Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Mark Twain & The River

1956 was the Greatest Year Ever. There is no doubt about it! Elvis performed "Hound Dog" on the Milton Berle show, Grace Kelly became a real princess, and General Electric released the first clock with a "snooze alarm". Enough said!

Unfortunately, these are not the Greatest Pictures Ever, but they have their charms. I always like early shots of Frontierland in which there seems to be more bare earth than plants and trees. They should have planted kudzu! The Mark Twain looks mighty stately in the distance.

This oddball angle looks toward Fort Wilderness across the river. The Fort appears to be closed, and I think there might be some construction cranes in the distance, though it is hard to say for certain. Anyway, it's not a great photo, but it is different, and sometimes that's all I need to be happy. 


Nanook said...


Bamboo-! Don't forget the bamboo for quick and easy coverage that you'll need a strong backhoe to remove.

And I'm so happy you're happy-! Me too, looking at that second image. It's definitely taken from an unusual angle.

Thanks, Major.

Unknown said...

The first picture looks like a postcard! I'm kind of in love with it! Great shots!

Scott Lane said...

Me three! Can't stop looking at that second picture. Where was it taken from? In front of the Plantation House?
Not sure those are construction cranes, but I have no alternate suggestion. Then again.....when was Cascade Peak built?

K. Martinez said...

The visible Skyway in the first image is cool. Since you can see the Skyway from the angle in the photo, guests on the Skyway could probably see into Frontierland easily. There must've been some great views into the other "lands" from the Skyway before the trees filled in.

I'm going with the second image as my favorite today because it's so unusual. I love it! Thanks, Major.

Kenneth Lane, Cascade Peak was part of the "new" Nature's Wonderland which opened in 1960, so it definitely wasn't built in 1956, the year these photos were taken.

K. Martinez said...

Major, Forgot it was New Years Eve. Anyway, 2015 has been a great year here on your blog. I'm looking forward to 2016 and your "tencennial" decennial celebration.

Wishing all a safe, sane and happy New Year's Eve!

Chuck said...

Interesting to note the clay riverbank on Tom Sawyer Island in both images, particularly the first one. Very different from today's concrete banks that are not always hidden by vegetation.

Like Ken, I, too, am looking forward to everything you've got dreamed up for the GDB Tencennial celebtration. I'm hoping for a guest appearance by Julie Reihm.

Ditto on Ken's New Year's Eve salutations. Be safe out there, and see you all next year!

Steve DeGaetano said...

Kenneth Lane, it looks like the 2nd photo was taken along the river walk. The pilings that can be seen just beyond the stonework and under the chain appear to the entrance to Fowler's Harbor.

Anonymous said...

Major, these are great. A great way to wind up the old year.

I prefer today's overgrown river, but it's good to see how it all started.

@Chuck, I read that the water seeped out of the river into the soil when it was first filled and that the clay was a waterproofing measure added to prevent it. A concrete lining was probably pretty expensive for the opening construction.

I also saw recently that Disney was promoting the recycling of the current river water when it will be drained for the forthcoming construction. They didn't say what was to be done with the water, just that it would not be wasted down the drain.


Nanook said...

@ Kenneth Lane, et al-

Check THIS LINK out, to see a GDB post from June 5, 2006, depicting the area seen in today's post. Towards the right side is the section of wall containing the chain. Daveland also has some detailed images from the area.

I, too, forgot this is NYE. Thanks, Major, and all the GDB faithful, for another great year here.

Chuck said...

JG, I'd read that, too. I actually prefer the clay along the riverbanks because it looks more natural, but I'm sure the concrete is easier to clean and otherwise maintain, particularly in a climate that doesn't see any ground freezing. It also keeps down on the added sediment that has to be filtered out of the water system.

I kind of like the vegetation both ways, but each one definitely gives a different feel of locale. The early days evoke a dusty, Western film set, while the later, lusher foliage makes the river look much more like the Mississippi or the Ohio, which is also appropriate for the Mark Twain and spot-on for the dearly departed Keelboats.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, my grandmother’s neighbor paid me and my brother to dig out some bamboo, it was the hardest job I’ve ever done. That stuff is a nightmare.

Meldey, it DOES look “postcard worthy”, as I like to say.

Kennth Lane, yes, I believe that photo #2 was taken right near the Plantation House. And I agree, those are probably not construction cranes. Cascade Peak was built in 1960 (perhaps started in ’59).

K. Martinez, I do like those Skyway cameos in Frontierland (or Main Street) photos. My guess is that Frontierland was so far away, not many Skyway riders were looking to see what was going on over there. And yes, Happy New Year!

Chuck, looking at vintage photos, it is suprising how natural the old riverbank used to look. Now, not so much… but I’m sure most people don’t notice at all. At some point the plants near the old mill were so lush that they grew out into the river.

Steve DeGaetano, I agree with you, though I think it is not erroneous to say that the photographer was “near the Plantation House”.

JG, I’m not so sure that the river looks so overgrown at the moment. A friend of mine complains about a recent “thinning” of some of the landscaping - he says you can now see things that are outside the berm, which used to be hidden. Interesting about them recycling the water. Wonder what will be done?

Nanook, THERE is a slide that is due for a rescan!! If I can find it.

Chuck, I’m sure a concrete riverbed is much easier to deal with, but it is a subtle detail that makes the place less “real”. Like you, I enjoy seeing the early views in which the vegetation is rather sparse, but photos from the late 1960’s look great too, when things are practically swallowed by plants, as if they had been there for many decades.