Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More From Knott's, October 1967

Here's a great shot of one of the old San Francisco cable cars that used to be at Knott's Berry Farm. Did they run using underground cables when they were at Knott's, or were they converted to some sort of electric motor (or whatever)? 

Another view that includes a cable car (not sure if there was more than one) as it rumbles past the ice cream parlor. Mmmm, ice cream!

And finally, the old prospector heads into the sunset with his mule Stinky. It's been a long day, but a good day!


K. Martinez said...

When added to Knott's they were no longer true cable cars. There's no central slot opening for the underground cable between the two rails for it to grab onto. The cars were probably converted to electric motor.

These are really cool photos, but the Knott's "cable cars" were no match for the real experience in San Francisco.

Check out rails in this pic to see the difference.

bloefeld said...

Until you started posting pics of the Knotts cable cars I had forgotten all about them. Sad to see so much of the charm of Knotts go by the wayside over the years. I suppose charm is no match for thrills these days. My mother used to tell me that prospector was a statue of my grandpa, and I believed her! I was a pretty dumb kid.

Lillian K. said...

Fascinating Knott's photos, as I never saw the cable cars in person: even better as I can see very plainly what area of the park/gift shop complex it is from the photos compared to how it looks today, something which is hard to do with many vintage Disneyland photos.

Great stuff Major, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I can confirm that when Knott's got the Cable Cars from San Francisco they modified them to run on batteries and electric motors. The batteries were rather heavy and the frames were not designed for that weight.

The Poway-Midland Railroad has been restoring No. 17 and as you can see from this photo ( it is nearly ready to be part of our weekend rotation. Our restoration team put in a bank of deep-cycle marine batteries and new motors. We are finding that the batteries don't last as long as we'd like so we'll have a second bank of batteries and the ability to switch between the banks.

I have driven this trolley once after our steam locomotive shift. The system seems to have good traction even up our grade. We could stop it on the slope and start it without slipping. That's something not all of our equipment could do. We had only a partial load of our volunteers onboard at the the time.

We appreciate seeing any photos of the Knott's Cable Cars, especially these unusual views.


Melissa said...

Now I'm hungry for some Rice-a-Roni.

Snow White Archive said...

Wish I could have ridden them.

K. Martinez said...

Great information James. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I sure miss these too. They would loop thru the parking lot and drop you off near the main entrance. Where you could just walk in. What admission charge? I agree with bloefeld. So much of the charm of Knott's is gone, probably never to be seen again. Today it seems like it's all just thrill me NOW! and immediately move on to the next thrill. The slow stroll thru Ghost Town imagining or pretending in your mind what used to be, looking in the windows to see the various "scenes," that was the best. That was what Knott's was to me. The charm, the allure, the fascination, the down-hominess is gone. And I think we all miss that.

TokyoMagic! said...

I LOVE these pics. I remember riding the Cable Cars as a kid. I think they disappeared just one year before I was hired to work at the Cable Car Kitchen (and Ice Cream Parlor).

In that first pic, the Cable Car is just about to pass one of the windows of Virginia's Gift Shop. Major, you posted a shot a few years taken from inside Virginia's and you can see the Cable Car outside that very window: Virginia's Gift Shop

And just look at all those trees! All gone now except for the one that couple is sitting underneath on the far right of the second pic. It is still there and it still has it's sign labeling it as a Chinese Flame Tree: Knott's Tree

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I figured that there was no cable pulling the Knott's cars, but had to ask! Thanks for the info. Aren't there still a few remaining cable cars running in S.F?

bloefeld, I love that your mom said that the statue was of your grandpa! I wonder if it really reminded her of him?

Lillian K., I have no memory of the cable cars, but they must have been there when I first went as a little kid.

James, thank you for all of the great info! Very cool that No. 17 is being restored and will someday be running again, if only for special occasions.

Melissa, if only you knew how hard it was for me to not put in a Rice-a-Roni joke!!

Snow White Archive, ME TOO!

Anon, I know that Knott's started charging admission when the Log Ride went in, so that was around 1969? 1970? I could look it up, but that would be cheating! Not all of the charm is gone from Knott's… I was surprised that there were still pockets of it that were still wonderful.

TokyoMagic!, I'm glad to know that the tree is still there - I thought that every tree had been removed! And I definitely remembered that Viewmaster shot with the cable car passing outside Viriginia's Gift Shop.

K. Martinez said...

Major, The Cable Cars are alive and well in San Francisco. There are three routes; the Powell/Hyde Line, the Powell/Mason Line and the California Line. They're very popular with tourists and locals alike. I ride them several times a year when visiting or taking friends and family to the city.

There's nothing like the thrill of the cable car going up and down the hills of San Francisco. If you decide to stand holding the hand rail it's a rush making a sharp turn while hanging on.

I love them!

Nancy said...

I love the trolleys!! Would have been fun to ride them around the park.

we had trolleys here in Pgh up until about 20 years ago (in the movie Flashdance, the underground welding scenes were filmed where they were working on the tunnels under downtown Pgh)

Now we have the modern ones but you can still see them at a museum here and at the trolley barn.

very pretty pictures today!

Anonymous said...

Orange Co Native

It is kind of ironic that there is the Red cable cars are at Disney Calif Adventures in 2012 and the cable cars are now gone from Knotts.

In my opinion, even Disneyland has lost some of its charm in the last 30 years.


The fence went up and Knott's started to charge admission in 1968.

Chiana_Chat said...

Love the cable cars! Oh and how I'd love to be in those pictures too...

Thanks, James of Poway-Midland RR!

Sergio said...

Thank you for the photos... I drove these from May to October of 1977. Very sad that they got rid of them. (Given back to SF in the Eighties) I have ridden on them now that they are back in SF. They ran on two submarine batteries. We had to charge them daily. We usually got 9 hours worth of descent run time out of them. Some were quicker than others... 17 and 21 were fast, 49 and 59 were okay. We usually ran two cars and a few times ran 3. The Cable Car barn was located behind the petting zoo where Camp Snoopy is now. Montezooma's had just opened. Wish they would bring them back but Knott's whole format is changing. The charm of the farm is gone. Sergio