Monday, February 15, 2021

More Knott's Photos From Lou and Sue, circa 1975

I thought that today's scans were the last Knott's photos from Lou Perry and Sue B., but Sue has informed me that there are more! You might not see them for a while here on GDB, but it's always nice to know that there's another helping of Knott's pictures to come.

Like last time, all of these are from the old Ghost Town, of which I am so fond. On the surface it might seem like the Ghost Town was merely a collection of ramshackle old buildings, but there was some kind of magic in the way it was laid out, especially in the days when there were large old Eucalyptus trees here and there to add an "old California" flavor to the proceedings.

The wonderful full-size (but narrow-gauge) locomotives at Knott's were (and still are) a sight to see, rolling right past the Calico Mine Train building. 

We're looking north on School Road toward the fabulous Timber Mountain Log Ride...

... and here we get a better look at the Calico Saloon. Was there anything inside the "Calico Hotel", such as offices? Or maybe storage? Maybe even a "peek-in" or two?

Lou has adjusted the aperture so we can see the buildings on the west side of the street, including stores that sold candy and ice cream, but not Brussels sprouts.

First of all, why am I not wearing a red shirt and plaid pants? Sorry, ladies. The sign says "Ghost Town Town Hall", but I have no idea what went on in the Town Hall.

You know, I'm starting to truly realize just how little I know about Knott's Berry Farm, in spite of my deep and abiding love for the place. There's the Post Office, and the Wells Fargo building. And "Old Betsy" in the distance to our right, looking as broken-down as always. A broken-down old conveyance made entirely of wood (lower right) mostly looks like a stack of kindling.

Could you buy tickets for a ride on the Knott's stagecoach here? Or send a money order to your uncle in Wyoming? Please chime in!

As always, thanks to Lou and Sue for sharing these great photos of Knott's!


EXTRA! EXTRA! David W. noticed that images 1 & 7 merged perfectly in Photoshop, and sent a jpeg along to prove it. It looks great! Thanks, David.


TokyoMagic! said...

School Road looks surprisingly very much the same today. The Ice Cream shop is still there, as is the Candy Store. The Longhorn Chow House is still there, but was recently renamed "The Churro Factory." How uninspired is that name?

I'm not sure what was in the Calico Hotel back then. In 1985, Mott's Miniatures was moved out of the historic Jeffries Barn and went into that space for a few years. After they left Knott's, some of the old artifacts from the Western Trails Museum (which was torn down in 1988) went into that space and are still there today, along with some historic Knott's items.

I also don't know what used to be in the Wells Fargo office, but from the looks of it in that one pic, it looks like it was a peek-in, similar to the Post Office, where guests actually stepped inside to look at the set-up. Today, that doorway is just the "back" entrance to the General Store, which was expanded into that space.

In that second to last pic, we can see the famous "Catawampus" (partially obstructed) in his little corral (just to the right of those wagon wheels.) We can even see the sign on the ground which reads, "Catawampus (Species Extinct)." Today, he stands just across that same walkway, in front of the Calico Barn.

Thank you for these wonderful vintage Knott's pics, Lou, Sue, and Major, too!

K. Martinez said...

WOW!! These are some wonderful images of Knott's Ghost Town. Lou always did a stellar job photographing the theme parks. Many are postcard worthy or would be great in a pictorial. My favorite pic today is the Ghost Town Hall sign pic.

As for knowing Knott's Berry Farm inside and out, I learned a whole lot from our resident Knott's expert, TokyoMagic!. He's a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this park.

Thank you, Lou, Sue and Major for sharing the pics and hosting. Thank you too, TokyoMagic! for adding you info on the pics.

TokyoMagic! said...

By the way, the first and second to last pics appear to be taken just seconds apart, based on the location of that 1970s bell bottomed lady, and her male companion.

Andrew said...

I see the guy leaning on the railing in the third pic.. cool! That might make a good angle for photos of the log ride. You can also see one of the "El Camino Real" arches in the background of that image.

Just for fun, here's a Street View link to the first and second-to-last shots' location. Thanks, Lou, Sue, and Major for more great Knott's stuff!

DrGoat said...

