Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Knott's Ghost Town, 1950's

Knott's in the 1950's reached a sort of apotheosis of charm; it would continue to get bigger, and cool rides would be added, but there is just something about it at this time that I find incredibly appealing.

This first photo almost looks like a postcard. Say, that bank doesn't look like it is FDIC insured. Fix the roof at least! The bank was on School Road, right near the gun shop and the knife shop. At first I thought that the people milling around the entrance were there because it was actually a restroom (just a theory), but I guess it was a coin shop at some point. Makes sense when you think about it. The structure to our right (with the dormer window) was where you could get candy and ice cream.

A little bit further up the street you could get your grist ground good at the grist mill. "Glen, grind my grist so I can make griddle cakes!", I gasped gleefully. And then I guffawed. Any idea what that spidery structure is between the mill and the bank? A well? Some sort of torture device?


Patrick Devlin said...

And is that "Ole Kalifornian" on the building to the left? Something whacky, no doubt.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

The attention to detail and the dirt streets always made Knott's Ghost Town appear more authentic to me as well. IMHO the best part of the park back in the day.

When I get a gander of the grist mill I'm greeted by a gazillion goosebumps. Thanks for posting.

K. Martinez said...

These are great images to finish the year with. Both are postcard perfect. Thanks for another great year of GDB posts, Major. Looking forward to more in 2015.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

If I recall Major, the contraption that looks like a well is more like some kind of ore hoist. There was a hole or pit below it that was boarded up, but there was some illusion of depth.

Anonymous said...

Major, the tripod device between the buildings is a crane support used to raise and lower ore buckets into and out of vertical shaft mines. This one has an ore bucket hanging from the cables.

Mines would often tunnel straight ahead into a hillside following a vein, then a vertical shaft could be dug from an upper bench down to intersect the horizontal tunnel. This shaft could be used to remove the valuable ore, or the waste rock, also allowing air and some light into the mine.

There are several of these structures visible in the photos of Calico, they are mostly on the hillside beyond the railroad.

Hope this helps. Thanks for the cool pics.


Monkey Cage Kurt said...

You’re going to get a kick out of this Major. I just looked up “ore hoist at Knott’s” and the first pic of this thing that came up was a GDB post from June 03, 2011. The following is the text you wrote.

I don't recall seeing photos of the "Lucky Cuss" mine before. This apparatus apparently hoisted up buckets full of ore-laden rock and dirt and dumped it into that wagon. The dirt was then panned by Knott's visitors nearby. I think that might be the ticket booth for the gold panning visible behind the wagon and through the timbers.


Chuck said...

Major, I agree with you wholeheartedly that Knott's of yore definitely had an intense degree of charm, although different people may disagree on when the zenith of that charm was reached or if, indeed, it ever has met its potential. I think we can all agree, however, that with the demise of Dennis Hopper and Marlon Brando, it can never have its apothesis now.

I may have commented on this before, but the bank building has always reminded me of a post-apocalyptic version of the 1858 Wells Fargo building at Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia, CA. You can see a couple of pictures of the building and read a little bit of its history at the following sites:

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, if you can read that sign, you must have some kinda super vision! Even now I can’t tell if it says “Ole Kalifornian”.

Alonzo, it surprises me how many people took pictures of the Grist Mill. It’s a perfectly nice building, but folks were willing to “spend” a precious frame of film on it more than one might expect.

K. Martiinez, thanks! And thank you for your contributions, both in photos and in your comments. I think I have about 100 Knott’s slides to go, aieeeeee!

Monkey Cage Kurt, that makes sense to me!

JG, that seems like such a primitive device, but I guess smaller operations couldn’t afford big steam powered hoists. I’ll have to go check out my photos of Calico to look for the cranes! Thanks.

Monkey Cage Kurt, obviously I forgot that I wrote that! Did I do research, or just make a lucky guess? No idea. I probably looked it up in Chris Merritt’s book, if I had to surmise. It’s always alarming when I discover that I have forgotten something so completely!!

Chuck, I guarantee that there are people who think that the current Knott’s Berry Farm is the best one! Just like Disneyland. I’ve talked to people who say that the “old” Disneyland of the 1980’s was when the park was at its peak. Those whippersnappers!! Remember my photo of that store in Columbia State Historical Park? It looks like the buildings were generally more well preserved there than the ones we see in Ghost Town!

outsidetheberm said...

That's 'The Old Knifemaker' shop you're looking at, partner. Or as we used to call it 'Ole Kalifornian'.

Patrick Devlin said...

I don't know about any super-vision but I'm now back-pedaling like mad. I'm now going with "The Old Knife Shop". Let's see if I can show a link: . That link has a shot where you can read the sign more clearly. What in the world drives me to look this kind of thing up?

Chuck said...

Patrick Devlin - there's a certain amount of obsession that's expected of regular visitors to this site. Don't worry - you're among friends.