Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Knott's Berry Farm, June 1958

More Knott's Berry Farm, folks...today we'll take a look at 3 photos from June, 1958.

This gentleman appears to be an old circus "strong man"...maybe he performed for crowds at certain times of the day, much like the snake-oil salesman at the Medicine Wagon. Are those mysterious items behind him some sort of weights? I'd love to know the history behind some of the wagons and vehicles that were displayed at Knott's. It's well-known that Walter Knott loved to buy things like that...but I have no idea if this was an old movie prop, a genuine antique, or something that was built especially for the park. It looks like Doc Skinem's World Famous Indian Medicine did the trick for this guy, at least. Unless he is only 30 years old.

Here are two happy visitors in a covered wagon...in the background there is a circle of conestoga wagons. Since I don't know what else to say about this photo, here's what Wikipedia has to say about conestogas:

"...the Conestoga was...most distinctive, with graceful, curved lines that made it recognizable from a distance. The design was practical. A floor sloped toward the center prevented barrels and grain from falling out on hills. The wheels on were made of hardwood with fat iron rims. Broad wheels resisted mud. The smaller front wheels reduced the turning radius and large rear wheels softened the ride. They were created to go through mud and travel during foul weather. The wheels could be removed to float across rivers if a raft was carried along."

So now you know!

Business looks slow for the "Lightning Delivery" company. I wonder if visitors could ride on this wagon, or was it used for something else (like trash collection)?


Chris Merritt said...

These are great shots! Thanks so much!

Merlinsguy said...

Yes, I have to agree, these are great shots. The photo "Lightning Delivery" was definitely taken backstage; the building on the right is practical, not fanciful. I have a vague recollection that the wagon was on display, rather than a functioning vehicle.

Merlinsguy said...

Uh oh, I could be way wrong here, but the muscleman bears a similarity to an early photo of Don Galvan, the four-string banjoist who played at the park. Maybe I'm dreaming.

Unknown said...

I have pics of Don Galvan, as he dated my grandmother!

Paula Simmons said...

The circle of Conestoga wagons was one of my family’s favorite attraction at Knotts. Families would sit in the wagons as the performers sang western cowboy songs and comical skits would be performed. There were big names that played there, performing on the dirt arena within the “circle”. And it was free.