Great photos from Lou & Sue. Only got to Knott's once in the 70s. Nice to have these images to feast ones eyes on.
Andrew, that guy on the rail is perched a bit precariously. Hope he got the shot. Thanks for the Street View. Sometimes I forget and take for granted the really cool resources we have now. Why, I remember in the old days.......
Thanks for the photos Lou, and for Sue for making them available so we all can enjoy them. Thanks to you Major for being the conduit for all this goodness.
Also, thanks TM for the info. Didn't remember the Catawampus at all.

Chuck said...

THIS is what Knott's is supposed to look like! Or so say my favorite memories of the place, anyway, where you could lose yourself pretending you were walking through a cross between an historic site and a Western movie set without having to mentally edit out the rumbling roller coasters and screaming riders.

"...the Calico Mine Train building." I know that's what it is, but I never think of it that way. That's sort of like referring to "the Matterhorn building" or "the Cascade Peak building." I guess I just mentally buy into the illusion without a second thought. Maybe it's the age I was when I first saw them, or maybe that's the way it works for most people of most ages (except for the most jaded of the bunch, who usually seem to end up writing for architectural digests or snooty, big-city periodicals).

TM!, I have a kind of hazy memory of the Wells Fargo office at Knott's. I was Wells Fargo-crazy for a period after visiting Columbia State Historic Park (I even had a bank that was a replica of the Wells Fargo office in Columbia) and remember insisting that we go inside (as an aside, the Miner's Bank on School Road at Knott's - just out of frame to Lou's left in the third and fifth photos - appears to have been inspired by the Wells Fargo office in Columbia).

As you can see from the photos, there was a closed door on the right when you first walked in, and what I remember was a railing on the left that eventually made a right-angle turn to the right-hand wall about 3/4 of the way into the room. Behind the railing was a mock-up of an express office. I seem to remember a desk, a scale, some lock boxes, some post-office-like cubby hioles, and maybe a larger safe. There might have been a mannequin, too, but I tend to think not. I could be conflating large portions of this memory with other peek-ins or possibly actual historic sites, but that's what comes to mind.

Andrew, thanks for that link. I continue to be impressed with your ability to find your way around a place you've never least, not yet. ;-) Good eye on the el Camino Real arch!

And thanks again, Lou & Sue!

Chuck said...

Here's a better picture of the Miner's Bank back when the ruin was still new. Hope the blog owner won't be upset that I linked his photo.

Irene said...

Speaking of Brussel Sprouts - LOL I don't much care for them either but back when they were doing the Taste of Merry Farm (which got cut short, dang it), roasted Brussel Sprouts were on the menu and surprisingly good! I actually got some - gasp. So now they are gearing up for another Taste event, Taste of Boysenberry Festival, and what shows up on the menu? Brussel Sprouts! They look to be the same as the ones at Christmas, but we shall see (and yes, I have purchased my tickets and can hardly wait to go again).

Great photos! I love seeing the Knott's of my young adulthood. There for awhile Knott's went through some dark times when Cedar Fair took over and almost managed to turn it into Magic Mountain South! But clearer minds have prevailed who love and appreciate the history of Knott's. Looking forward to celebrating its 100 year anniversary a year late :)

Kathy! said...

I see pantsuits and bell bottoms aplenty. Is that a nun in the fourth photo with the black head covering/white dress? I too was worried about the guy falling over the railing in the third photo. Nice pictures, some of these views look very similar today. Thanks Lou, Sue, and Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I haven’t been back to Knott’s since the “Knott’s Preserved” event, so it’s been a while. That book is on its third printing now! They removed my photo from the back cover after the first printing, so I walk around crying most of the time. “The Churro Factory”, ay caramba. Thank you for all of the amazing Knott’s info that you possess, it’s pretty impressive! You are a real historian of the place, unlike me, who loves Knott’s but has little real knowledge that matters. I’m still sore that they removed the peek-ins, by the way. Thanks also for pointing out the location of the Catawampus!

K. Martinez, yeah, looking at these photos made me think of Viewmaster reels, Lou really got some primo pictures. See my comment to TokyoMagic! If you get a tour of Knott’s from him, you are going to learn a lot, for sure.

TokyoMagic!, yes, that’s true; I gave Sue’s scans my own names, and then posted them in the order in which they are in my computer folder, rather than in the order she sent them.

