Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Knott's Berry Farm Postcards - Ghost Town Characters

Today Ken Martinez has some great vintage postcards featuring some of the oddball characters that populated Knott's Berry Farm's old Ghost Town. Take it away, Ken:

Knott’s Ghost Town Characters

For today’s post I’m featuring a few characters from Knott’s Berry Farm.

The Miner Statue at Knott’s has been around for quite a while.  I know it has been moved around to various locations around the Farm but does anyone know if it still exists at Knott’s and if it does, where it’s located?

Sad Eyed Joe is probably the most famous Knott’s character that ever existed on the Farm.  He’s the one I remember most.  I’ve heard that the peek-ins have since been removed and the carved figures are up for auction.  All that history will soon be in the hands of private collectors.

I love this postcard of the Old Prospector at the mine entrance.  The mine tunnel entrance looks strangely similar to the entrance for the GhostRider wooden roller coaster.  Do any Knott’s experts know if the GhostRider entrance is related to or an homage to this vintage Knott’s location.

Here we have Chief White Eagle who appeared on other postcards along with Chief Red Feather.  I wonder if some of the Native Americans worked at both Disneyland and Knott’s from time to time or if they worked exclusively for Knott’s or Disney.

Upon trying to come up with some ideas for today’s postcard images, I discovered a site which has a comprehensive collection of postcard images and ephemera related to Southern California which I thought some GDB readers might find interesting.  I certainly found it interesting.

Hope you enjoyed checking out a few of the many characters at Knott’s Berry Farm!

Information Source material: 

I love these vintage Ghost Town characters! And the "Image Archeology" site that Ken has linked to is excellent, as he said. I've looked at it many times. THANKS, Ken!


TokyoMagic! said...

Yay, vintage Knott's! The miner and burro statues are still at Knott's I don't know if they are the exact same ones, or if they are copies, but today they sit atop of the wall at the Northeastern corner of Camp Snoopy and can still be seen by pedestrians and drivers at the intersection of Beach Blvd. and La Palma Ave. They are painted a dark bronze color, so they are sometimes difficult to see in the shadows of the surrounding trees. I believe there might have been duplicate set of these statues at one point, on the corner of Western and La Palma Avenues, before the Roaring Twenties area was built.....but don't quote me on that. When we visited Knott's, we always approached it going south on Beach Blvd. There was a smaller version of these figures that sat on top of a fountain in Ghost Town, adjacent to the mine entrance in your other postcard.

Sad Eyed Joe still exists too. Even though they got rid of the figures in the Assay Office, Wing Lee's, the Barber Shop, the Drug Store, and Goldie's Place, the Jail peek-in is still there and Joe still "speaks" to guests. For now, anyway. I don't trust Knott's anymore, so if he disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn't be surprised. The current Sad Eyed Joe is a copy. The head of the original figure can be viewed in the Western Trails Museum, just down a few doors from the Jail. For now, anyway! (It was still there two weeks ago!)

The mine entrance for Ghost Rider is the same one as the old mine in your postcard, they just redid the rockwork around it. As you walk down through the mine today, look down at the ground and you can see that the concrete changes where they shortened the original mine. It used to go down lower to the sunken area where Pan for Gold was located. Since they have filled that hole in, the mine only goes down about half as far as it used to and then levels off and becomes the queue for Ghost rider.

I think Chief White Eagle and Chief Red Feather were related. I want to say that they were brothers. I hope someone else (Outsidetheberm!) will chime in and confirm that for me!

Thanks for these wonderful vintage Knott's images, Ken and Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Looking again at that first postcard, I'm not sure that those are the miner and burro figures that were at the corner of Beach and La Palma. It doesn't look like there is a parking lot behind them. These might be the figures that I mentioned being at the corner of Western and La Palma. Again, I hope someone (Outsidetheberm!) will straighten that out!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I love these old shots. I miss the (as most poeple over 40 do)park as it was in my youth. The figures around the park (no matter how cheesy looking in quality)were what gave it charm. Whenever I travel through Wickenburg (AZ) I am always reminded of the Knott's figures when I see the figure under "The Jail Tree".


Thanks for posting.

Unknown said...

Kenny, Kenny, Kenny thanks so much. I always think of the miner statue as KBF's equivalent of Disneyland's castle as the representative icon for the park in general, like you'd see on rough tourist maps of the area. Good stuff...

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, Thanks for that mountain of information. I knew you'd come through. The longtime mystery of the Old Mine/GhostRider entrance connection is solved for me. Thanks!

Alonzo P. Hawk, I agree with you 100% that the cheese gives it its charm. The old time things at Knott's had a personal touch that didn't have that over polished corporate feel, but had more heart and a homemade feel to it.

Mr. Devlin, you are so welcome! I love the iconic miner statue and on my next visit to KBF, I'm going to make sure I find it and take a pic.

Thank you all!

Chuck said...

Ken, I'm late to the party, but thank you for sharing this!

outsidetheberm said...

Well, hey there! I just read your comment TokyoMagic!

I'd say you have everything pretty well covered, Chris. There were at least three different versions of the monument and statue - in various locations, as well. The Beach and La Palma site is probably best remembered. These statues were each duplicated and used at Calico Ghost Town, as well (along with a couple pretty wacky ones for guests to pose with!). You may also recall that there was a 'Minuteman' monument and statue over by Independence Hall. I'm not sure if that one is still there or has been moved. Maybe you've checked recently.

A few years back we came across a fiberglass copy of the Knott's monument statue at an antique shop in Big Bear Lake. Not sure where it came from, but they would not sell it.

The two chiefs are said to have been brothers, but this might be better verified through Chris Jepsen at the OC archives or Chris Merritt.

Fun post!

TokyoMagic! said...

OTB, thanks for that information! And yes, the Minuteman statue is still over by Independence Hall but it is not longer prominently displayed out at the corner of Beach Blvd. and Crescent Ave. It was moved further up Beach Blvd. when Soak City was built and it can easily be missed because Soak City's high wall blocks the view of it until you are pretty much already passing by it.

Anonymous said...

So cool, thanks everyone.

Still have my picture wearing one of the chief's feather headdresses.