Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Frontierland, September 1966

I sure spend a lot of time in Frontierland here on GDB; seems as if half of my posts are Frontierland-related. Not that that's a bad thing! 

Here's a photo from September, '66, with folks strolling through the old Indian Village. That lady in blue looks so much like my second cousin it's weird! But the timing is all wrong. I saw those two kids emerging from the teepee and thought, "I didn't know guests could actually go inside those things". But it looks like there's a barrier, maybe they could just step beneath the doorway for a look around. To our left is one of the wonderful Northwest Indian totem poles - I'm not 100% sure when those were added, but they were there in 1961 at least.

As is often the case, the lack of people is almost spooky. There's one fellow over there to the left, and some folks across the river near the Pack Mules, but it sure feels empty!


Nanook said...


Sometimes it's just nice to be able to gawk-around parts of Disneyland without the distraction of guests. (Bonus points for the color of the 1st image).

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That lady closest to us in the first pic, is giving off a weird effect for me. The longer I stare at her head and then her body and then back at her head, it feels like she is actually facing us and that her head is on backwards! Is it just me? Yeah, it's probably just me.

Chuck said...

The area was probably evacuated due to all of those barrels of explosives carelessly left on that raft tied up at Tom's Landing.

Stepping back to yesterday's post and the discussion about my Disney-themed belt, Major Pepperidge sent me this link he stumbled on on the Interwebs. It is the exact same design as my cherished, long-lost belt. It was like seeing an old friend.

DrGoat said...

Chuck, concerning the belt...what a cool moment. Moments like that are some of the best you can have. I remember back then I always wanted one of those belts, but my parents wouldn't get one for me. I can still hear my Mom say "you live in Tucson, you can get a real one from the reservation and it would be much nicer."
Thanks Major!

stu29573 said...

Picture two is either a fantastic picture of the empty river, or a terrible picture of the busy Pack Mules. Kind of a glass half full/ half empty sutuation... I'm just glad I have a glass. Drinking milk out of your hands is no bueno. And on with the show!

JC Shannon said...

But it's Frontierland, Major. It's like pate' or orange sherbet, you can always use a little more. My memories of Frontierland are all sweet. Thanks for the great start to the day.

Melissa said...

I know I said just the other day that I like to see a lot of river traffic, but that picture of an empty river is also lovely and relaxing. You'd never guess it was inside an amusement park if you didn't know.

I would wear that blue dress today; it looks both pretty and comfortable. I would also wear Chuck's awesome tooled leather belt!

Anonymous said...

Great photos, sharp and clear, good color. I especially like the raft picture.

I know "factually" that the rafts sometimes used that landing, but I do not recall it. All my raft memories are of the other landing by the entry to the Cave. When this landing in the photo was used, where did the rafts embark from the "mainland"? Was the same place used, and just a longer ride around to the island landing?

Sitting on a dynamite keg was the best part of the ride to the island. Even if the gag was used again in the stretching room at the Haunted Mansion.

Chuck, that is a great belt. Thanks for the story, and thanks to the Major for rooting out those pictures. I had a similar belt, but was not Disney-themed. It had a holster for my cap pistol. All gone now.


Chuck said...

Seems like I was unusually blessed with that belt. And I know my budget-coscious parents would never have bought it if my pants weren't falling down.

Melissa, I found a much cheaper one in the same size with a 1970s WDW logo on the inside: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1950-s-Vintage-Leather-Tooled-Walt-Disney-World-Belt-Brass-Buckle-Characters-/402255575361?&shqty=1&isGTR=1#shId. I know the seller claims it to be from the 1950s, but the WDW logo makes that impossible. It's too small for me, so you can call "dibs" on it.

JG, I think the rafts that went to Tom's Landing embarked by the bridge over the canal that connected the Jungle Cruise to the ROA.




Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’ll be very curious to see photos of the park when guests are allowed back in, probably in very limited numbers.

TokyoMagic!, ha ha, have you been eating some funny brownies? ;-) I’m having a hard time making my brain think that the woman is facing me, but I can sort of see how her body looks that way.

Chuck, I sure miss the days when you could leave barrels of explosives on your porch and nobody said anything about it! I’m glad the link to the eBay belt was a fun blast to the past for you.

DrGoat, it’s so funny, I know my parents and grandparents bought us stuff at Disneyland, but in my memory I mostly remember them saying “no” when I asked for something! I probably asked for the most expensive items, knowing me. Even then I had good taste. Meanwhile, getting handcrafted goods from a reservation sounds kind of cool too.

stu29573, I see that you have never used your shoe for a drinking vessel. You should try it sometime. It adds a real interesting flavor to things like chocolate milk.

