Thursday, November 20, 2008

Knott's Berry Farm - Before & After part 4

If you’re still with me then hang on because there’s another 25 images again today. Things start off nicely, but you’ll see as my tour progressed it got harder and harder to find the Vintage in the Farm.

Let’s start in Fiesta Village, here’s a great image from an early 80’s brochure.

The fountain is still there, I took this photo from he wrong angle to match the old photo, but since it was from my feeble memory, at least I got the fountain.

The spin and barf Hat Dance from the late 1970’s.

Still spinning and bright as ever!

The old carousel from a 1950’s souvenir guide. Did you know: Knott's carousel is a classic Dentzel carousel. The carousel has 52 animals and two chariots and is considered to be one of the finest examples of the "golden age" carousels still in operation

The carousel is now enclosed and I'm sure it has been moved at least once according to the old maps (link).

My camera stinks for these shady shots, but its all still there, and in fine shape too. Some of the animals are a bit scary, those ostrich’s are weird. There were even a couple of giraffes.

This neat music machine was in a space above the carousel. It sure looks old, I would love to have heard it, do you think it still works?

The Skycabin Tower and the Parachute Jump from hell.

Still a tower and sky cabin, but thankfully, no cages daggling from thin cables hundreds of feet up.

This area brings back some darn freighting memories.

Looking at the fountain in front of the wonderful and much missed Knott’s Bear-y Tales attraction.

The fountain looks the same, the rest of the area seems boring now.

Sadly, the Knott’s Bear-y Tales attraction is long gone and the upstairs area appears to be unused or may be a laser tag arena (yikes). The arcade still exists below.

Interesting that this Roaring 20’s sign is still up. I don’t think they have a Roaring 20’s area any longer, unless you count this sign. Do you think it lights up at night?

Technically, this should be filed under “missing”, but, you be the judge. This is part of the super lake that was once a major element of the farm. At one time, this lake was rather large, big enough for the paddle wheeler Cordellia K. (This might be the lake that was across the street, oops...)

Portions of the lake were calm at one time, perfect for a Church or Chappell. Thanks for the 1955 photo Daveland!

This "after" photo is looking in the same direction as Daveland’s 1955 photo above. YIKES, just take the lake out completely, this is an insult.

Speaking of the above view, lets set things back again to the 1950’s. The Church of Reflections as seen in a 1959 Chicken Dinner menu. As you may have noticed in the above photo, the Church is now gone; some giant roller coaster load building is in its place.

The Church of Reflections is still at Knott’s, well, kind of. Its way over on the (west?) side of the parking lot! I accessed it from a path that also leads to a day camp. The Church looks great. I would guess it’s been completely rebuilt using just the windows and other trim from the old building. Maybe not, but it sure seemed “new”.

It’s even got central air conditioning.

Independence Hall as seen from across the street in October 1970, thanks Dave.

As seen today from across the street.

From the back of a 1975 souvenir guide.

As seen today. Hey, this “replica” is amazing. I always thought it was 1/5th scale or something small, its HUGE and VERY authentic.

My camera can’t do the interior any justice; you really should check this place out for yourself. I like this wording on the main entry wall.

This “lake” is around the back side of Independence Hall and appears to have an Island? Part of this area was closed off, I need to come back and check this whole area out better.

Parking was easy, no tram required.

Come back Sunday for a few follow-ups to this series; Full scan of the Current Map/Guide, “What’s Gone”?, and some odds & ends.


Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks for another great post! I remember taking at least 2 school field trips just to see Independence Hall and the reproduction of the Liberty Bell. While it's sad to see some of the drastic changes, I'll always have my own fond memories of Knott's!

Let's Talk Knott's said...

This has been a great week for Knottheads. Thanks! Good job on locating the old Fiesta Village fountain. I knew that the fountain over by the shops that lead to the back side of the log ride wasn't it. I have a hard time getting my bearings in that area with all that has changed/moved. Thanks again for the wonderful posts!

Westcot2000 said...

Someone told me that the sale of the park to Cedar Fair included a covenant that they couldn't touch Independence Hall, the Log Ride, or Calico Mine Train? Anyone know if this is true?

