Friday, January 28, 2011

Stagecoach & Gold Panning at Knott's

Here are two photos from Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1975. This first one features the Stagecoach, with a full load of passengers. Look at all the trees; the Lorax was really doing a good job back then. I doubt a single one of these trees remain. You can still ride the stage at Knott's, although the city has encroached upon the park so that you don't see much these days. I wonder how different it was 30 or 40 years ago?

No trip to Knott's was complete without panning for gen-u-ine gold dust. The employee may look like a greenhorn, but he knows how to get every speck of gold from that dirt. He learned all of the secrets from grizzled prospectors, by cracky!


TokyoMagic! said...

What a great photo! You are correct Major, none of those trees exist today. We can just barely see the Church of Reflections on the far left through the trees....the steeple is also barely visible through the treetops.

The arbor on the far right had Wisteria growing on it and was located just on the other side of that Fiesta Village archway that you posted a photo of on New Year's Day.

Connie Moreno said...

Missing trees - that bugs me. I loved riding the stagecoach back in the 60s and 70s.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Wow - at first glance these appear to be decades older than they are.

Images of the Lorax have invaded my mind, its actually a good thing. Nice post, thanks!

Katella Gate said...

You know I never did Panning for Gold in KBF. How did they work it? You sifted till you got a nugget? 15 minutes and you got to keep whatever you found?

That last picture is particularly good for a shot taken so casually.

Major Pepperidge said...

Katella, here's how I remember it: You'd step up to the trough, and the "prospector" would scoop up a panful of dirt in the water-filled trough, and hand you the pan. In my recollection, you got to twirl the pan in the water for a brief time before the prospector actually took over. It was still sort of fun to watch the dirt float out of the pan and see those little specks of gold! Then he'd pour your gold dust (using a funnel) into a little bottle, filled with water to magnify your tiny treasure. I'm told that the dirt was "salted" with gold, so you were guaranteed to get some every time.

Maybe I didn't get to do too much actual panning because I was a kid (probably around 10), or maybe that was the case with everybody.

Katella Gate said...

Thanks Major. I wonder if the cost of admission to the attraction covered the cost of the seed gold you took away? And I wonder who put the gold in the sand? And if all the gold actually got into the sand LOL.

Where is Chris Merritt when you need him! Off making magic some where I'll bet.

Of course, with the price of gold today, this attraction isn't coming back any time soon.

TokyoMagic! said...

Funny...but we never did the Panning For Gold either. My brother and I never wanted to give up one of our "A" Coupons (the equivalent of an Disneyland "E" Ticket) for it. I didn't go into the Birdcage Theater or Mott's Miniatures until I was older and we had purchased the "Rides Aplenty" pass, but that couldn't be used for Pan For Gold, Arcades or the Shooting Gallery.

Katella, they still have the Pan For Gold attraction, but it has been moved. I'm not sure how much it costs these days, but I'm sure it ain't cheap!

Katella Gate said...

Thanks Tokyo! I haven't been to Knott's in 20 years almost, so I'm super hazy on how things are today.

(Truthfully, I was there for a few hours 10 years ago on a company night, but the buddy I was with turned out to be a dead fish. He didn't want to do anything in particular and vetoed all of my suggestions. Since I had the car keys, I should have just turned him loose and gone stag. He could have sat on the benches by himself.)

Anonymous said...

I treasure the little vial of gold that I panned in the late 50's.

JG said...

That's how i remember the panning working also. swirl it around a little, then the prospector took over so you didnt slosh out all the "color", then strain into the little bottle.

I definitely treasure my little vial with acouple of crumbs of what I was led to believe is gold.

You see, gentlemen, all your speculation depends on those colored flakes actually being gold. May have been in the beginning, but now?


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I think that the price for the gold panning was around $14 when I was there last time; that's a considerable markup from 50 cents. And even if it's real gold, it's probably low grade. Who cares, it's still fun!

Chuck said...

I don't know if those trees were such a good thing. It made it exceptionally difficult for Knott's Security to monitor what was going on in the back areas of the attraction and it was a magnet for thugs and two-bit criminals. By the time of my first visits in the mid-70s, things were pretty bad; we were robbed every time we rode it.