Friday, July 29, 2016

Pack Mules, Stage Coach, and More - November 1955

Here is another selection of images from 1955! This time I am sharing two exceptionally nice photos from Frontierland. Both are from the same general area, where guests could queue up for a ride on a Pack Mule, or a Conestoga Wagon, or a Stagecoach.

I love just about everything about this first photo, with a line of Pack Mules returning from a trip through the wilderness - this was pre-Nature's Wonderland of course, so at this early date the scenery probably consisted of a lot of freshly-created hills sparsely covered with scrubby plants. I guess the Rainbow Desert was there by now, so at least they would have seen some bubbling paint pots (?) and kooky saguaros. 

The cut ends of the fences still look fresh. I like the crude little corral in the middle, complete with a wooden trough for some comedy relief bumpkin to fall in.

Now we've moved up a few steps, and to our right are the load areas for the Conestoga Wagons and the Stagecoaches. Unlike most Western tableaus, there is a Bavarian castle peeking up over the bluffs. Pay it no mind! Ah, to have been there in the park's first year, knowing what I now know... it would be amazing.

I wonder why that guy has a shovel? Probably going to dig a hole. Yeah, that's it.


Nanook said...


Wowie-zowie - 1955-! That's something you don't see everyday. Is that a flag of some sort peaking-up over the hillside-? And I suspect that shovel is for... um - keeping the wild west free of, uh - you know - what, with so many horses and mules out and about.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Oh Wow!! It's images like this that make we wish I was born earlier so I could've seen the birth of Disneyland when I could actually comprehend what Disneyland was. I love this!

And why oh why can't they bring back animal-powered transportation to Disneyland's Frontierland? Well, maybe they could have Bantha rides on the northern border of Frontierland.

Between Tomorrowland Lake and early Frontierland I'm really enjoying this weeks posts. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I was just looking at some paperwork from when I was in the park's Christmas parade and there were 14 horses in that parade! I'm wondering how much longer they'll keep the Horse-drawn Streetcar around....especially now that the horses have all been moved off-property.

Melissa said...

The shovel is how they took care of unruly guests in the old days.

There's some good peoplewatching-in the second picture. Looks like a young Lee Harvey Oswald just to the right of the lady in the floral dress. And is the bobbysoxed girl holding her skirt in preparation for a climb over the fence?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

These are a couple of great shots with a perspective we have rarely seen before,thanks for posting. I love how timing makes a world of difference to a shot. For example how the lady behind appears to be growing out of the top of the (poop-there I said it)shovelers ten gallon hat. Maybe it's an miniture alter ego like on those tv commercials. Have a great friday..and weekend too.

Chuck said...

I see unhealthy & unsafe practices everywhere. There's no handrail on the load ramp of the Conestoga wagon, guest access to roof seating on the stagecoach is by a 7-foot, moveable ladder, and there's a guy working more than three feet off the ground without a safety harness, helmet, or net. For crying out loud - there's poop in the streets! I'll bet those fresh-cut fence ends aren't even sanded smooth.

Tom said...

Wonderful photos today! I can't say enough about how awesome they are. Beautiful color, crisp and clear - yet some of the earliest of the park yet. Just wow. I would pay big fat money to ride on one of those stagecoaches.

Unknown said...

Oh boy, what a time and what pictures. The earliest Frontierland shots are among my all time favorites. Early though some of my memories might be, there are a raft of sights I'd love, like Ken, to have experienced. The utterly open, dirty, rustic views are certainly among those experiences.

Anonymous said...

These are remarkably clear photos of this early era. The scruffy landscaping is a preview of the revised Rivers of America that will open next spring.

I can't imagine that anything will ever be this rough or primitive again.


K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I wonder how many horses are left? Do you know how many horses they keep for the two Horse-Drawn Street Cars in operation? I'd assume they have shifts and alternate days for the animals they keep.

Chuck, I would love to see horse and mule poop on the streets of Frontierland. These days Frontierland has become way to sanitized and tame for my tastes.

Chuck said...

I don't know, Ken. People could slip on it and hurt themselves.

I'm still incredulous that they sell unpeeled bananas from the fruit carts. I mean, come on - have they not even watched their own cartoons??!!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m not sure about that flag, could it be a pennant flying from the top of the Pirate Ship? And I know what you are trying to say about that shovel… it’s for killing horseflies. Those things bite!

K. Martinez, ME TOO. I know why they don’t use more animals… they’re expensive, for one thing, and the park gets so crowded that they can’t run the horse-drawn vehicles all day (or at least that’s what I have been told). I had to look up what a “Bantha” is.

TokyoMagic!, I am not optimistic about the future of Disneyland’s horses.

Melissa, you’re right, nothing gets an obnoxious guest in line like the business end of a shovel! Lee Harvey Oswald - imagine if there really WAS a photo of him at Disneyland!!

Alonzo, I loved these for the same reasons as you. As for the poop, I don’t understand. Why would there be poop? Makes no sense. Come on, Alonzo!

Chuck, I’ll bet that guy doesn’t even have his level 4 shovel license. I wear a safety harness when I am blogging (and responding to comments).

Tom, I admit it, today’s photos are a lot better than the usual GDB offerings.

Patrick Devlin, I’m sure that a lot of the things that I would want to see would baffle someone from 1955. “Why would you want to see all that dirt?”. “You’ll understand in 60 years”.

JG, I really am curious as to how much landscaping will be incorporated into the revamped north end of Frontierland…

K. Martinez, I would like know how many horses are left as well. Not so sure about wanting to see horse poop in Frontierland!

Chuck, they should sell pre-peeled bananas.

Anonymous said...

@Major, I am wondering how or if the "drought" will impact the choices of landscaping on the new River. I'm also very curious to see if there's a change in the Fantasmic program as a result of the new boat storage under the waterfall. There might be a whole new pirate ship stored in there, just for the show.

Disney went to great lengths to eliminate horse poop on Main Street, down to potty-training the poor horses. Highly unlikely that road apples will make any appearance in other places in the park.

I can't say I enjoy the smell of horse manure, but it's not the backwoods without it, and I miss those years.


Melissa said...

That's one of the nice things about Walt Disney World - you can visit the Circle D Ranch, where all the working horses from the resort live. You can even pay to ride one, although it's on the pricey side.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I'm not sure about how many horses are used these days. A few months ago, I was asking a C.M. that operates the Horse Drawn Streetcar about how many hours the horses worked but I already forgot the answer! She did say that they are trucked over to the park now. I can't imagine that they like that....especially after so many years of living on the same property where they worked.

Unknown said...

I just talked to my brother the CM. He and some other cast members got to tour the Circle D before demo took place. Great info about a cool bit of Disney history. The pertinent info is that there are currently 13 horses in the cast (hey! they have name tags, so...) and they're stabled out towards Yorba Linda at a saddle club out there.

Mark H. Besotted said...

Major, you've been posting for a whole decade of Aprils now. I'm surprised you haven't, um, unearthed a photo of ol' Lee Harvey riding the teacups by now.

Ask not what Photoshop can do for you...