Andrew, looking at that guy sitting on the railing makes me imagine him losing his balance and falling. I can’t help it. Plus the Knott’s people did such a good job of making everything look rickety and old that I can also imagine the railing giving way. Oh well, he had a good run! Thank you for the street view!

DrGoat, when all of the current unpleasantness blows over, you might consider going to Knott’s if you come to SoCal! It’s still a lot of fun, even with the many changes. I consider myself fortunate to be able to share so many wonderful photos from Lou and Sue; first of all, they’re great images, and secondly, I’d run out of my own slides in a hurry!

Chuck, I agree, this is basically the Knott’s that I remember from my own childhood. My family moved to the east coast for several years, and when I came back there had been some big changes, such as the “Roaring ‘20s” area. After that, it was MANY years before I returned; I guess it was sort of a case of “If I’m going to drive all that way, I might as well go to Disneyland”. Which is weird, because I loved going to Knott’s so much! As for “the Calico Mine Train building”, even reading it myself I’m not sure why I wrote that. Maybe I was distracted. Or probably on drugs. You know how I love my drugs! Interesting that you went through a Wells Fargo craze; but I also know that, especially as a kid, visiting a historic place like Columbia State Park can make a BIG impression. I was “ghost town” crazy after visiting Bodie, near Mono Lake. Knott’s sold a map of ghost towns around California, and I bought one, I wish I still had it. It probably got destroyed in one of our many moves.

Chuck, I’m sure that blog owner is very cool and also handsome and suave!

Irene, I think Brussel sprouts are one of those things that are easily messed up by cooks who don’t know how to prepare them. My sister makes them and they’re so good! She simmers them in chicken stock until they are tender, and then adds balsamic vinegar and goat cheese. Yum. I have a good friend who does not care for Disneyland, but loves to go to Knott’s for the Boysenberry Festival. She’s been at least three times. I wonder if the Knott’s Brussel sprouts have a boysenberry vinegar on them? Like you, I’m glad that somebody realized that Knott’s had appeal all on its own and didn’t need to become just another roller coaster park.

Chuck said...

Major, I think that somebody was Matt Ouimet. His 17 years with Disney may have had something to do with that.

I remember seeing that map, although it was in Calico rather than at Knott's. I was allowed one souvenir, and it was either the map or a genuine fossil of a trilobite. I chose (and still have) the trilobite.

That Wells Fargo phase also included a fascination with stagecoaches. I used to love the old Wells Fargo TV commercials with the stagecoach. Some of that youthful fascination hung on long afterwards; I remember being really excited to see an actual Wells Fargo stagecoach in Old Town San Diego. I was 37.

I'm sure that blog owner is an amazing guy. Unfortunately, I have no idea who he might be.

Melissa said...

Chuck’s put his finger on it - this isn’t just a collection of buildings; it’s a parallel world we can step into to lose ourselves for a while. We don’t always need to be turned upside-down, poke at touch screens, or have a “storyline” to be thrilled at a theme park!

This is really some of the finest work I’ve seen of Lou’s so far. I can practically hear the people talking and feel the sunshine and the texture of the weathered boards.

I love the two older ladies in the loud print shirts in #2. By their sense of style and their body language, they seem like they must know how to have s good time!

I’m tickled at the idea of an apparently living and thriving community called “Ghost Town.” Ghost Town - Everyone’s Dying to Live Here!

Sunday Night said...

"We don’t always need to be turned upside-down, poke at touch screens, or have a “storyline” to be thrilled at a theme park!"
Preach it!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck and Major, it's quite presumptuous of you to assume the blog owner is a guy! ;)

Now, not only do I want to go to Disneyland with all the Jr. Gorillas and ride the Jungle Cruise together, with our very own Major narrating; but I then want to head over to Knott's Berry Farm for a guided tour by TokyoMagic! TM, do you wear plaid?

On behalf of my dad, thank you for the nice comments, everyone!

zach said...

I'm roasting brussel sprouts as we speak! Cut in half, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Did no one notice Waldo's brother in the center of #3?

Thank you, Lou, Sue and Major.


"Lou and Sue" said...

David W. - That is sooo cool - thank you!
Thank you, Major, for adding David's picture!

