Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Independence Hall, Buena Park

First-time visitors to Knott's Berry Farm might be surprised to see a replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall in the middle of Buena Park - but it's been there since 1966, and is now something of a landmark. Walter Knott was about as patriotic as they come, and the building (with its equally exact replica of the Liberty Bell) was his way of paying tribute to the founding fathers and the formation of the country that Mr. Knott loved so much.

Here's a shot taken from a car in 1977; we are looking up Beach Boulevard from the corner of Crescent Avenue. I am wondering if the "sidewalk" that is bordered by the low fencing is in fact the roadway for the Tijuana Taxis... does anybody know?

Another car photo (from Beach Boulevard?)... the Hall is almost hidden behind a eucalyptus tree. To the right, you can see a billboard - but only I can read it! "Open Today, 10 AM to 9 PM - Enjoy Wild West Shows - Shop and Dine 10 to 9". Independence Hall is across the street from the main park, which means that most visitors miss it altogether.

Here's a photo taken in "tilt-o-rama". I visited the Hall last year on a Sunday, the first time I'd seen it since a grade-school field trip a zillion years ago. Chickens still wander free on the grounds outside the building; it was remarkably quiet over there, and the morning was sunny and warm. A single employee - a woman in colonial garb - was silently knitting inside. It brought back a lot of memories as I wandered around this beautiful building, looking at the dusty, faded exhibits. It could use some TLC, but I'm just happy that it is still there.


TokyoMagic! said...

Woweee! Fantastic Knott's pics, Major! The first two pics look like they were taken while heading east on Crescent Ave. (at the intersection of Crescent and Beach Blvd.) It looks like the second photo was actually taken just moments before the first photo. The top of that Knott's billboard can be seen in the first pic just above that tanker truck.

That road with the low railing was for the Henry's Auto Livery cars. Weird....I took two photos of that very corner, from almost the same angle, just about a year ago (right before the Knott's Preserved event.) Those photos can be seen towards the end of this post: Knott's, Knott's and More Knott's!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Great post, I see the entire world thru a tilt-o-rama perspective so this really hits home!

I visited the Hall a couple years ago, same experience as you; me, one employee and bunch of wild chickens! I'm surprised its still there, but very happy it is.

Connie Moreno said...

Great post today, Major. Hmm...since I have to get out of the house soon and find something to do, a visit to Independence Hall is a great idea!

JG said...

Like you, Major, I remember the Hall from a visit a million years ago, but what was probably 1967.

I have some recent photos of the Real Independence Hall in Philadelphia, it would be interesting to compare them to the Knotts version.

Actually, between age, wars, and general neglect and confusion, much of the real Hall's interior survives only as a reproduction of what can be seen in paintings of the famous scenes.

I'm glad Knott's still has the building. I'm surprised it has not been taken down to make way for a roller-coaster, or because no one knows what it is anymore.



Major Pepperidge said...

Ah, I knew that TokyoMagic! would set me straight on at least a few of my garbled "facts"... thanks for the into, TM! Very cool to see your more current photos as well.

VDT, I'm guessing that if you visited the hall on just about any day it would be pretty much the way you and I saw it.

Connie, that's a good plan, and you can visit it for free!

JG, even though I lived in Pennsylvania, my family never made it over to Philadelphia; and we lived there during the Bicentennial, that would have been a great time to visit!

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, Knott's did build their Soak City water park next to, and in front of Independence Hall a few years back. The open view of the building that drivers used to get while driving north on Beach Blvd. is ruined now by a wall and "junk" that sticks up above the wall. I was a little surprised that they only built the water park on two sides of Independence Hall and didn't just make it a part of the water park with a slide going down around it. FORTUNATELY they didn't do that, but with the way they do things these days.....hey, I guess we should just be glad that it is still there!

Chuck said...

Always great photos, Major. Brings back a lot of good memories. Thanks for posting!

TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, one more thing! Prior to Henry's Auto Livery, didn't that corner used to have a pond that was used for trout fishing and that little barn structure was where you could get the fishing poles? That would have been before my time, so hopefully someone out there knows for sure. I think you posted pics several years ago of the pond with that same structure behind it.

Katella Gate said...

I'm sure that a show of patriotic pride like Independence Hall is just as embarassing for Modern Management as the show of sincere religious feeling in the Chapel of Reflections.

I'm quite sure if these were built today, they'd be a head shop and a cat house.

Anonymous said...

I love these photos of the Knott's outer area. Actually pretty much any photos taken before 1980ish of the Buena Park/La Mirada area are just like candy for me. I love the 70's big cars...oh those days were good and I didn't even realize it then. Of course...there was the smog :(