Monday, August 10, 2020

Rainbow Ridge & Cascade Peak, May 1961

Here are some random Frontierland pix for you, circa 1961. The park hadn't even reached it's 6th birthday yet! 

By now many of the buildings of Rainbow Ridge are so familiar; the El Dorado Hotel shows up in a bazillion photos. So does Pat Casey's "Last Chance" Saloon, painted a rather shocking pink. Ol' Pat knew how to attract attention for his business. To our right is Casa de Fritos, founded by Mañuel Carlos Hidalgo Herrera de Fritos in the early 19th century. I do my research.

One of the more impressive sights along the banks of the Rivers of America was old Cacade Peak. Strange to think that erosion has worn this rocky mountain completely away, but that's nature for you.  It's not unusual to see the Pack Mules or a Mine Train in photos like this, but... no such luck.

However, I always look for the bighorn sheep in earlier photos, and even though it's a dark image, you can see two of them if you look closely. One is silhouetted against the sky on the right face, while another is harder to see, only his rear flank catches the sun toward the top center of the peak.


Nanook said...


There are a lot of elusive things in these images - including Mineral Hall - whose blue balcony railing, roof and last "L" in the MINERAL HALL sign can barely be seen just beyond 'ol Pat Casey's Saloon. Extra points for spotting the bighorn sheep.

We miss you, Cascade Peak-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Sorry Mañuel Carlos Hidalgo Herrera de Fritos, but I believe I've had slightly better at Casa de Glen Bell.

Rainbow Ridge is one of my favorite Disneyland attraction facades. It's smaller scale compared to the rest of Frontierland gives it an intimate storybook feel. I do miss the Mine Train Ride. Thankfully we still have the Calico Mine Ride at Knott's Berry Farm. There's something truly special about the old school attractions.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Noting a few details in the first photo:

The "rungs" along the back of the upper roof of the El Dorado Hotel, presumably so someone can climb to the peak of the roof more easily.

The flag wrapped around the pole in front of the Last Chance (the Police's "King of Pain" is now stuck in my head).

The wooden pueblo-style ladder on the roof of the Casea de Fritos.

In the second, the Rivers of America Monster is silhouetted in the lower center left while Fort Wilderness hides in the trees.

Andrew said...

First off, why does the barber have a sign that he pulls teeth if there is a decidedly real dentist above Pat Casey's???

I'm sure that kids always dreamed about living in Rainbow Ridge. I know that when I was little I was intrigued by tiny play buildings.

I had to look closely for that 'L,' Nanook, but I see it now!

And it's funny that you should point out the tangled flag, Chuck - ours sticks out at a 45 degree angle, and we're constantly fixing it, but our neighbor has a vertical one like this picture, and it never gets wound up!

Stu29573 said...

I have nothing too profound today other than to note that Cascade Peak was a masterpiece of forced perspective (completely destroyed in later years by evil trees.) Even the front falls are larger than the rear falls, which makes the whole sha-bang (yes, I said sha-bang) look larger and farther away. Fun Fact: Tom Sawyer Island has completely eroded away at least seven times, but has been rebuilt using piles of lost sunglasses, cell phones, and hats collected from the floor of the Matterhorn. It's a fact, so you don't need to look it up.


Andrew have a dentist and a barber who pulls teeth is a great example of authenticity and detail that went into Rainbow Ridge. As most mining and boomtowns there would have been dedicated businesses as well as multi-service business ( barbers who also performed dentistry , minor medical procedures and shaves .... undertakers who also made furniture etc. over the years I’ve constructed many historical models and dioramas .... and I’ve even built a model of a 1870’s structure that was a saloon AND bank in a town that had 7 other saloons!

The audio for the “painful tooth extraction” for Rainbow Ridge came from the open upper window of the dentist above Pat Casey’s Saloon.
Rainbow Ridge is a true Boomtown - it has three boarding / rooming houses , four hotels , several restaurants and cafes , restaurants located in some of its hotels and dance halls , hardware stores , supplies stores , a grocery store and many other businesses typical of a mid 19th century gold town . There’s even several residences and business with “rooms to let” with citizens trying to make extra income. And one cafe serves meals at all hours - “if cafe door is locked - knock on rear window” lol!!

In 1979 to present THUNDER RIDGE/RAINBOW RIDE the only town dentist is also the only town barber!

Stu29573 said...

Mike, my hometown of Denison, Texas once boasted 40 saloons! It was the "jumping off point" of the Katie RR for the trip west. On the Red River, Texas was to the south and Indian Territory was to the north. Bandits could easily slip between the two to avoid the law. Doc Holliday even had a dental practice there at one point. Frank and Jessie James roamed the area frequently and, later, Bonnie and Clyde passed through a few times. Wild west indeed!

DrGoat said...

Andrew, I still dream about living in Rainbow Ridge.
Thanks Major. Rainbow Ridge pics are always welcome, and do miss Cascade Peak too.

JC Shannon said...

Andrew, DrGoat, I dream of living in one of the houses on the hill to this day. My idea of striking it rich in Rainbow Ridge is getting to drive the MTTNW whenever the mood strikes. Of course, that would also mean that Cascade Peak would have to be rebuilt. I have an overactive imagination. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the Mineral Hall, with its minerals glowing under a blacklight, would be one of the vintage shops that I would most want to visit if I had a time machine! I have another bighorn sheep sighting coming up.

K. Martinez, I never ate at the restaurant when it was Casa de Fritos, but I’ve liked the food just fine as Casa Mexicana and Rancho del Zocalo. I’m not saying it’s great, but it’s perfectly tasty, and about what I expect at a theme park. I agree with you, thank goodness se still have the Calico Mine Ride! If Knott’s ever removed that, and the Log Ride, there would be no reason for me to go anymore.

