Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Frontierland Station, September 1966

Here are two nice photos featuring the old Frontierland Station; it was only recently that I was surprised to learn that the name wasn't changed to "New Orleans Square Station" until September, 1996. When today's pictures were taken, New Orleans Square had only been open for two months. Hard to believe! 

Fire was obviously a big concern in ye olden days; a barrel full of sand could quench flames pretty well. I wonder if that red barrel actually held sand, just in case? A luggage wagon with a few trunks awaits the next train.

Hooray for the Santa Fe logo! I really love this little station, with its gingerbread details and angled roof. It resembles an oversized toy. The windows are open, I wonder if that's significant in any way? Did the DLRR staff use that building as a break room?


Chuck said...

Steve Degaetano can tell the definitive story, but I believe the station was used as a break area for crews until the interior was gutted for use as the PBX switch for the Park's telephone system (or maybe a just portion of the Park). Interesting to get a glimpse of the interior with all of the windows - including the one over the door - open, which indicates it was authentic enough not to have air conditioning. Would be willing to bet the Major's car that it's air conditioned like a refrigerator now with all of that electronic equipment inside.

So, now that we know that the freight house was originally the Frontierland bathrooms, does anyone know which side was for which gender?

Chuck said...

Also - any ideas as to what that box next to the station door was for? A telephone, maybe?

Andrew said...

I second the fact that the station looks weird with open windows...and on the other side of the tracks, for that matter!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I have all of Steve DeGaetano’s books, so I probably read about the gutting of the old Frontierland train station. But as you know, I never remember anything, so it’s like it’s all new to me! Man, I’ll bet it got HOT and stuffy in that building, but like you said, it just added to the authenticity. And please don’t bet my Koenigsegg Travita (which I call “the jalopy”)!

Chuck, now I wish I had a reverse angle so that I could get a better look at that box. It could be so many things…

Penna. Andrew, in a way the open windows make the station look more “in use”, instead of boarded up and abandoned. My brain automatically makes up a story as to why somebody needed a little crossbreeze.

JC Shannon said...

"Santa Fe, all the way, It's fun to ride the train!" That was a jingle I remember from TV, in the 60s. The depot looks like a movie set, all you need is John Wayne or Randolph Scott. Maybe the little box is for messages to be sent by the telegrapher. Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

Sorry, Major - I was thinking about your Lamborghini Veneno (the roadster, not the coupe; I know that one's off limits). Totally forgot about the Travita.

The depot probably got even more stuffy than it originally was once they moved it up against the berm as it is here.

And you may want to give Steve's books back before he misses them. Library theft is a capital crime in some jurisdictions. Probably.

Matthew said...

I never had the privileged of working the trains so unfortunately, I cannot answer everyone's great questions. However, looking at the little box next to the door, my guess is a telephone as there was an identical little box like that at Fowler's Harbor.

A couple of things catch my eye in this second photo. First is the reflection of people's backs in the window and green striped awning on the train. the second is the grass at the far end of the station and the trees. Much of the berm in that location had ivy covering it so to actually see grass off that side is a surprise. Finally, I like that it is still daytime yet the lanterns are all lit and very visible in the photos. Makes me think dusk was upon us... but then again, I know sometimes the light timers would get off and lights would pop on too early or stay on all day. Time to call in that Maintenance Request.

Wonderful post Major! Thanks!

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Melissa said...

Wouldn't railroad workers call it a brake room? Hyuck hyuck hyuck, I slay me.

A barrel full of real sand would probably have been mistaken for an ashtray back in the smoke-anywhere days.

Hot or cool, this little station looks so charming and peaceful it really brightens my day.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a favorite building at Disneyland. Scale, proportion, color and detail are just perfect. The only thing missing is rhinestone shingles.

Major, take a look back at my photos taken when the railroad was closed down for realignment of the River. I don't recall that (phone?) box being there at that time. I know I took a reverse angle of the building in that visit and walked right along that boardwalk.

I remember Steve D reporting that this building was based on a real design for a station, he posted a link to the pattern book with the original drawings. Undoubtedly there were some modifications made to site-adapt the design to Disneyland, much the same way that identical Burger Kings are made to fit in every shopping center.

Did not know the PBX gear was stowed away in here. Chuck, you are right, lots of A/C required for that use. I'm surprised that they would locate that equipment here since that much A/C is hard to hide with a steep pitch roof where you can't ground-mount condensers, and there is a lot of underground required for the wiring service entrance, which is obviously not installed overhead (the cheaper option). I would have guessed this gear would be in a purpose-built structure backstage which could accommodate all the specialized services required and no one would care how it looked.

Thanks for these great pictures of this little gem, Major.



Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, when you look at old ads for train travel, there does seem to be a lot of romance about it. Especially Santa Fe ads, that used artwork to depict Indians on horseback on the rim of the Grand Canyon, or some such place.

