Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Knott's Shots

I don't know about you, but I am ready for a brief respite from Christmas! Come with me to Buena Park, won't you?

Here's a lovely shot of the Ghost Town. Does this street have a name? None of my old Knott's brochures with maps are handy at the moment. There's that broken down old locomotive, looking as if it has been dropped in front of the West Coast Machinery Company from a great height. As far as I know, it's still there. Experts?

It seems as if quite a few of my older Knott's slides were taken as the sun was setting, and I am guessing that the photographers were killing time as they waited to get into the famous restaurant for one of Cordelia Knott's chicken dinners. Depending on when you went, your wait could be hours! Which of course was the reason the Ghost Town came to be in the first give all of those paying customers something to do.

One of my fond memories of Knott's was panning for real gold! I vividly recall the coldness of the water, the heaviness of the pan full of dirt and water, and my eyes frantically searching the dirt looking for specks of gold. To speed things up, a prospector would often grab the pan from you and basically do all the work for you. This irked me as a kid. "What the hell!?" Yes, I was a particularly foul mouthed child (I blame my Navy dad!). But I probably would have taken 20 minutes and dumped out all of my gold. Business looks slow at this late hour. Note the coffee cans, which I assume were used to dump the gold-bearing dirt into your pan.

EXTRA, EXTRA! I recently found one of my little plastic vials of REAL GOLD from Knott's! This probably dates from around 1971-ish. The vial is about an inch and a quarter tall. I think I have another vial that contained gold dust from three or four other vials, which I combined for a more spectacular effect. But naturally I can't find that one!


The Viewliner Limited said...

Great shots. Love Disneyland but enjoy seeing KBF pix just as much. Thanks major.

Jimmy said...

Beautiful shots! Such clarity. The date must be very early as the main street is unpaved.

Jason Schultz said...

I don't know the first thing about Knott's photos, but I think that's a good insight about lots of photos at sundown resulting from people waiting to get into the restaurant!

Matterhorn1959 said...

I still have several of the gold vials. My grandpa used to pay for all of my brothers and me to pan for gold. Great memories.

Chris Jepsen said...

That first slide is a view of Main Street, with the borax train known as "Old Betsy" on the left. Her rusty remains were found out in the desert near Trona.

The condition of the streets is a good date marker for these slides, but you could probably also narrow it down based on the fact that gold panning is 25 cents.

The Gold Mine / Pan For Gold opened in 1947 and closed in January 1998 to make way for GhostRider. But you can still pan for gold in a single free-standing trough next to the Miner's Bank building on School Road.

Also, at the original site, you can still walk through part of the mine entrance, see some of the original landscaping, and even see what's left of the old arastra.

They always sealed the vials with some water still inside. This magnified the gold somewhat and made it look like you had more than you really did.

outsidetheberm said...

Nice shots.
Yes, that's Main Street (and it's paved with asphalt - you can see the edge by the grass tufts near 'Old Betsy').
Some of the other streets and lanes were Front Street, Market and Museum. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

All the Knotts pics (and Outside The Berm) has gottten me intrested in Knotts again. It's great to learn details of the place from the experts here.

Hmmmm. I'd sure like some buttermilk biscuits right now.

outsidetheberm said...

Thanks, sundaynight. Knott's has so much rich history - it's just a matter of learning about it. Including the interesting ties between 'the two Walts'. Chris Merritt is the one working like a son-of-a-gun on a new Knott's book. He deserves a lot of praise -his book is going to be great!

Connie Moreno said...

Another great collection of pics! Geeze, I remember having a couple of those vials, too. This is so much fun!

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Yes indeed, “Old Betsy”, I loved that old girl as a kid. She was always my favorite train at Knott’s, mostly because you could climb on her and sit in the cab and fiddle with what remained of the knobs and whatnots. I don’t know what gauge she was, but it would be great if she could be restored and run on the tracks of the Ghost Town RR.
I also have one of those old gold vials, and I too seem to recall combining the gold from several vials into one. I remember the attendant would sometimes finish the job for you, and even have a clear memory of him dumping some of the precious pay dirt back into the trough so you wouldn’t be taking too much of it home. What a JIP!

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