Friday, January 20, 2017

Main Street, June 1963

Let's visit Main Street U.S.A.!

I love this first image, looking south toward Main Street Station. Two horse-drawn streetcars are passing each other. The slide was date-stamped "June 1963", and that looks about right, though the crowds are not bad at all. I love seeing the old classic shops, such as the Hallmark store and the Swift Market House to the left, and the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor and the Upjohn Pharmacy to the right.

That guy to the left of the streetcars has an early double-wide stroller - a portent of things to come!

I can't imagine that there are any prominent fire hydrants anymore. They help give Main Street a veneer of verisimilitude that it lacks today. Notice the little boys, fascinated by the passing streetcars.

And there's the train station itself, with patriotic flags and banners aplenty. It's almost noon, the day's half over! 

As usual, I enjoy looking at the people, like the group of kids with the woman dressed in yellow, or the ladies in their nice summer dresses. Also as usual, the Santa Fe logo makes me happy.


Nanook said...


It seems to me the late model version of the "double-wide" stroller seen here is designed for a single, ├╝ber-spoiled child.

I'm afraid for a multitude of reasons, Disney parks these days are sorely-lacking in the 'veneer of verisimilitude department', that in former times provided just-enough realism to keep one's interest piqued.

I too, feel a zing of happiness upon the sighting of any Santa Fe signage - not unlike the feeling I experience when diving into a juicy steak. Ummmm.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Always enjoy Disneyland photos taken around the time of my first visit to the Park in June 1963. The Horse-Drawn Streetcars passing each other is a cool scene. While it can be witnessed easily in person, it's rare to see photos of it.

The second images is definitely a people picture. I'm just imagining all the separate lives those people went on to live. Again, where are they now if they're still with us? What wonderful Main Street, U.S.A. images today. Thanks, Major.

Unknown said...

Mmm, chewy Main Street goodness! And the long-standing tradition of the Street Cars playing a game of "chicken": with each driver guessing that the other driver will swerve first...

Steve DeGaetano said...

As Major and Nanook have noted (and Gordon and Mumford first expressed), details like the Santa Fe herald and the fire hydrants conferred a "veneer of reality" that made the fantasy better. In other words, the fantasy of actually being on a turn-of-the-century Main Street was palpably real; as opposed to today, with monstrosities such as Starbucks and Jolly Holiday Bakery blatantly reminding you that you are NOT on a 1900 boulevard, but are, in fact, at an amusement park.

Thank you Major. These are wonderful images that remind us of what once was...

DrGoat said...

As I get older, Main Street has become my favorite area in the park.
Like K.Martinez, I wonder about all those lives, many gone by now. '57 through '65 was my apex time as a kid in Disneyland so these pics are a pleasure to see. I'm sure many of us could be in those shots, living those moments that we will treasure.

TokyoMagic! said...

That last photo is kind of touching, with the older women taking the arm of the younger woman as they step down from the curb and cross over the streetcar tracks. The younger woman's pants may not have a wild checkerboard pattern on them, but they certainly look like "hostess pants" to me!

Steve DeGaetano said...

That first photo really is striking: Aside from the 1963-period clothing, there is nothing that hints that this isn't 1895 in a typical American Main Street.

Anonymous said...

The fire hydrants are interesting. I think they are still visible on Main Street. I remember noticing them recently in Tomorrowland. A different model is used there, more "modern" and streamlined, not so much the classic "fireplug" seen here.

Pretty sure they are located around the park in varying degrees of concealment, but I can't recall seeing them specifically. In Frontierland, they are probably inside fiberglass stumps.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, the double wide is for one kid and a whole heap of other stuff. There is a neat old terrazzo “Santa Fe” embedded in a sidewalk in downtown L.A., though whatever building it was associated with is long gone.

K. Martinez, gosh, I have no idea when I first visited Disneyland - I just know I was probably around three years old. There is a picture of me and my brother after we got home, still wearing our mouse ears and carrying some sort of toy guns.

Patrick Devlin, I’ve always wondered how the Streetcar drivers know when to head up the street so that the timing to pass each other is just right. ESP?

Steve DeGaetano, I agree with you, the themes of the lands has been watered down to such a degree that it almost doesn’t matter anymore. I assume that the powers-that-be think that most guests don’t care about it, and they may be right.

DrGoat, I’m the same way, I used to basically walk very fast up Main Street to get to the other “fun” lands. Now I wish I hadn’t been so dumb!

TokyoMagic!, “hostess pants”, that’s a new one! Is that really a thing?

Steve DeGaetano, yep, I think that was Walt’s goal.

JG, maybe I’ll do a quick Google search to see if I can spot any fire hydrants on Main Street. I assumed that with all of the crazy fireworks and parade crowds, any obstacle would be removed. If I find any maybe I’ll report back!

Nanook said...

@ Major-

It must be your 'dislike' for I Love Lucy, allowing you to miss the "inside reference" to 'hostess pants', or 'smart hostess pants', as was mentioned here today.

As far as the powers-that-be being "right" when it comes to the Public's lack of interest in theming, they do so at their own peril. What they fail to grasp is when those 'little, "unimportant" things' disappear, so too goes at least one reason why visiting a Disney Park is like no other. And when they finally grasp this concept, it may be too late. (I know they think differently, but...)

Chuck said...

Major, if you're talking about this particular sidewalk Santa Fe logo, the building it's in front of, known today as the Santa Fe Lofts, is original to the site. Built in 1907, it housed offices for the AT&SF Railway from the 1930s into the '70s.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, if that was an “I Love Lucy” reference, then there is no way I would have picked up on it. I really don’t like that show. As you know. Also, when one reads comments from guests who wish “It’s a Small World” would be removed because they “prefer thrills”, I’m not so sure I have much faith anymore.

Chuck, yes that’s the one. Maybe it was the lot next door that was vacant? It was years ago.