Jonathan, I like to mix paté with orange sherbet, so that I have the best of both worlds.

Melissa, seeing that empty river makes me wish I could kayak around it, or even swim (with my water wings, of course). I’m telling ya, that lady in blue looks SO much like my cousin, it’s spooky.

JG, I think that the rafts used up to three different landings, depending on how busy the park was and what construction projects were happening. Even the old maps show three, I believe (I’m away from my house so I can’t check those). I think the rafts went from that TSI landing to another right near the Plantation House. Maybe once that area was redone, the island landing wasn’t used anymore? Dynamite kegs must have been much more common at some point in American life, maybe folks who lived in the country saw those all the time (for mining, removing stumps, etc).

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, gosh, maybe those belts aren’t as rare as we think… with a little patience, maybe you could find one for your collection. You DO have a collection of Disneyland stuff, don’t you?? So funny that a seller is trying to pass off a WDW item as being from the 1950s. We know better. Thank you for the links to those Daveland photos (what, are my photos chopped liver?!), that’s the same area I was thinking of.

Chuck said...

A thousand pardons, Major.


And yes, your photos are like chopped liver - the finely-chopped paste called "pâté." As Jonathan pointed out, you just can't get enough. :-)


The gunpowder kegs used by Tom and Huck on their rafts are not loaded explosives but discarded empty barrels thrown into the river from “ body rising search party’s. Water vessels would fire canons to hopefully bring missing bodies from common river accidents to the top of the water. Even in Mark Twain’s stories this “body rising” is used. Probably a common practice in the 19th Century. As Major suggested , I think powder kegs were likely common during this time tossed from mining, farming and the nearby cavalry fort.

In the 20th century discarded old “Hercules Dynamite and Powder” crates were around by the piles - Bud Hurbutt said when creating the Calico Mine Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm , these old powder boxes could be had for a nickel a piece at flea markets and junk yards - and almost everyone had at least one in their garage hold old tools or garden implements.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, thanks for those links to the landing by the old bridge. Those are pretty old views, but Major's photo today is from 1966, years newer.

I wonder if the raft was just parked here in today's photo to be out of the way? Sort of a Fowler's Harbor for rafts?

Major, I think you are right, this landing on the island is a remnant of that river crossing.

I grew up in the country and don't recall ever having seen a dynamite keg, even an empty one. I think these are just a humorous kind of prop. I seem to remember them at Knotts and Calico too. Although in the mining towns, dynamite or black powder would be a lot more common. I see that dynamite was invented in 1867, so the kegs are somewhat plausible. Does anyone know if there was a target date for Frontierland, like original Tomorrowland was supposed to be 1986?



I have a few books on American Riverboats and one talks about how Shipping Companies paid people to clear dock areas up from all the debris and discarded trash that came down the river and choked the port of New Orleans - especially during the Civil War. I bet lots of floating powder kegs were around then!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I was joking of course - Dave DeCaro has all of his photos so well organized and easy to access. I wish I’d done something like that, but at this point it would be a huge job. When I was a kid my parents would get pate (in a can), and I actually liked it on a nice cracker. Ditto “rumaki”, chicken livers, water chestnuts, and bacon on a toothpick. Yum.

Mike Cozart, I remember the part in Huck Finn where they were looking for a body using explosions. Didn’t they also use a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with mercury? I remember that part because by then we knew that mercury was toxic, and Huck just shakes the mercury out of the bread and eats it. I always wondered about the “Hercules Dynamite” boxes at Knott’s, and assumed that they were props created for the park. I had no idea they were the real thing!

JG, I’m sure that during the slow season they did park the rafts in some out of the way location, as you suggested. We’ve seen them over by the Keelboat landing, and even in the waterway connecting the Rivers of America to the Jungle Cruise “Rivers of the World”. My dad was a farm boy and he talked about how they would use dynamite for various projects. Just thinking about it made me nervous, I must have read about accidents with explosives. Your question about the general “target date” for Frontierland is one that I have wondered about myself!

Mike Cozart, interesting, I’m sure that people just used the rivers as garbage chutes, just think of how much junk could pile up in calm areas. Dynamite seems like overkill, but it sure would be fun!

JG said...

@mike cozart & Major.

I guess I lived in a sheltered part of the world, never seeing black powder boxes or dynamite. I believe you though. We had deep topsoil & no rock at all.


Dean Finder said...

Hercules Powder had a plant in northern NJ nor far from where I grew up that famously blew up in 1940. http://www.roxburynewjersey.com/hercules.htm


Looks like the company closed its doors in 2008 but it’s parent company has divisions that still manufacture mining explosives and munitions.

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