Saturday, January 12, 2008

Old Berry Stand at Knott's

Dale Turkle has a question for OCThen readers about what he thinks may be the remnants of the old roadside berry stand that Walter Knott used to run...

I'm enjoying your site and passing it on to interested friends, and have something to ask you and your readers.

I wonder if you can answer something for me. If you go into the Fiesta Village area at Knotts, walk all the way to the back,, and there is a food court near the furthest Northeast corner of the park.

Stand on a planter there and look over the inside wall toward Beach Blvd and you will see hidden in brambles an old shack and some berry plants. Could this be the remains of the old roadside stand, walled off from the general public and still facing the corner there?

Dale Turkle
Torrance CA
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  1. My mom used to take me to Knotts for years, back before the first gates went up, and when you could buy a year pass to get in. I've been 'exiled' out here in kansas for 20 years, but the last time i was at knotts, i remember seeing the old berry stand. as i remember, it seemed to be well preserved, and they were still selling juice from it.

  2. Dale: That shed is very unlikely to be any of the old roadside berry stands. However, it might be something else interesting. At the very least, I'm pleased to hear that berries are still growing *somewhere* at KBF.

    Can you give more details about where you saw this shed? The northeast corner of the park would be in Camp Snoopy, not Fiesta Village.

    When you say "food court," are you thinking of Lucy's Lunchbox in Camp Snoopy, or possibly Fiesta Foods next to the Happy Sombrero (teacup ride) in Fiesta Village?

    I'd like to take a look for myself, so any additional hints you can provide would be helpful.


  3. it's near the Fiesta Foods. I could be turned around a bit on my directions, I have not been there for a while. But if you walk through that fiesta village area and walk back to the dining area for that concession, on the right is a kind of planter/wall and if you climb up on it and look over there is an old structure. It's a little bigger than a simple shack. And I think there may have been a vintage truck sitting out there too when I saw it last.

    Sure looks like a non-public recreation of the old stand to me. If not an actual one. Maybe it's used for something like photos or to entertain VIPs.

  4. I have it on good authority from someone who works at Knott's that the Berry Stand no longer exists.

  5. I remember going to Knotts maybe over twenty years ago. I absolutely loved it. I would always get to see Steve Martin juggling balls in front of the Bird Cage theatre. I miss all the history, now it is bombarded with rollercoaster which takes so much away. I miss the Haunted Shack! Even Camp Snoopy has changed with rollercoaster buzzing overhead. BUMMER!

  6. Vivienne,
    Steve also worked inside the theatre in melodramas. He also had a job at Disneyland in the Magic Shop on Main Street, USA.
    I wish so bad I could go there again, but am disabled and don't see it happening at my age. I only like the older (Ghost Town) area. I used to like going at night too, even when it was drizzling rain. There were no crowds. I still have a bullet from a train holdup. It is marked that it's from a Knott's Berry Farm train robbery.
    The Haunted Shack isn't gone is it? I hope not.

  7. I took music lessons and went to school with a guy named John Gabler. His nickname was "Champ." He started at Knotts as the barker at the Bird Cage Theater. Eventually he ended up behind a desk in the office. He retired and the next time you're on your way driving up the 15 to Vegas, stop at Peggy Sue's Diner and say hi. He and his wife bought it years ago.

  8. My grandmother used to tell us about how she would stop and get berries from the Knott's stand when Mrs. Knott was selling them and her children were babies playing on the floor. Grandma also said that when Mrs. Knott started serving chicken dinners they were so popular that there were long lines of people waiting. That's when they started putting up the ghost town as something to keep the customers entertained until they could have dinner. I think they got the idea of the ghost town because the Knott's owned the real Calico Ghost Town. My grandparent's owned property near Calico at that time. When my mom was in high school she was a waitress at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant and Mrs. Knott checked every plate before it went out to the customer. When I was little I remember going to Knott's many times, especially when it was free. We loved the seals. Also,the Woodimals which was in the area across from the main park. It was a shady area of trails with many "animals" made out of trees and branches. That would have been in the 60's. I haven't been to Knott's in probably 20 plus years and with all the changes I think I prefer to remember "the good old days".

  9. Great memories. Walter Knott wasn't sole owner of Calico Ghost Town, he shared ownership with a relative of the owner of Calico's Silver King mine. Walter relocated buildings not only from Calico but other ghost towns in California as well as Prescott, Arizona.
    I started going in the 1950's. Ever since I have been totally absorbed by the Old West. My fondest memories are of an old 'miner' helping me pan for gold, the graveyard, a chicken dinner with Boysenberry pie for dessert and closing the day by sitting around the campfire watching the show. My very best memory is when I was about 8 or 9, when the train robbers dropped bullets on the floor of the train and as soon as they left me and some other kid picked up a few each. I have one left to this day that didn't get lost over the years, it is engraved with info.
    I never missed a chance to take my kids but I sure had a nice time when I went without kids as an adult. Man I wish I could go again but it will never be. I have my memories and a lot of slides of when I went as a kid but my sister in California has them stored away and much as I ask she still hasn't sent to me to turn into photos for all us kids on CD.


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