Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Knott's Berry Farm!

I have some very nice old Knott's Berry Farm images for you today, starting with this neat picture of the front of the ol' #40, the "Gold Nugget", built in 1881 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Chuggety-chug.

There's the little train depot and its pal, the water tower. Both are excited to greet their new neighbor, the Calico Mine Ride. I like the line of benches placed near the ticket booth for people who were "just looking". I'm surprised how close the parking lot was (to the right).

And here is one of Bud Hurlbut's cute little mine trains, looking so shiny and new. They aren't real steam locomotives, but it's hard not to love them just as much, given their history (nearly 60 years of use).

Here is a closeup of the sign for Chuck!


K. Martinez said...

It's interesting to see old photos of Knott's through the years where you can see the multiple parking lots surrounding Ghost Town eventually giving way to additions like Panning for Gold, Calico Mine Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Roaring 20's/Airfield and Camp Snoopy. Little by little the place expanded replacing the parking lots.

Love all three pics today, but Bud Hurbut's little mine train is my favorite. Thanks, Major.

stu29573 said...

I love the shot of the Gold Nugget! Now there's an engine that means business! It just reeks of determination! (and grease, but it's rude to talk about it) Great shots today!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Looks way better and makes a much nicer picture to not have the safety fencing around the steam loco's. I guess it's required today to keep the mass of smart phone addicted zombies (like my kids)from walking into the trains in motion. Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Great photos today. I never realized there was once a depot next to the water tower. All the times we went in the '70s through the early 2000s, there was a much smaller station on the side of the tracks opposite the water tower.

JC Shannon said...

I sense a rail fan theme here. What is it about a steam locomotive? So cool. Knott's has a personality all it's own, and in the early 60s, it was the place to go for kid's birthday parties. Many happy days spent running around and riding. Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

Any idea what the sign in front of the big, open expanse between us and the locomotive says?

Melissa said...

I can't make out the writing on the little brown sign on the easel. Anyone else know what it says?

Nanook said...


Once again, that elusive time machine would be so welcome right about now.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa, the only words I can read are (1st line) "This is Picture _______ " and 4th line: "To Photograph." Must be like Disneyland's Kodak picture spots? I bet the Major can see the words more clearly and help us out . . .


Andrew said...

"Baldwin Locomotive Works" - I've heard that before somewhere. Did they build trains that made their way into other theme parks?

Any park with a real, live steam locomotive always earns bonus points in my book!

Nanook said...

I believe that sign is, as Sue has surmised, the Knott's Berry Farm version of the Kodak Picture Spot - which say [approx.] the following: This is picture set No:'X' Made especially for our visitors to photograph. We invite you to be in the picture, too. There are three smaller words following, at the extreme bottom of the sign which are too small to discern. LOOKIE HERE for an example.

Oh, Major... the answer was here all along.

Chuck said...

Andrew, Baldwin locomotives are preserved and operating at several theme parks around the US. At Disneyland, the three historic (i.e., "non-Disney-built," although the two Disney-built locomotives at Disneyland are old enough and significant enough to be considered "historic" in their own right) locomotives are all Baldwins, and all four locomotives at WDW's Magic Kingdom were are also produced by the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

You can find a fairly comprehensive listing of steam locomotives at American theme parks and zoos at this link.

Chuck said...

Andrew, just re-read your comment and belatedly understood your intent. Looks like my Sarcasm Detection Meter needs recalibrating... :-)

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I wonder how much land Walter Knott had to acquire after buying his original parcel? As you pointed out, what used to be parking areas were turned into rides. Info like that seems to be readily available for Disneyland, but not so much for other places.

stu29573, yeah, that looks like a real workhorse of a locomotive. It’s nice to know that it has spent its later years taking it easy (as opposed to hauling heavy loads up the Rockies or whatever)!

Alonzo, it would be asking for trouble if they didn’t have the safety fencing, but I totally agree, it looks amazing without it. The durn train runs right through the middle of the park! What a crazy idea!

Steve DeGaetano, that depot has shown up in some other photos of Knott’s, I really like its humble appearance - it feels authentic somehow. Is the smaller station that you mentioned gone now?

Jonathan, I’ll bet that a lot of people who look at GDB are rail fans - I definitely became interested through the Disneyland trains, but my appreciation has grown to the point where I’ve been to several rail museums.

Chuck, I will add an enlargement of the sign - I’m having a hard time deciphering all of it, even at high res.

Melissa, see my message to Chuck!

Nanook, you ain’t kidding!!

Lou and Sue, I think you are right, the sign must have indicated a good spot to take a picture, though I do kind of wonder if they sometimes had a genuine Indian or burro or something else to sweeten the deal.

Penna. Andrew, I was all set to answer your question, but good old Chuck has done the heavy lifting for me!

Nanook, ah, that is actually very helpful. I’ll still put up the enlargement for Chuck, but the link is more legible.

Chuck, thank you for answering Penna. Andrew’s question! Baldwin Locomotive Works must have been one of the largest manufacturers of steam locomotives in the US.

Melissa said...

Thanks, Nanook!

Andrew said...

Chuck - Actually I wasn't being saracastic, but I can see how someone could pick that up from my comment. (Gotta be more careful, I guess...) Although I wish I knew everything, I don't consider myself learned enough to make sarcastic comments like that. Not yet, at least. :) Now that you so kindly replied, I definitely remembering hearing how Baldwin built the Disney trains.

I just figured I'd throw the question out there; I knew somebody would be an expert. And thanks for the link! It looks like a wealth of information.

Anonymous said...

I tried posting earlier and blogger ate my homework.

Mom used to wait on those benches while Dad and I rode the Mine Train. She couldn't stand anything loud or scary, so the dynamite scene was right out.

I never realized how big the Knotts trains were as a kid. I guess anything looked really big when you are small, so the Knotts and Disney trains seemed the same size.

I've wondered why Knotts didn't build an underpass, similar to that for Toontown, to let modern litigious and unobservant visitors go under the tracks. Seems like plenty of room to get the right grading. Maybe too much money or something.

Thanks Major, for these old Knotts photos. Very welcome to see.


Chuck said...

Major, thanks for the close-up! I still can't read it; maybe I should put on my glazzex.

Andrew, this blog attracts so many people with great senses of humor who know so many things about so many things that sometimes it's hard to tell when someone's being subtly humorous or serious. And you've fit right in so quickly as a regular I forget you haven't been here for some of our past locomotive love-fests. Steve DeGaetano, one of the regulars who commented above, is a bona-fide, published expert on the Disneyland railroad (see here, here, here, and here), and even he sometimes learns new things here along with the rest of us. I learn something new all the time at GDB, either in the Major's text or in the comments, and I think that's a lot of why we all come here. That, and the free pretzels.

Glad to have been able to point you to some useful information!

TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder if that station next to the water tower was removed for the Log Ride's construction, or if it was removed even earlier than that?

Major, the smaller station is still there. In 1985, they picked it up, rotated it 180 degrees, and moved it closer/next to the train tracks.

Chuck said...

The depot next to the water tower appears to have been added some time before 1961. TM!'s theory appears to be correct; it's gone by 1970 and it's obvious there was no room for it when the log ride was installed.

Andrew said...

Thanks again, Chuck, for being so kind and informative. (as well as providing the book links) It's always fun to learn things on here!

And bring on the pretzels! Extra salt on mine, please!

MRaymond said...

I remember flattening pennies on the track. Last time I tried they stopped me.