After a slight break, it's now time for more "then and now" photos taken from the Sky Cabin high above Knott's Berry Farm. Hey looky there....next to the photo of the Sky Cabin....it's Greased Lightening! Remember that attraction?
Today, we are looking in a southern direction. This is the current view.
And through the magic of Major Pepperidge's time machine, we can take in the same view as it appeared in 1977. That round structure in the lower right corner of this first pic was the Whirlwind attraction (later replaced by Greased Lightening).
Here's the current pic again, but with some of the sights highlighted. I mention them often, and there they are....the Haunted Shack (circled in red) and Knott's Berry Tales (circled in yellow). The property that the Haunted Shack used to sit on is now the location of the Screamin' Swing, an up-charge thrill attraction (meaning it's not included in the price of admission). The old Knott's Bear-y Tales/Kingdom of the Dinosaurs space is unfortunately not being used at this time, but it's just begging for a new dark ride!
The Buena Park Hotel can be seen off in the distance (circled in blue). The hotel was purchased by Knott's in 1998 and is now called the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel. The white circle is around a section of the Knott's parking lot that for years was just an empty field. I remember hearing a story when I worked at Knott's, that some guy owned the property and had been feuding with the Knott Family for years and refused to sell it to them....but then as soon as he died, his family did just that. Maybe that was only an urban myth. I think I remember hearing something very similar about the guy that used to own the strawberry field down the street from Disneyland (now the Toy Story parking lot and supposedly the future site of Disney's "third gate" in Anaheim.) Does anyone out there know the truth about these pieces of property?
The Calico Mine Train's show building can be seen on the left (circled in orange). The side facing the Roaring 20's was once themed to look like a vintage bath house. Here's a shot of the sign that used to hang on on the backside of the show building.
The Charleston Circle fountain can be seen circled in pink. This fountain was actually a movie prop that was used in the film, "Hello Dolly." When it was first installed at Knott's, it was not a working fountain and it's base was just a planter.
In the eighties, someone got the idea to have it actually function as a fountain. Note the water on the ground in the photo below. At first, Knott's did not make the pool below big enough and water constantly splashed all over. Some time later, a larger basin was built to correct the problem.
This is how the fountain appeared a few months ago, but the last time I went to Knott's, this area was under construction and it looked like the trees had been removed and replaced with smaller ones. That's a Johnny Rockets visible in the background. It opened in 2006 in the space formerly occupied by the old Lindy's hot dog stand and also a portion of the Buffalo Nickel Arcade.
The area circled in green in the vintage photo is the old Starlight Pavilion stage. In 1986, this area was converted to Pacific Pavilion and a pool was built in front of it that featured "Dancing Dolphins" and "Diving Doggies."
Today the area is part of the Perilous Plunge attraction. Geez, that ride has to be one of biggest eyesores at Knott's! I would trade it in a heartbeat for the Whirlwind/Greased Lightening and Propeller Spin/Whirlpool attractions that used to sit in it's spot.....along with the small grove of palm trees that used to exist just to the right of the Starlight Pavilion.
The purple circle (just below the hotel) is around the old Knott's Preserving Kitchen. This building sits in the backstage area, but was converted to office space when a new preserving plant was built in Placentia in the eighties. That newer plant is still producing jams and jellies under the Knott's Berry Farm name, but it is now owned by the J.M. Smucker Co.
And finally, the area circled in black in the photos, is the site of Lakeside Terrace, an employee restaurant that was built in 1982 on the land between the Cloud 9 Ballroom and the Calico Mine Train. This article from the employee publication, "The Berry Vine", talks about a contest to name the new "Employee Dining Room" and shows an artist's rendering of the exterior.
This photo appeared in an issue of "The Berry Vine" one month later. There was originally a patio/balcony outside the dining room where you could sit, eat your lunch and enjoy a view of the Corkscrew going by over the lake below. It was pretty nice. Unfortunately, the balcony has since been demolished. The floor to ceiling windows are still there, but I would really like to know why they got rid of that balcony. Also, I've heard from a current Knott's employee that the restaurant inside closed years ago, leaving only vending machines available to the employees for breaks and lunches. This person also informed me that the tables inside are always covered thick with trash and that nobody clears them off. Nice! Who made that decision to neglect something that was built to benefit the employees?
This is how the building appears today. It's not the most attractive piece of architecture, but it did look nicer with it's awning-covered balcony. When the Corkscrew was removed, the lake below also disappeared and was eventually replaced with remote control cars. Maybe they should change the name of the building from Lakeside Terrace to Roadside Terrace? Hall Of Vending Machines? The Big Ugly Gray Box?
There will be one more part to this series, which will include some miscellaneous views from high above Knott's!
Steve Allen in Frontierland
5 hours ago