Monday, March 5, 2012

The Sky Cabin At Knott's Reopens! - Part 5

Today we are STILL riding aboard the newly reopened Sky Cabin at Knott's Berry Farm! This vintage shot of the Sky Cabin is used here courtesy of the Orange County Archives.

We are now looking in a northeastern direction. The sun is behind us at this point and it's casting some pretty long shadows. In fact, if you look closely, you can see the shadow of the Sky Cabin and it's twenty-story tower being cast across La Palma Avenue (just to the left of the center of the pic).

Here are two more 1977 pics from Major Pepperidge's collection.

I've circled some more points of interest. The green circle is around the old California Alligator Farm site. Knott's bought this property after it closed down and it is now used for overflow parking.

In the vintage photos, the Alligator Farm property can be seen with a fence around it. Just to the right of that (not circled) is the old Cottage Pottery shop that used to be at the corner of Beach Blvd. and La Palma Ave. Does anyone remember that? Claim Jumper's restaurant sits on that corner today. I've circled the Galloping Goose railcar and one of the Gasoline Alley cars in blue, but we saw a close-up look at them in yesterday's post.

It will be difficult to see due to the shadows and trees, but the red circle is around the old brick arches that still stand along La Palma Ave. Did I hear someone say, "What brick arches?" Well, we will take a closer look at them in just a minute.

The yellow and the purple circles are around two former Home Savings and Loan locations. We'll be taking a more detailed look at them as well.

First, here are a couple souvenirs from the old Alligator Farm. This was a Southern California attraction that unfortunately I never made it to, but I do remember the large Alligator sign that used be out near the street. I would love to find an old picture of it!

According to Wikipedia, the Alligator Farm was originally located in a Lincoln Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, next door to the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm. It opened in 1907 and was moved to Buena Park in 1953. It closed in 1984 due to a drop in attendance and the alligators were relocated to a private estate in Florida.

These are the brick arches mentioned earlier. They aren't that easy to find in the park. They are visible when riding the Stagecoach......

....or when riding the Dragon Swing!

This piece of architecture has a long history at Knott's as seen in this vintage photo used here courtesy of the Orange County Archives. Note the old sign for the Alligator Farm on the fence across the street. The trees behind the arches seemed to have survived at least until the 1977 photos were taken, but have since been cut down.

Now we'll look at a couple structures across the street from Knott's. The building that was circled in purple in the aerial shots was the first of two Home Savings and Loans built at the intersection of Beach Blvd. and La Palma Ave. Home Savings and Loan was an institution that was known for incorporating artwork into the design of their buildings.

Let's take a closer look at the mural above the entrance.

The yellow circle in the aerial pics was highlighting the property just across the street. In the late seventies, Home Savings and Loan moved out of their original location on the southeastern corner of the intersection and into a larger building on the northeastern corner. In fact, if you look at the pics from 1977, the lot is being cleared and prepared for construction. Today, Chase has moved into the newer building after acquiring it from Washington Mutual. And look, there's IHOP sitting right next door just as it did in 1977.

We'll zoom in closer on the mosaic above the entrance. The subject of this mural happens to be Knott's Berry Farm! Who knew?

An even closer look reveals the detail. This particular mural is the work of artists Susan Hertel and Denis O' Connor.

We will end today with this small photo. It's a close up of the old Buena Park Mall sign and it can be seen off in the distance (circled in pink) in one of the vintage aerial pics. The mall was built in 1961 and for years the sign read "BPC" which stood for "Buena Park Center." I believe it was in the late seventies that it was changed to "BPM" for "Buena Park Mall" after a roof had been built over the outdoor shopping center. The sign has since been torn down and the name of the mall has changed once again to "Buena Park Downtown." Couldn't they have left this cool mid-century modern sign and just swapped the "M" for a "D"? I stopped by the mall a few months ago for the first time in over twenty years and found it to be in pretty sad shape. I took some photos of the interior and will possibly include them in a future post.


Major Pepperidge said...

The Corkscrew.... back when being upside-down on a roller coaster was a real novelty! I still remember the smooth, strange sensation going through the barrel roll.

Thanks for showing where the Alligator Farm was, I really wasn't sure! Is this the sign you were talking about?

The arches are interesting too, I didn't know anything about those!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I still remember what it was like going on The Corkscrew that very first time!

Thanks for the link to your vintage Alligator Farm pic. The sign I am remembering was a large wooden roadside-type of sign....almost like a billboard, but it sat closer to the ground just next to the driveway into the parking lot. I think there were two of off of Beach Blvd. and one off La Palma Ave. I definitely remember seeing them in the seventies every time we would go to Knott's, but they may have even existed up until 1984 when they closed. Maybe I should contact Chris Jepsen to see if he has pics of it.

Those arches are pretty well hidden. I forgot to mention that they are very similar to the El Camino Real arches that used to be in Calico Square in front of the Stagecoach underpass that leads to Fiesta Village. Unfortunately, those are long gone!

Snow White Archive said...

Enjoyed the comparison photos with the Major's. And nice details, right down to the murals and alligator park.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Dude, this was a stunning series of posts (sorry I just got to them now) since I would never go in the cabin again this was like taking a detailed trip without passing out from the heights!

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you SWS and VDT! VDT, the series isn't over yet! I still have two more parts....I was just taking a little break. I'll post the next part (Part 6) later tonight or tomorrow.

JG said...

Wonderful series, thank you so much for the memories.

Were those masonry arches as old as they appeared, or just themed construction? I have seen them in many photos but do not recall from youth.

I remember touring the Movieland Museum, but never went to the alligator farm. What a collection of oddities.


JG said...

Forgot to mention the Home Savings. These were all over the place, I remember Dad had an account in the Fresno branch.

All the buildings were themed like this, in a distinctive sort of '70's classical with a cornice and marblecrete paneling. Nothing else was quite like them at the time. Later that style became sort of "post-modern", but Home Savings were never really appreciated by the architectural press. I don't know if that style came from the company, or if their architect selected and developed it, but it was their consistent corporate style for all free-standing branches.

The themed art you show is unusual, all the buildings had murals, but I don't recall that they were place-specific, at least the SJ Valley locations were not. Sort of "clip-art" art.

I had forgotten these completely till now.


Dan Alexander said...

Wow, I love the mural art! You just don't seem to see work like this much anymore.

It reminds me of seeing a "Tilly the All Time Teller" sign from the 70s clinging to life about ten years ago outside a bank in Alabama. Tilly was removed years ago. Sad.

Epic series!

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, I think those arches are pretty old. Exactly how old? I'm not sure. I'm guessing that the black and white photo was taken in the fifies since the Alligator Farm had already moved in across the street, so they go back at least that far.

JG and Dan, I love the old Home Savings buildings that are located throughout Southern California. Even as a kid, I had an appreciation for them and knew that some extra special effort had gone into their design and construction.

outsidetheberm said...

Chris -
Regarding your arch questions; the arches were built in early 1956 as part of the El Camino Real Mission Walk. The mission models were built by Leon De Volo.
The arch in your post is the northern San Francisco arch while the southern arch (near the town square) was the San Diego arch.
I'll email you a copy of the March 1956 Knotty Post article about it if you'd like to see more - or post the page.

Great posts, as usual - thanks so much.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks OTB for the additional information about the arches. And I did receive your email and scan...thanks for that too! I never really thought about how those arches would be more or less in line with the other arches in Calico Square and that all the models of the missions would have stretched out between the two. It all makes sense now!

Connie Moreno said...

Wow, another great post! I am loving this and learning so much.