will try to locate.

And yes, Ghost Town did have a nasty fire in the patio of the grill many years back. It could have been catastrophic, but was contained to the one structure. Will try to find those photos for you, as well.

Great post! Thanks.

Spoof Safari said...

These are nifty pictures, Major, especially the Boot Hill; haven't been to Knott's in many years, but I can hear those owls and ravens and the gallows humor of the undertaker's eulogy coming from the hearse, with that tinny "Funeral March" playing ...

The shack in the Pan-for-Gold area was one of the many endearing "peek-ins"; inside a miner read Longfellow's poem "The Wreck of the Hesperus" in resonant, theatrical tones; there is a line to make a 10 year old boy snicker (and I did): "And her bosom white as the hawthorn bud"; now I am a sober, august, nostalgic adult ...

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks for the additional info, folks! I probably looked in that "peek-in" when I was a kid, but totally forgot about it.

Heh heh, "bosom"...

Chris, thanks for the name of the prospector too!

Nancy said...

by crackie, he sure has a pair of lovelys there!!


we had a Boot Hill here at our West View Park. it was a walk-thru haunted house.

in fact, we had three spooky houses in that one little park...BH, The Haunted House, which was so cool because you went up to the second floor and then out onto the porch and could wave to your friends, and a dark ride-thru called Davy Jones' Locker

sadly it closed in 1977 and most of it was destroyed by arson :**(

all of my school picnic memories came from that little park

thanks for sharing these, which i have a feeling was much like West View (and our other park, Kennywood) back in the day

Bob said...

Very nice pictures, indeed. I have never seen a shot of the intact firehouse before!

-Bob
www.bear-ytales.net

Chiana_Chat said...

Those are good pics, nicely framed and all. Especially the shack. :)

Dad.. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dad.. said...

During my cowboys and indians phase as a kid, I liked Knott's Berry Farm way better than Disney!

Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

Great pics!
btw ... the Longfellow poem "The Wreck of the Hesperus" is heard in the Barrel House which is between Boot Hill and the current location of Pan for Gold