Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Frontierland, July 1958

Here are two nice photos of Frontierland in the early days. We'll start with this uncommon view of the Indian Village, where one could catch a canoe around the river, or watch traditional Indian dancing, or learn a thing or two about the way that different tribes lived. 

I love the look of this area, with the wide dirt paths (did it turn to muck when it rained?), and Flintstones-style benches. 

What a beautiful photo of the Columbia! As pretty as a painting. The Columbia was brand new, having debuted only a few weeks before this picture was taken. Of course it would have been nice if the sails had been unfurled, but you can't have everything.


Nanook said...


There's something right-nice and unique about that view of the Indian Village - a uniqueness that seems to have long-ago vanished from The Happiest Place On Earth. Too bad.

And that Columbia view is indeed "as pretty as a painting"... except for that elbow. The nerve of some people-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

To think that Critter Country and Splash Mountain now occupy the Indian Village site. My how the "hard facts that have created America" has changed through the years.

That's an awesome shot of the Columbia. Perhaps well get lucky someday and someone will publish a coffee table book titled "Disneyland Ships - Sails Unfurled".

Nice visit to the early Frontier. Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I agree Major. It never rains in Southern California (as the song goes), right? The first thing I thought of when the picture popped up and before I read your commentary was MUD.

I'll bet after a good soaking rain the Indian Village, Conestoga Wagons, Mule Rides, and until it was engulfed in plant life Tom Sawyers Island were a big pile of mud and had to be closed. This had to play into the demise of most of those early attractions. Holiday Hill was probably renamed "Muddy Mound".

Pegleg Pete said...

Great pics today, Major. I especially like that you can see the Tom Sawyer Island map expanded as a display on the left-hand side of that first photograph.

Chuck said...

Good eye, Pegleg Pete! Was that on the path that led to the raft landing that ferried guests over to Huck's Landing near the fort?

Tom said...

I am so happy to see a reverse angle on that birch-covered longhouse! This is a unique view for sure, taken from what I believe to be a spot that is now smack in the middle of the Hungry Bear. It's amazing how much things have changed since then: what was once pretty much flat and level is now hilly and winding.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing all the walkways and pathways in Frontierland were decomposed granite, a material that hard packs down, and even gets harder when wetted. As long as drainage is taken into account, it would be fine in the rain.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it is kind of interesting how Frontierland became kind of a relic of what was popular in the 1950’s/60’s; as much as I love these photos I understand why they needed to change the place. And I don’t mind that elbow so much!

K. Martinez, that would be a pretty slim volume - I sure don’t see many photos of the Columbia under full sail. The rafts have sails, I wonder if there was ever any plan to have those unfurled?

Alonzo, I’ve seen a few random photos of Frontierland with puddles in the dirt, presumably after a rain. Imagine running around on Tom Sawyer Island during a heavy rain! If you were prepared to just be wet, maybe it would be fun.

Pegleg Pete, yes, I saw that map. Daveland had an awesome photo of it a few weeks ago.

Chuck, since it was a map of Tom Sawyer Island, it makes sense that it would be near the rafts. Notice the raft at the right edge of photo #2.

Tom, I am always a bit confused as to exactly where some of that old stuff was in relation to today. The Hungry Bear sounds like a good guestimate though!

Anonymous, I thought that it might be some sort of crushed stone or gravel (did not know about decomposed granite!). I realize that these items can come in many hues, but it looks so much like dirt! I’m sure you are correct though. Those Imagineers were no dummies.

walterworld said...

In 1999 at the height of the Paul Presler(?) or whatever era, I rode the Columbia in the morning with my son and found everything, including the back cabin...unlocked. Me and Nick circled the backside of the Rivers Of America from the Captain's Cabin no less. I took a couple of pictures but sadly none looking directly out the back windows... I could have also made off with a 1959 iron lock that was left on one of the doors to a side room, but didn't. Maybe someone else did later that day though...who knows. It was sad to see the lack of attention being paid in that era.