The "Island" was Jungle Island and the place was awesome. A few of the "animals" made there way over to Camp Snoopy when Jungle Island was closed.

The Cordelia boat (and the Camp Snoopy train) both used to be across the street at the lake by Jungle Island. When the lake was turned into a parking lot they were brought over to Camp Snoopy.

Your next assignment is to dig up a picture of the Piano Playing Chicken!

Thank you for the awesome photo series.

TokyoMagic! said...

I am soooo enjoying your Knott's posts. Thank you again! You are right, the carousel was moved. They did that in the mid to late eighties at the same time that they added some thrill rides to Fiesta Village. They also bulldozed the Antique Auto/Tijuana Taxi ride at that same time (it was very frustrating to see that the Knott family didn't care about the history of their own park.....but I guess, they had to try to keep up with their competition).

Anyway, Westcot is right, that island used to be Jungle Island. After they built Camp Snoopy, they bulldozed the Lagoon area across the street for parking, but they left Jungle Island as a "Nature Preserve" and moved all the ducks and chickens over there. They stripped the island of all it's "woodniks", swings, slides, etc., but the landscape, hills, paths remained for quite sometime. I was surprised to see the last time that I visited Knott's, that all of that had been leveled off into just one great big flat area. They already had a corporate picnic area next to Jungle Island called "Gold Rush Camp", but I guess they decided to expand it into the old Island area. What a shame.

Oh, and when they converted the lagoon into a parking lot, the Merry Go Round that was over on that side of the street was sold to the miniature golf course next door to Tyler Mall off the 91 fwy. Anyone know if it is still there??? I think it was very similar, if not identical to the one in Fiesta Village. Also, I don't know what happened to the "Cordelia K. Steamboat", but it wasn't used in Camp Snoopy. They built a brand new boat that had a larger capacity and name it "The Walter K." I also don't know what happened to the miniature train from the lagoon, but the train used in Camp Snoopy was also new and was larger scale. I believe both the boat and the train were removed from Camp Snoopy when the Silver Bullet rollercoaster was built.

Daveland said...

The before and after pics are really great - keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

as in the previous set of comments, I alluded to the carousel that is in Seaside Heights NJ.

Its a Dentzel as well. Along with the fully operational and wonderfully maintained Wurlitzer band organ. It sort of looks like the one in your picture.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! The miniature train on the lagoon side was sold to a collector in the Ontario, Ca., area. I took my kids to his home in the late 70's. He had an incredible collection of trains in various gauges and scales.

Anonymous said...

My sister got married at that church in 2003, while it was still inside the theme park. It was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

At least a few elements from Knotts -- namely the Tijuana Taxi, a carousel and train -- made their way to Castle Park in Riverside, CA (the "miniature golf" park mentioned above). CP, which opened in 1976, was built by Bud Hurlbut, who designed both the Calico Mine and Log rides at Knotts (and ran the Fiesta Village area before selling completely out in sometime around 1980). Hurlbut expanded CP in the early 1980s with the above-mentioned ride elements he brought over from Knotts.

Michelle said...

The organ on the Merry Go Round doesn't work anymore. They let it waste away like most everything else that was good about Knott's. Your photos are awesome but they make me sad. I wish they could have tried to save most of the park as a historical landmark, especially the Ghost Town.

Mr. Miner said...

These are great before and after pics of Knott's :D I work there, so I see some of this stuff everyday, although I admit I've never paid attention to the fountain next to the Merry Go Round, and that's one of my rides :P Two things I can clarify for you, if they haven't been. The church is East of the park. And the Roaring 20's sign does not light up :(

Kelly said...

I wish I went on the Sky Jump. It's such an awesome attraction, but it's sad to see it go. However, I went on a similar ride at Great Adventure called Parchuter's Perch. Instead of standing, you sit on the baskets and get a good view at Great Adventure. It was repainted gold, orange, and purple in late 2009, similar to the Sky Jump's aqua, red, yellow, and blue paint scheme it received when Roaring 20's became The Boardwalk.

Unknown said...

The island was home to the Woodknicks, a species of humanoids made out of logs. It was a really fun place to play as a kid and the admission was cheap.