Thursday, May 23, 2019

Rainbow Ridge, September 1966

Rainbow Ridge sure looked like a nice place to live. So neat 'n tidy compared to the raw wood and dirt roads that you see in old western movies. Raise your family there, and junior will probably grow up to be a lawman, while your daughter will be a mezzo soprano, performing at the nearby opera house. 

The thriving town has hotels, saloons, churches, schools, hardware stores, and even a newspaper. What more could a person want or need?

Here's an unusual angle from the deck of the Columbia, where we can see some of the northernmost structures that don't appear in most photos. 


TokyoMagic! said...

I don't think I've ever noticed that "Groceries" sign before, on the building above Pat Casey's Last Chance Saloon.

Major, that second pic is remarkably similar to this photo from "Matterhorn 1959", which he let me use in my "Disneyland's Stagecoach" post from October of 2015. The difference is, in your 1966 photo, those buildings were behind the Pack Mule loading area. In his photo, the Pack Mules had been removed from the park, and one of the original DL stagecoach vehicles had been parked in front of the former loading area.

Andrew said...

I never knew about those hidden buildings in the back! Did they used to be more visible from the Pack Mules?

Anonymous said...

Rainbow Ridge never looked particularly "real" to me as a kid, but it didn't matter because the ride was so wonderful! The Rainbow Caverns part with the theremin music was the perfect ending! They should have had Big Thunder slow down and go through it at the end. Oh well...

Melissa said...

Nice beds $1 - can I get a crummy bed for 50 cents?

Stu, you make me think of the decoy town they built in Blazing Saddles.

DrGoat said...

Ah Rainbow Ridge. Apart from Main street the other Willoughby of Disneyland. Wanted to live there since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Great pics Major and Tokyo. Neat to see the growth of the vegetation from '59 to '66.

JC Shannon said...

It's gonna be a great day. A saloon, opera house and $1 beds. This town has everything I tell ya. The view from the Columbia is great. Nice to see the town from a different angle. It's awful quiet in town today. Everyone must be taking a nap. Thanks Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I think if we pulled a Peter Pan off the slow moving train we would just wind up scuffed up and thrown out of the park not transported to
1966 Rainbow Ridge. But I'll give it go, just in case. Bonzai!

I guess it's a little weird (like me) but when I was young and visiting this area it was around the time of the Willy Wonka movie (1971) and I somehow thought there might be some western folk (of small stature) that actually lived in Rainbow Ridge's undersized structures.

Nice pics Major, Thanks.

Nanook said...


I think Rainbow Ridge was the off-season home to the Singer Midgets-!

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I think that the “Groceries” building is usually blocked by the Last Chance Saloon. Matterhorn1959’s photo is very similar! Funny to see the Stagecoach parked there. It still surprises me that the Pack Mules were there until 1973.

Penna. Andrew, yes, I believe that the mules took a trail that went behind Rainbow Ridge, so that you could look down on it from the back.

Stu29573, I’ve always thought that Rainbow Ridge looked like a western town from a miniature railroad, only enlarged to almost full-size. Man, I’d love it if there was still something akin to Rainbow Caverns. Big Thunder has something that you can see on a lift hill, but it’s so brief, it doesn’t make much of an impression.

Melissa, you will have to share the 50 cent beds with varmints.

DrGoat, I remember hearing the sound effects coming from inside the Saloon, dentist, etc. Even though I knew they were just recordings, I still wanted to see what was inside! As if there were actors in there just waiting for somebody to discover them.

Major Pepperidge said...

Good grief, walk away from the computer for just a few minutes…!

Jonathan, I like to hang around the hardware store and listen to the local gossip. I wonder if they stored random stuff in those structures? Paper cups, paper bags, junk like that?

Alonzo, instead of running into your own father in Willoughby, at Rainbow Ridge you’d run into your great grandpappy! I think that the smaller buildings were (for me) sort of a cue that I was the same scale. Which I guess is weird.

Nanook, I wish!

stu29573 said...

Oh my gosh! I found the Rainbow Caverns theme music on You Tube and for a moment I was back there. I actually felt a thrill in my heart! From when Disney really was "magical."

zach said...

Nice beds, sheets extra- just like at home.

