Monday, December 30, 2013

Main Street Station & Opera House, 1956

I have a pair of pix from way way back; 1956, to be exact. 

Let's start with this early-morning portrait of Main Street Station. I wish I had a more exact date, but the landscaping still looks like it hasn't had time to fill in at all. Is that an orange tree to the left? It's hard to tell. I miss the colorful framed posters that would line the fence soon.

Here's a bright, lovely shot in Town Square looking toward the Horse Drawn Streetcar and the Opera House. Back in these days, the Opera House was not open to the public; instead, it was where much carpentry was fabricated (and according to at least one person, where some of the earliest attraction posters were printed).

I thought I'd zoom in just a bit to try to see what was on display in the windows that were in front of the Bank of America, but they're not distinct. Still, it's fun to see the additional details!


Nanook said...

Wow - It all looks so fresh and new. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say both shots are from 1955...

Thanks, Major for these early glimpses.

Chuck said...

I don't think I've ever seen a shot of Main Street Station from this angle. For a second, I thought it might have been pre-Floral Mickey, but you can just make out a corner of it on the right-hand side.

Everything does look so fresh and new. I'll bet the animal pulling the streetcar even had that "new horse smell."

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't that be late afternoon?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

First photo is kinda spooky. Good thing the Miracle Grow took hold. It's looks much better now.

Looks like a post apocalyptic Disneyland. The one where hyperinflation raised single day tickets to $1,000 and $75 for a churro. No guests and dead landscaping.

Nice zoom major, blue dress, hubba hubba ;-)

K. Martinez said...

The second image with the Opera House sort of has the feel of a studio backlot. This could be a scene being shot for a movie and the extras are roaming in the background to give the appearance of a real living town.

First year images of Disneyland are always fascinating. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

It's so easy for me to say, "And look how charming it still is, even so bare," but I can't separate myself from hindsight. I know how it turned out, so how impartial can I really be?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, although undated, one of the photos in this bunch shows the Skyway. I suppose it could actually be from a different day, but it's hard to say. 1956 is still pretty early!

Chuck, it is kind of an unusual, extreme angle. Guess they wanted to fit the whole thing into the frame?

Anon, yes you are right… I need to actually think before I type dumb stuff like that!

Alonzo, I've read about how uncrowded the park could be in those first months of operation - if you went in the off season. This must have been one of those times.

K. Martinez, it does have a backlot feel, betraying the movie designers who designed so much of it!

Melissa, it's like looking at a photo of a not-especially-cute child who grew up to be a great beauty. Wish I could think of an example, but I'm drawing a blank right now!