Zach, you're right - Wilbur's hiding in plain sight!

Did anyone else notice the man in the 5th picture, towards the left, in the white jacket, in the window? Is he INSIDE the building (though the lighting doesn't look right for inside that building); or is he OUTSIDE - making a reflection, but invisible OUTSIDE? There is a man, to the right, walking in a white jacket - but I can't imagine that's his reflection. Could we possibly be seeing one of the resident ghosts?!?!

Chuck said...

Great work, David W.! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

"Lou and Sue"- No problem. Thanks for the great pictures to work

Chuck- Thank you for the kind words.

-DW (David W.)

TokyoMagic! said...

David W., Wow! That merge is fantastic and it makes me happy!

Sue, I'm not sure if that is a ghost or not, but the man outside the store is wearing some Sonny Bono heels! And the man to his left is holding up the building!

Sue (part 2), I don't have a plaid skirt, but I do have a nice velvet-covered riding hat and a leather riding crop! The tour starts at Virginia's Gift Shop! ;-)

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I think you are right, Matt Ouimet seems like he had a fondness for Knott’s Berry Farm. I still remember being a little distressed when he left Disney, since it felt like he had a handle on what was important to fans. I would not at all be surprised if the Ghost Town map was sold at both Knott’s and Calico - I’m quite sure I bought mine at Knott’s, though! The only thing I bought at Calico was a bag of dirt that had been “salted” with some gold dust, so that you could take it home and pan it there. Your choice of a trilobite was a good one! We used to find trilobite fossils in Pennsylvania, and it was always a thrill. I don’t have vivid memories of Wells Fargo commercials, but I think most boys have a love of stagecoaches! When you say that the one you saw was “actual”, do you mean it was from, say, the 1880’s or so?

Melissa, considering the way that Knott’s grew in fits and starts, it’s surprising how well it works. As you probably know, some of the buildings are actual relics that Walter Knott purchased and had transported to Buena Park. Others were built from scratch, but were aged so convincingly that it’s impossible to tell which is which. And you KNOW those ladies with the bold print blouses know how to party!

Sunday Night, amen to that! I’d like to believe that younger folks don’t need to be constantly thrilled either, but can appreciate things that are quieter and more subtle.

Lou and Sue, it’s true, I try to not be guilty of sexism, but hey, I’m a big dope! Somehow the idea of a group visit to Knott’s is more appealing to me than a group visit to Disneyland. I think it would be so much fun, especially if we could get TokyoMagic! to pass along some of his knowledge.

zach, weirdly, now I am craving Brussels sprouts! I never thought I’d say THAT. I guess I didn’t notice Waldo’s brother - that whole family has a skill for hiding!

Lou and Sue, I agree, that photomerge came out perfect. Very cool indeed. I’d also say that the reflection is of the man in the white coat that you mentioned, though it almost doesn’t feel like the right angle. But it must be! Or it’s a ghost, which is another theory that I like.

Chuck, hear hear! Hear?

David W., thank you again!

Chuck said...

Major, I felt the same way when Matt Ouimet left Disney. He did a pretty good job trying to get Disneyland back in shape for the 50th, and although he didn't have enough time and resources to get the subs up and running again for that event, he did bring them back the following year. I was pretty excited when I heard he had moved to Cedar Fair for the same reason, and not just for Knott's sake. I think Dick Kinzel had overstayed his welcome was doing the same thing to all of the parks Cedar Fair had acquired: thrill rides at the expense of all else and not putting in the effort to maintain or preserve historic features or even maintain existing theming on newer attractions in some cases.

Yes, the stagecoach we saw was an historical artifact, beautifully restored. It was in the Wells Fargo Museum in the Colorado House which I have just learned is now permanently closed. :-(

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lour, Sue and the Major for the fine photos, and big thanks to Tokyo Magic for his apparently boundless knowledge of Knotts.

And Chuck for the deep research!

I am too late to make timely comments, but very grateful to see and read all this.

At some point in the early to mid-70's we stopped going to Knotts, I can't remember for sure why, but I suspect that two theme parks in two days was too much for my Dad as he had increasing trouble walking and stopped going even to Disneyland by the early 80's.

The old Park looks sharp and well-cared-for in these pictures and that's a good way to leave my memories.