Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Columbia at Tom Sawyer Island - July 1960

The first photo in today's post is an interesting/unusual view from 1960, showing the Columbia sailing ship apparently moored next to the fishing dock at Tom Sawyer Island. I wonder why? You can see ropes securing it to the shore to our left, as well as another rope heading towards the opposite shore on our right (which would seem to indicate that the Mark Twain wasn't in operation at this time). 

While these slides are date-stamped "July 1960", they could (of course) have actually been taken months before. Could both of these big boats that shared the Rivers of America been temporarily out of commission due to the impending opening of the "Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland", which opened in May of 1960?

Here's a boring picture of the Matterhorn!


Graffer said...

I have never seen a photo of a bypass track at the Mark Twain/Columbia dock.

TokyoMagic! said...

Fascinating! Yes, I thought the Columbia ran on some sort of track or guide rail (I know that it has rollers under it's hull)......how did it get over to that side of the river?

And where was that Matterhorn pic taken from? It appears to be an elevated vantage point, but then there are people visible in the lower right corner of the shot. Maybe it was taken from the upper level of the Omnibus?

K. Martinez said...

There's a photo very similar to this one from the Bill Cotter collection showing the Columbia and Mark Twain side by side . It was also taken from the same vantage point. It's definitely unusual.

I absolutely love the Matterhorn image. Where was this taken from? I remember views sort of like this from the Mine Train or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It's great seeing the mountain rise above the forest.

Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Graffer, I really do wish I knew what the story was in that photo!

TokyoMagic!, it does run on a guide rail, but perhaps it was towed over to the dock. For what reason, I can't imagine. And good eye on the Matterhorn pic, I didn't notice the elevated vantage point.

K. Martinez, I think I saw another image like this on the "Outside the Berm" blog, but he has removed many of his photos unfortunately. I have a bunch of Bill Cotter's disks, but am too lazy to go through them! See TokyoMagic's comment about the Matterhorn photo, I think he is right.

Patrick Devlin said...

Ah, thank you, Major, thank you....

I remember a shot of the Mark Twain and the Columbia much like this from years ago. My brother, Tom, and I puzzled long over it. It's good to see my memory's not failing, though I'm still no closer to an explanation.

As for the Matterhorn shot, I first thought: upper deck of the Mark Twain. But considering the proximity I think TokyoMagic has made the right call.

Nice pictures, though.

Chuck said...

I think the first photo was taken the day they used both the Columbia and the Mark Twain to pull Tom Sawyer Island 15 feet to the south. Extreme vibrations from blasting a new tunnel bore through Cascade Peak had made it come unmoored from its berth and it was in danger of colliding with the northern shore.

Nancy said...

I think they are both cool shots. To see them side by side is rare, even tho they arent going anywhere.

I like the Matterhorn pic because you cant see any of the other stuff surrounding it, like a surprise sighting in the desert or something.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Tokyo, the definitely Not-Boring Matterhorn pic is taken from the Hub, probably from an omnibus roof.

The peak orientation is correct for that location and the trees resemble those behind House of the Future.

It makes sense that there would be a bypass in the ROA rails, since one disabled craft might need to be navigated around by another. Could this feature be seen in any of the pictures of the dry river?

Very cool stuff, Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick, I only wish my slide was better… it was extremely faded, and I had to do some serious Photoshop stuff to make it look like it does (which is still pretty weird).

Chuck, I am sure I remember reading all about that in "Disney News".

Nancy, I would definitely be surprised to see the Matterhorn in the desert! Of course, technically, much of Southern Californa IS a desert.

JG, yes, I think those trees look like Fantasyland trees for sure. I have one or two photos of the dry river, but they don't show this area near the the fishing dock.

Patrick Devlin said...

I just talked to my former-CM and ex-Imagineer brother and he remembers this kind of shot. He said that the guide rollers can be retracted into the ships, thus freeing them from the guide rails. This wouldn't be done it any normal operation, of course, but it still leaves the question looming about what the heck were they doing?