Monday, February 18, 2019

Old Mill and Rafts, May 1966

In spite of my many photos of the Old Mill on Tom Sawyer Island, I am always happy to see it. Viewing it from this angle, there seems to be more stone than I remembered; I thought it was primarily weathered wood (except for that chimney, of course). Considering how often this feature was photographed, people must have found it more interesting than it gets credit for. And it is very pretty, with those vines growing all over it, flowers (narcissus?) growing by the water, and the little mill pond, full of laughing millipedes. 

Having to take a raft to Tom Sawyer Island is mighty impractical, but it sure is fun. I hardly ever board a raft in my daily life - no more than twice a week. Look at how lush and verdant Frontierland is! Also, notice the Keel Boat peeking around the bend in the distance.


TokyoMagic! said...

This post has reminded of something from my childhood. The local "Lucky" supermarket had some large framed photos of nature scenes for sale, back in the late seventies or early eighties. One of them just happened to be a photograph of the mill on Tom Sawyer Island. There wasn't a Disney label anywhere on it and it was a close-up shot, so there wasn't anything else showing in the pic that could make it identifiable as Disneyland. However, I knew what the mill on TSI looked like, so I knew exactly where the photo had been taken. I wonder if the person that ended up buying it knew?


TOKYOMAGIC: funny you mentioned that picture being sold at Lucky’s. In the late 70’s our neighbors did their living room with antiques like a 1800’s oak reed pump organ and other items that were probably modern but designed to look 70’s old fashioned. On the walls to the left and right of
the pump organ were old time looking sepia toned pictures ( the left side were people taking Baths in wood and metal tubs - nothing pornographic - ) the others on the right side were of what I recall mostly buildings like a old general store , a abandoned farmhouse and CLEARLY one was the Mill on Tom Sawyer Island!
In the 1990’s I was at Leon Jantzen’s House of The E Ticket magazine and On the wall of his living room was that exact same Mill image our neighbors also had - it must have been sold in quantity somewhere or sometime.

Somewhere I have a old burlap bag labeled in blue
“HARPERS MILL” that was used for the interior flour sacks inside the mill as props. While it is from Disneyland , I’ve never heard reference to The Old Mill at Disneyland as “Harper’s Mill” ...... but it is called that at Walt Disney World.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, Wow! Thanks for confirming that! I wonder how many of those framed photos still exist out there!

JC Shannon said...

The Old Mill is certainly frame-worthy. I wonder if Disney sold them, or if they were used by someone hoping no one would notice? This is one of the best photos of the Mill I have seen. Even in Montana, we don't take rafts all that often. We do, however, saddle up the occasional moose for short trips. If you want to cross the river, you can always talk a grizzly in to a piggy back ride if you have enough Kit Kat bars. Two absolute winners today, Major.

Dean Finder said...

Did the mill on TSI in Disneyland have a bird's nest in one of the wheels as a reference to "The Old Mill?" I noticed that there is one in Disney World's TSI, a detail lost on the vast majority of visitors.

Were the sails on the rafts ever unfurled? I don't think I've even seen it, but I suppose that it could have been a decent sun shade for the operator on a sunny day if it were on the south end of the boat.


DEAN FINDER: The Mills at Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland all featured a peg missing from one of the horizontal wheel “cogs” with a small bird in nest . The Mills also featured a recording of creaking machinery that created the tune “ Down By The Old Mill Stream” I’m not sure when the recording came into use, but it was use at Disneyland but it played until the original Mill was destroyed to make way for original Fantasmic construction. Tokyo DL used it since opening and WDW since the opening of Tom Sawyer’s Island in 1973.

Budblade said...

Are those moose antlers on the roof of the old mill?
I can’t think of a reason or story for them, but that’s sure what it looks like.

Nanook said...

@ Budblade-

Some sort of antlers, indeed. They're visible in many, many images all over the internet, and beyond.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, man, I’d love to see one of those framed photos that you mentioned! I really wonder if whoever manufactured them knew that the photo was from Disneyland, rather than some quaint old mill in Missouri? Very interesting!

Mike Cozart, first of all, I am disappointed that the photo of the people in the bath was not pornographic. What’s the point? ;-) I can almost picture the decor, with all that olde-timey stuff. Maybe some flocked wallpaper and burgundy shag carpet too? You mentioned Leon Janzen, do you happen to know if Jack Janzen is involved in any Disney-related activities anymore? The “E” Ticket magazine was one of the best publications ever.

TokyoMagic!, if you saw them at Lucky’s stores, there must have been a LOT of them at one time.

Jonathan, I would not be surprised if the photo of the Old Mill was used without permission. Most non-Disney fans (and that is a LOT of people) would have no clue. I thought people in Montana took rafts (or Grizzly bears) everywhere, so I am disappointed to learn otherwise. People in SoCal surf to work, you know! I wonder if it is possible to tame a moose so that you can ride it? They can be ornery.

Dean Finder, hm, I didn’t know about the bird’s nest detail… it’s a good one! Obscure enough that you had to be “in the know”, but you could appreciate it even if you hadn’t seen the film. And as far as I know, the sails on the rafts always remained furled.

Mike Cozart, more great info! And cool that they provided that detail at all three of those parks. I think I’ve heard that recording of “Down By The Old Mill Stream”. Not something I would want to listen to, but sort of fun I guess. Weren’t there frogs that made music too? Or am I thinking of some other attraction?

Budblade, those are definitely moose antlers. What, you don’t have antlers on your roof? What are you, some kind of weirdo?

Nanook, once one notices, it is amazing how many antlers are on various buildings in Frontierland. Or were.

TokyoMagic! said...

I didn't know that the mill at DL had the "bird in the nest" setup. I didn't know about WDW's either, until I took a pic with a flash and it showed up. Here's that pic (it's from 2011): Harper's Mill at WDW

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, that's a great photo! Amazing that you got the bird and its nest so well and weren't trying.


MAJOR: I don’t think The Old Mill on Tom Sawyers Island gestured sing frogs, but both Natures Wonderland and WDW’s Jungle Cruise featured frogs croaking rhythmically to almost sound like s tune or song. Maybe that’s what you are thinking of??

Anonymous said...

I loved the old mill. Sad that it is gone.

@Budblade and Major, I don't know why antlers are on the roof of so many "frontier era" buildings, but it must have been common since many buildings in DL Frontierland and also at Knotts have them.

I have seen them frequently on buildings like barns and stables in what passes for the frontier today. During our years in Siskiyou County, we took the kids to a horse ranch in Scott Valley several summers and most of their buildings had antlers laying on the roof just like this. I don't know if they were from animals hunted for meat and this was a way of cleaning the antlers, or if they were meant as a deterrent to vermin. It's a mystery why, but I have seen it in real life.


Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, that is a great photo. I don't recall that detail before. Thanks for posting it.