Monday, June 20, 2016

Columbia and Burning Cabin, April 1960

Initially I didn't think that this first photo was anything special, but then I noticed that Cascade Peak is still under construction in the background, so that's pretty cool! In addition, this is one of those times when the Columbia was moored on Tom Sawyer Island. I think this happened at least one other time (in 1963).

This next one is not a good photo, but it is a bit interesting because it is such a low-level view of the burning settler's cabin. Was this take from a Canoe? A Keel Boat? The lower level of the Mark Twain? The Columbia's sails peek up from the other side of the island.


Nanook said...


Nice to see an image of Cascade Peak during its construction. But I'm afraid it's the very busy design on that blouse which attracts all the attention.

And as far as just where the image of the Settler's Cabin Afire was captured - isn't it obvious-? The periscope of the infamous 'Natchez' sub-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, does that woman's blouse have a steamboat pattern on it? I think I see a red steamboat and also "The War Lord" tower within the print. Or is it just the power of suggestion from today's and yesterday's posts?

Nancy said...

I love that the Mark Twain and the Columbia are both on this first view. They seem to mostly chase each other around the Rivers of America and hardly ever see them together for a photo! :-D

So enthralled with the Columbia that I didnt even notice the blouse! :-0

Chuck said...

That woman does not look happy at all. It's probably from people continually asking her if that's "The War Lord" tower on the shirt, and she's tired of explaining that the movie hasn't even been shot yet.

Patrick Devlin said...

I'm thrilled (yeah, living a sedate life allows for easier thrills) that you've shown another shot of the Columbia "off the rails". I originally saw a shot of the Columbia and the Mark Twain together over by Fowler's Harbor but I searched for it the other day and got bupkes. So thanks, Major, for restoring my sanity, though I still search for that picture.

Two weeks ago when we visited the Park we visited the pilothouse of the Mark Twain and I raised the question with the Cast Member of having seen the Columbia and the Mark Twain next to each other. He said it had been done but it was actually over by the loading area as your picture shows.

Now, geekishly, I want to know all about how to derail and re-rail the ship and how the heck does one maneuver that thing from place to place? Maybe a quick phone call to Disney archives will get me a free afternoon of browsing their library...

Anonymous said...

@Patrick, I was fortunate to stand by the CM helmsman of the Columbia on my last ride. (It was the first time I rode since high school, close to 40 years apart) It was the last ride of the day and the Columbia would be moored in Fowler's Harbor after unloading. The CM was calling ahead on the intercom (radio?) to Fowler's to confirm setup. I don't recall exactly the terminology used, there was something about switching. there's probably a rail switch underwater that opens and closes to direct the boats into the spur. Either that, or I was hallucinating with weariness.

If they can moor at the island too, wonder if there another spur to that landing? Surely these features would be visible when the river was drained?

Thanks, Major, cool pics.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the Natchez sub might be infamous… but I don’t know anything about it!

TokyoMagic!, the design MIGHT be a steamboat pattern; hard to tell. It is awfully “loud” though. Reminds me of the wallpaper in a friend’s house when I was a kid - stylized antique cars. I thought it was cool at the time, but looking back it was pretty awful.

Nancy, when I first saw a photo of the Columbia and the Mark Twain side by side, I thought it was a mistake! Since then I’ve found several photos like it, including today’s.

Chuck, it is odd that she couldn’t seem to bring herself to smile for the photo; she looks like she’d rather be somewhere else - like Magic Mountain, which hadn’t been built yet!

Patrick Devlin, I think I have at least two other photos of the Columbia moored on Tom Sawyer Island; I don’t ever remember seeing them side by side at Fowler’s Harbor, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Another blog had a good picture of the two ships together, but the photo has since been removed. Meanwhile, I’m surprised that the cast member knew so much about the history of the two vessels. As for the details of rerouting the ship, I’d love to know myself!

JG, I don’t have a photo of the island landing when the river was dry, but a while ago I posted a photo of the Fowler’s Harbor area with an empty river in this post. You can see the little spur track that heads toward the dry dock, but unfortunately it still doesn’t help determine how the boats moved onto the spur.

Matthew said...

Having worked the Columbia and the Mark Twain as trainer and a working lead between 1986 and 1993 we were never told of, or trained about, a second rail across from the loading area. When you first posted this picture Major (or a similar one) I remember being in awe of it. I, like so many of you, wondered did they derail the ship purposely and for what reason since Fowler's Harbor was present and accounted for.

Regarding moving the ship into Fowler's Harbor. The Working Lead would walk over to the Harbor and throw the "Switch" to bring it into the harbor. The switch was a large pneumatic switch which would move over from Main Line to Spur Line. Once it moved into place there were four locking pins that would then move to hold it in place. You could not allow a ship to proceed into the Harbor unless all four pins locked into place. There were a few times they wouldn't and the S.O.P. would call for you to move the switch back to Main Line and try again. Sometimes divers would be called out to fix the problem.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, you gave me a good laugh. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

@Amazon Belle, thank you so much for the fascinating operating procedure info.

It was pretty cool listening in on the "back of house" conversation instead of the pre-recorded sound track.

Major, thanks for the added pic info. No surprise that there are no pics of the TSI area without the water. Who would waste a precious film photo of stuff like that back in the day.