Chuck, I would have never noticed those rungs on the rooftop, an interesting detail. Notice the light behind the façade on top of Pat Casey’s Saloon, presumably to light some of the upper buildings on the ridge at night. I don’t remember the lyrics to “King of Pain” well enough to know why a flag wrapped around a pole reminds you of that song! It makes me think of “Wrapped Around Your Finger”.

Andrew, I can only speculate that barbers used to do it all, even tooth-pulling. Maybe a dentist had some ether? But it’s a good question? My mom’s flag is always tangling up, I have to fix it every time I visit her.

Stu29573, I agree, I love big trees as a rule, but when features in Disneyland have been carefully designed to give the illusion of being large, that illusion can be easily ruined by trees that are almost as tall as the mountain itself. They should have watered those trees with gin, I hear it stunts growth. I believe everything you wrote about Tom Sawyer Island!

Miike Cozart, until Andrew pointed it out, I actually had never noticed that the barber pulled teeth. I was always distracted by the wonderful golden tooth hanging outside of the dentist’s window! What a cool artifact that would be for somebody’s collection - if it’s actually carved out of wood and gilt, it might pass for a genuine 19th century folk piece. Thanks for pointing out all of those great details throughout Rainbow Ridge. I’ve always loved the variety of posters, handbills and broadsides stuck on the buildings, and even some graffiti (“Viva Pecos Bill!”).

Stu29573, wow, 40 saloons. And not ONE good pizza place! Sounds like your hometown was not for the feint of heart. I love thinking about the days when there was still Indian Territory… I own an old school geography book that I bought in Pennsylvania back in the 70’s, Oklahoma is still called “Indian Territory” (and North and South Dakota are just one big territory called “Dakota”).

DrGoat, I definitely dreamed of living there, even though those rooms are very small!

Jonathan, years ago I heard rumors that a former Imagineer was building a train layout in his backyard that included a Rainbow Caverns, but never heard anything else about it. The idea was so amazing, I would have volunteered to help build it if I knew I would get some free rides when it was done.

Chuck said...

Major, good eye on the spotlight. Didn't even notice it. Although I actually think it's the Batsignal.

The last line of the first verse of "King of Pain" is "There's a flag pole rag and the wind won't stop." Of course, until I just looked it up, I'd always heard "There's a flagpole wrapped and the wind won't stop." I'm sure we've all mis-heard lyrics like that and publicly embarrassed ourselves, right? Right? Guys?

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck, you are right!! My husband told me that when he and his brother were little, while riding in the car with their parents, Tony Orlando's song "Candida" came on the radio. A couple minutes into the song, his father turned off the radio and was furious at "that disgusting song!" When Tony Orlando sang the words, "We can make it together," my husband's father thought he was singing, "Wake up naked together."

JG said...

@Andrew, I have always wanted to live in Rainbow Ridge, but I would fit into one of the houses on the hill much like Alice in the White Rabbit's house. Both feet out the door, one arm out a window and the other up the chimney.

The compensation would be getting to ride the Mine Train every day with JC Shannon and DrGoat.

Also, when ordering my bath at the barber shop, I would always spring the extra 50 cents for the soap. I wonder if the fire barrels are re-filled with used bath water?

Major, I do like today's pics, especially the mountain goats.


Chuck said...

Sue, I will never hear "Candida" the same way again.

JG, that compensation would be contingent on being able to extricate yourself from the house in the morning.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I guess it's good that I will win never win the lottery because I would most probably blow the whole thing building a 1/2 scale model of Rainbow ridge and Natures Wonderland. Being that Rainbow ridge is scaled down to begin with I would probably hurt my back scruntching down that far if it was even smaller.

JG said...

Chuck, I'm glad it's only speculative, since I doubt that I could do it. Maybe having a life simplified to sleeping in Rainbow Ridge and alternating days riding the Mine Train or lounging in the hut in the Jungle Cruise would restore flexibility to my back.


Anonymous said...

Such wonderful photos from back when we didn’t know we wouldn’t always have the Mine Train and Cascade Peak around to make our days at the park better. Thank you very much for posting them!

One modestly picked nit (which is pretty gross if you ponder the idea for a bit): The expression is “faint of heart.” Although, I must admit, there is something old-timey and charming about a feint maneuver designed to divert an opponent’s attention from the actual center of attack as related to a heart.

Perhaps it would play out as simply as “Hey, look over there!” followed by a thump to the chest.

Small wonder that craze never caught on.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, it’s one of those old-west bats with a big handlebar mustache, that’s how you can tell. The only mis-heard lyrics I can think of right off the bat are not really appropriate for this blog! I’m amazed you remember the lyrics to “King of Pain”, impressive.

Lou and Sue, ha ha, “Candida” is one of those songs that my mom and dad liked to play (on 45 rpm record), so funny that your father in-law thought it was filthy!

JG, you just need to ride on “Adventure Thru Inner Space” and Rainbow Ridge will feel luxurious and roomy. I still really dream of riding the Mine Train at night, or at all different times of the day, to experience the different lighting and atmosphere. If only…

Chuck, ha ha, me too.

Alonzo, when you see the things that some billionaires spend their money on (a yacht the size of a cruise ship), I don’t think that a scale model of Rainbow Ridge is that outlandish. It would probably cost a lot less than a yacht, too. Heck, do it at 1-1 scale! I’d be tempted to mess with it, and make Rainbow Caverns twice as long.

Anon, even as I typed “feint” I wondered if it was right, but as usual was too lazy to stop and check.

Melissa said...

Who needs the Pack Mules or Mine Train when you’ve got A DUCK?