Thursday, January 05, 2012

Town Square & Castle, September 1959

For some reason that I can't really articulate, I always like photos of Disneyland's Town Square. Part of it is the appreciation of the wonderful architectural detail on buildings like City Hall and the Opera House (not visible in this photo, as you already know). There are the vehicles, and Walt's apartment above the Firehouse, and the Bekins van (back when it needed to be pulled by horses). And even the canon, a detail that somehow evokes municipal parks in so many small towns. All in all, I can't think of a thing that I'd change!

Here's an interesting angle looking towards the bridge that led to the castle. Notice the top of the red fire hydrant at the bottom of the photo! There's a little brook running among the flowers and bushes, maybe it's full of animatronic trout.


Thufer said...

I agree, that picture of Town Square is very crisp and lively. That mound seen behind the gate is interesting (?) and the Matterhorn poster along with I believe 20,000 Leagues are most inviting. Just a really nice picture of when guest seldom stood in the streets.

Orange Co Native said...

What is that red thing in the water in the second photo?

BTW: Knotts has added another 4 ounces and 2 grams of gold since yesterday.

Major Pepperidge said...

Thufer, I think that mound is sort of a "mini berm" that helped separate the Jungle Cruise from parts of Main Street. And the posters are: Matterhorn, Monorail, and Submarine Voyage! It was 1959 after all, and they were proud of their new attractions.

OC Native, that's the fire hydrant (just the very tip top) I mentioned in my text!

How the heck do you get such up-to-the-minute info about the gold usage at Knott's??

JG said...

I wouldn't change anything about the old Main Street, although there are a few tweaks required to the current version.

You can look long and hard now for any sign of conventional fire suppression equipment in Disneyland. It's still there, but no longer so obvious.

I have always thought (without a shred of evidence) that Disneyland must have a cozy relationship with the local authorities since so much of the park is so innovative that there was no precedent in code or law for building safety for many features.

I mean, how do you calculate an occupant load and appropriate emergency exiting for a dark ride with boats like IASW or Pirates? There are no tables in the building code for that now, much less in 1963.

Some designer had to develop a reasonable estimate and some courageous plan reviewer at the city had to say, "yeah, that's ok, that'll work, here's your permit for construction." It had to have been a very collaborative relationship or much of what we see would have never been built.

Very difficult to find that kind of attitude anywhere in the regulatory realm today.


Connie Moreno said...

Oh my gosh, I hadn't noticed that mini berm until I read Thufer's comment! That area now consists of a break room, lockers and all sorts of behind the scenes stuff!

TokyoMagic! said...

I've said it before, but I think they should have left the Bekins/Global Van Lines facade alone when they moved the lockers. They could have just extended the Emporium into that space and not tried to do a new "turn of the century" exterior. I know it has been probably 20 years since they did it, but it still sticks out like a sore my opinion, anyway!

David said...

I noticed the mound, and thought how odd and out of place it is today. Once again, though, this picture shows us how cool Disneyland was back in the days. I envy the folks back then, more for the smaller crowds and coolness of 50's style advertising -I adore that period and love those old Disney posters. If money was not as tight as it is now, I would love to have them hang on my walls today.

Orange Co Native said...


I thought I read your whole set of comments. I think I was interrupted and then opened the photos.

What in the world is a fire hydrant doing in the moat around the castle? That is really odd.

Chiana_Chat said...

"What in the world is a fire hydrant doing in the moat around the castle?"

tsk! Just look at the state of most castles today. Burned out ruins! Walt made sure his castle was prepared to fight fire with hydration. In case of siege. Or King Stephan going on a spinning wheel burning campaign again. Gotta put out the fire and save the Princess. 'cause for sure Aurora was apt to sleep right through it.