I wonder if the tooth above the dentist or the fire bucket are still there. If not, I want 'em!

We had a model railroad set up in the attic when I was a kid and I wanted to duplicate Rainbow ridge on our layout. It never happened, though.

I'll have one more Sarsaparilla then head up the hill to home.

Thanks for the photos, Major.


Anonymous said...

Like everyone else here, I wanted to get off the train on the town side and go exploring in the little buildings. I think living here would be so great, imagine the view of TSI and the River from the top of the hill, but I would be like Alice in Wonderland with my legs sticking out the door and an arm out each window.

The 50 cent beds come complete with animatronic bed bugs.

Today's Rainbow Ridge isn't too bad. All the buildings have been replaced due to dry rot and animatronic termites, but the general feel is still there. The sound tracks might even be the originals. Seems like the saloon sound track involved breaking glass, but can't be sure.

The blog "Long Forgotten" has some good info on the cemetery that was near the church in Rainbow Ridge, confirming that the building was intended as a church initially. We have wondered here at GDB if it was a school or a church, since the bell tower was kind of ambiguous. Long Forgotten is promising some follow-up on the cemeteries of Disneyland, so that will be fun to see.

@David Zacher, I think Daveland had a long thread on the dentist sign a few years back, related to the reconstruction. I can't recall what was done with it, I think there is a replica. The Daveland site has an amazing amount of photos and reminiscence stories by visitors and staff concerning the Mine Trains and Rainbow Ridge. Worth a look.

Thanks Major. Always happy to visit Rainbow Ridge.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I know you saw this when I originally posted it in 2015, but here is that photo that I took as a child, showing those same buildings with the stagecoach parked in front, but from the opposite angle. The Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland loading area, was just out of frame and to the right: Former Pack Mule loading area and Disneyland Stagecoach - 1976

Major Pepperidge said...

stu29573, that Rainbow Caverns track is one of my all-time favorites. At some point years ago I’d found a terrible copy, but it was all that was available. Then Disney released a beautiful clean copy. So great!

dzacher, I can only sleep on a circular water bed with satin sheets. Don’t judge me! Yes, that tooth would be a great souvenir. I would be tempted to climb up and “appropriate” it. I heard rumors that an Imagineer was building a Rainbow Caverns in his backyard, but I have no idea if it was ever completed. Do you want that sarsparilla in a dirty glass? I’ll have a red eye, whatever that is.

JG, There’s something about a little town like that - it brings out the nosy explorer in people. What would you see if you looked through that tiny window up there? Is there furniture in the hotel? I like the current-day Rainbow Ridge just fine, it’s certainly better than NO Rainbow Ridge. I’ve seen “Long Forgotten” and his amazing article about the cemeteries of Disneyland, it is (like all of his articles) super entertaining to read. Glad you enjoyed your visit to Rainbow Ridge!

TokyoMagic!, I may have seen that photo back in 2015, but this might as well be the first time. My brain. Very cool that the photo was taken by you! You already knew what was interesting. Thank you for the link!

Melissa said...

Just around the corner,
There's a Rainbow Ridge I spy,
So, let's have another sarsaparilla;
And let's have another shot of rye.
Trouble's like a bubble,
And the train will soon roll by,
So let's have another glass of rotgut,
And let's have another of redeye.

stu29573 said...

Ok, now I have to put it to music.... Lol, I love it!

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, "Over the Rainbow"......"Rainbow Ridge"......I see what you did there!

TokyoMagic! said...

Oooh, Melissa.....I just now saw what you did there, as well! Irving Berlin! Desi Aranz sang part of that song on an episode of that 1950's TV show that he co-starred in, with his wife.

Nanook said...

@ TM!-
Actually, I would've used the Singer Midgets reference whether or not "Over the Rainbow" was part of The Wizard of Oz, or not. Merely the fact they co-starred in the film was all I needed - although I love the *extra* connection. Actually, that's the second time I've used the Singer Midgets reference in the last two days - it must come in waves.

Now - as for that certain other TV show, starring a famous redhead...

@ Melissa-

stu29573 said...

Lol, I was too tired to realize it was Over the Rainbow!

Anonymous said...

I love GDB...