Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Knott's Calico Mine Train

I love today's main photo, featuring the still-wonderful Calico Mine Train at Knott's Berry Farm! It's a beauty, with dramatic lighting that emphasizes the rock work, with a single little locomotive sitting on the track. Notice the sign on the ticket booth - "Mine Under Construction". This photo is dated November 1960, and the Mine Train debuted that very month… it sure looks ready to go!

By the way, see that framed picture in the lower left?

Here's a closer look; it's very odd to see it just leaning against the rocks like that. It's obviously a conceptual painting showing guests what to expect.

I asked Chris Merritt (Imagineer and author of the excellent "Knott's Preserved" book - now out of print, apparently) if he recognized the artwork, and he sent along two images that he allowed me to share with you. This first one shows the painting in glorious black and white.

And in this neat construction photo, you can see the artwork mounted on that pole, beneath a shady awning. I wonder if this painting still survives somewhere?

Thanks to Chris Merritt for sharing these photos from his archives!


Nanook said...


I was gonna say the picture probably adorned a small section of the construction fence that kept out curious looky-loos - but apparently not.

Thanks, Major, for sharing these great images.

K. Martinez said...

That mule/burro in the construction pic is interesting. What's it doing there?

Nice images of a Knott's classic. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

It's a dangerous job, but somebody has to go deep into the hills and dig out all the calico for them that prairie dresses.

Anonymous said...

The mule rider looks like a park visitor. I bet the mule ride was in operation during construction.

Major, these are awesome. I never thought to see construction pics of the Mine Train.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, isn't it odd to see how open the construction area was? Construction walls be damned!

K. Martinez, even after the Mine Train was completed they continued to run the mule ride on the same path (surprisingly).

Melissa, our calico reserves have been severely depleted, but asteroids have been found that are 99% pure calico!

JG, yes, I agree with you about the mule ride. Thank Chris Merritt for the construction pix!

K. Martinez said...

It just seems strange to have a mule ride operating around a construction zone like that.

Anonymous said...

Since much of the rock work has wood framing, I wonder how well it has held up over the years (compared toCascade Peak and the Matterhorn at DL?