Thursday, April 07, 2005

Knott's Berry Farm

What are some of your memories of Knott's Berry Farm? I remember my first visit to Knott's was in 1972. My family, along with another family, drove up from San Diego to spend a day there. I remember going on the log ride then, and the mine train. I also remember that haunted shack, where the tour guide plays tricks on your eyes to make you think the place is spooked.

Some years ago, I corresponded with a guy named Dennis Casebier of the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association, regarding the old Calico Ghost Town just north of Barstow. Walter Knott, at one time, owned that ghost town, and donated it to the County of San Bernardino. Dennis believed that Knott took many of the artifacts from Calico to recreate a similar Calico Town within Knott's Berry Farm. I'm wondering if Walter took some of the gravemarkers from the Calico Cemetery, as many of the markers at the real Calico are long gone.

Listed below are some of the e-mails I dug up from the old days of regarding Knott's Berry Farm:
By: Ron Benson, 11 Aug 2002

I grew up in Southern Cal. and went many times to Knott's,like all kids I loved it! I've been collecting menu's from local places and friends give me some. Since I started playing on ebay and buying, I seem to be drawn to Knott's Berry Farm menu's and such. I don't know why, exept for my fond memories. Are there many collectors out there?

By: Pat Swift, 9 Aug 2002

I remember when we would go to Knott's on Friday and Saturday nights to square dance in the old wagon train area. A lot of us from Buena Park were a free show but we had a lot of fun. People would come to sing around the fire. Things have sure changed. I understand they are closeing the animal petting area soon. Remember the seals? There were chickens everywhere. Does anyone else remember the little houses across the street that employees lived in?

By: Ron Kimzey, 23 Feb 2002

Hi There I use to see Buddy Ebsen a lot at Knott's Berry Farm when he was dating Dorthy Knott. He always liked to ride the stagecoach. I really liked him when he and Fess Parker was in Davy Crockett together.Buddy was also Jet Clampett .He is 94 years old and still is married to Dorthy and living in Orange County. Fess Parker is living near Santa Barbara.I always go to Knott's in November because I am a veteran and I get in free which is really nice. Too bad Disneyland does not have a special thing for veterans day to get in free. Glad to be able to go to Orange County's first Park.

By: David Moore, 29 Dec.2001

Mid '60's Knott's was just the chicken restaurant, the Wagonmaster's show, the old West town, and FREE. My dad would take us into the general store, and tell us that we could have all the penny candy we could hold in one hand. We became masters of architecture, building structures of candy in our hands as high as we could make it go. He laughs at that story now, telling us that it still only cost him 25 or 30 cents per hand.

By: Tom Coughran, 5 Aug 2001

My father, Samuel (Sam) (Sammy) Coughran owned the property where Knott's Berry Farm (known then as Knott's Berry Place) is located. He sold the property to Walter and Cordellia Knott. Walter told Dad that he would pay him $1,500 for the land (I don't remember if that was per acre or for the whole parcel). Dad told him, "Walter, you know it isn't worth any more than $1,000." Walter told him he couldn't pay him cash, so Dad told him, "In that case, I guess it's worth $1,500." My Mom (Florence Margaret Inskeep) married my Dad in 1941. Dad still lived in the two story house that was later used by the Knotts as offices. The house is/was located just south of the Chicken Restaurant and north of the one stall firehouse. My Mom was a waitress at the Chicken Restaurant in its early days. On the East side of the property, along what is now Beach Blvd., where the original entrance was located, there is or at least was, a row of Eucalyptus trees. Dad planted those trees in 1918 or thererabouts. He told us that the first tree north of the entrance has an "unnatural" fork in it. He said he had been plowing the field and tied the plowhorse to the young tree while he ate his lunch. The horse must have been humgry as well as it ate the top out of the tree, thus, the fork. My Dad's sister, Alma, owned the property from the south side of Dad's property to the cross street to the south (Crescent?). I believe she owned it even before she married Elbert Carpenter, but not sure. She was three or four years older than Dad.
Please share your memories of Knott's Berry Farm and the Knott Family by click on "Post a Comment" below.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Did Pope John Paul II Ever Visit Orange County?

I did some researching online to see if Pope John Paul II ever visited Orange County. Thus far, I haven't seen any documentation suggesting he did. In September 15 and 16, 1987, he visited Southern California. But his visit appeared to be limited to Los Angeles County. I imagine Bishop Norman McFarland, who was the Bishop of Orange County at the time, probably went up to see him.

If anyone has any information to share about a connection between Pope John Paul II and Orange County, please post a comment. Maybe the Pope landed his plane at El Toro MCAS? Maybe he spoke of something having to do with Orange County?

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