Chuck, it’s OK, even I forget what cars I own! Two years ago I went to “Laws Railroad Museum” in Bishop, California. You could walk into old wooden structures, and even though it was a very hot day, it wasn’t that bad indoors somehow. Sorry Steve, you’ll just have to come and get those books!

Matthew, could you have asked to work on the Disneyland RR if you’d really wanted to? I think a phone is as good a theory as any. Good eye on those details, like the people reflected in the glass, or the little grassy area beyond. Ivy is nice if you want to cover an area fast, but don’t plant it in your yard! It will take over the world. And you can’t kill it.I do think that they turned the lights on when it was still very light outside, but would love to know if the park had rules about that.

Melissa, you have been channeling Wally Boag again! If the sand barrels were treated like ashtrays, at least the butts would not be dropped on the ground.

JG, they could always paint the shingles a nice pink, too! The brighter, the better. I’ve watched several YouTube videos with people commenting on the new castle paint job, and the response is “unreserved enthusiasm”. No surprise. I’ll have to go back and look at those photos you took and see if the box is still there. I’m sort of surprised that the park would need such a large space for their communication stuff, but what do I know.

Anonymous said...

Major, I found those pics on this computer. And yes, the little white box is there, in the same place, or close to it. No signs or indications of what it is.

Modern telecom and network data equipment serving the whole Park would occupy several buildings or rooms the size of the old station, with approximately an equal area of HVAC support. I don't design the network equipment, but we have to make room for it, and it takes up a lot of space and resources. Worse, much of it has to be distributed around, it's not easily centralized, so there's stuff everywhere.

In the past (1980's), you could do a whole school with a little closet too small to step into. Now, every building has a couple hundred square feet or more, which adds up over the full campus. I'm looking at a new school right now with a whole building dedicated to the IT function. In the modern Park, it is likely that every building and certainly every "Land" has a lot of space dedicated to network and wireless systems, hidden somewhere.

Disney should market those rhinestone shingles since they are so popular. If you could order a Wurlitzer in Main Street, why not get a re-roof in Fantasyland?


TokyoMagic! said...

It's odd to see the windows wide open here. Like JG, I visited the park during the time the DL R.R. was shut down for the construction of Wookie World and I walked across the tracks to get a close-up view of the station. That center window is actually cracked open just a bit and a telegraph is mounted to the window sill, on the outside. I'm not sure why it is on the outside, other than for the benefit of guests to see it when passing by on the train. I did stick my camera in through the open window, hoping to get a pic of the interior of the station, but all I got was a photo of a piece of plywood, which had been placed on the other side of the glass. That green pull-down shade, hides it from the view of the guests.

Major, here is a pic of JG's from your June 2017 post, showing the open window with the telegraph mounted outside: Frontierland Train Station

Chuck said...

That telegraph key on the outside looks just plain weird. Maybe they think guests won't understand what that clicking noise is unless they see a telegraph key...a technology that 99% of them will never have seen in person anyway.

Using this same logic, I can't wait to see what they mount to the outside of the dentist's window on E. Center.

Laws looks like my kind of place. Now, if I can only justify my dream trip to drive the entirety of old Route 6...

Dean Finder said...

Maybe the outdoor key was installed just while guests could walk to the station so they could "practice their hand" on the wire.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, ah interesting, I’m sort of amazed that the box is still there. I guess I thought that with electronic things being so much more efficient in size than in the old days (think of the room that UNIVAC required!), telecom equipment might not need that much space. But then I thought of my old office, where they had a decent sized “walk in closet” for all of those hot electronics. Maybe the rhinestone shingles could produce solar energy, at least that would give them a real reason for existing.

TokyoMagic!, that is very strange that the telegraph is mounted outside the window sill. Are people really do dumb that they can’t hear a telegraph and know what it’s supposed to be? It’s not like I grew up with telegraphs, but somehow I knew. Maybe I’m a genius! Too bad your sneaky photo attempt didn’t work, that would have been cool. Thank you for the link to JG’s picture!

Chuck, I agree, it is just dumb to have the telegraph key out like that. Bad show. But how does the saying go? Nobody ever went broke underestimating the public? Perhaps that applies here. And I love that part of California, I’ll bet there are all sorts of hidden wonders to see if one was willing to take one’s time.

Dean Finder, you might be right, although it sounds like the key was there for a long time before (and after) guests were allowed to walk anywhere near it.

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, thanks for posting that link. I don't know how to do that.

Looking back at that trip, I am kicking myself for not walking down to the warehouse and taking more photos there.

Major, the smaller the electronic gear gets, the more of it everyone wants. I think solar shingles will be a "thing", eventually. BTW, I don't mean to say that it's impossible that a PBX of the late '80's or '90's wouldn't fit in the old station, just that the station isn't an optimum location for the stuff we use today.