Saturday, July 3, 2021

Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm (55th Anniversary!)

In the 1960s, Walter Knott fulfilled a longtime dream of his, by building his own recreation of Philadelphia's Independence Hall.

He built his full-scale replica across the street from the family's already famous Ghost Town, and Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

The area across Beach Blvd. was known at that time as, "Knott's Lagoon." The Lagoon area included rides such as a miniature steamboat and train, built and run by Knott's "concessionaire," Bud Hurlbut.  By this time, Mr. Hurlbut had already completed construction on his Calico Mine Ride, and would go on to build his Calico Log Ride, both within Walter Knott's Ghost Town. 

The official dedication and opening of Independence Hall, took place on July 4, 1966.  Walter Knott can be seen below, speaking at the dedication ceremony.

Here's a modern day (2017) view of Independence Hall.

Just inside the entrance is the "Tower Room," and this impressive replica of the Liberty Bell.

The bell was faithfully recreated (right down to it's "crack") by Bud Hurlbut, who presented it to Walter Knott as a gift.

Bud can be seen above, and below (far right), along with his father, Ray Hurlbut (far left), and Walter Knott (middle).

Here are some more views of the Tower Room:

Beyond the Tower Room, in the northeast corner of the building, is the Declaration Chamber.  This sign explains the chamber's historical importance.

The Declaration Chamber has been recreated with exacting detail.

Within the Declaration Chamber, guests can experience a "sight and sound" reenactment of the debates, which led to the creation of our nation's Declaration of Independence.

Just to the east of Independence Hall, is a small brick structure.  It was once connected via a covered walkway, to a larger building to the north.  These buildings used to be the starting point for the Independence Hall tours, and where a "pre-tour" film would be shown.  The names of the buildings have changed over the years.  The larger building, was called Heritage Hall in it's earlier days, and was later changed to "Colonial Library," before ultimately being torn down.

This smaller building was also labeled at times, as part of Heritage Hall, but was being called the "Conference Room" by the 1980s, and was the location of my "cash handling" training, as a Knott's new-hire.  We were told that it was also the room where the Knott Family held their "board meetings."

And just south of the "Conference Room" building, is a replica of John Chester French's statue, The Minute Man, recreated by famed Knott's artist, Claude Bell.  The inscription on it's base is the first stanza of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Concord Hymn, and reads:

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood.  Their flags to April's breeze unfurled.  Here once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world."

The statue used to stand at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Crescent Avenue, with Independence Hall centered behind it, in the distance.  The statue was moved to it's present location in 2000, when Knott's built it's Soak City waterpark, right smack in front of Independence Hall.

Now, let's take a look at some vintage Independence Hall "ephemera," starting with a couple of vintage postcards:

The same view today:

 The same view today:

An Independence Hall brochure dated 1969, but reissued multiple times after that date (note the park's Roaring 20s area, listed on the map):


 A Liberty Bell brochure:

Most of the brochure gives the history of the real Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia.  I had forgotten some of the history, about how the bell was completely melted down twice and recast, after it's initial cracking.  And also how it's second/final cracking occurred 83 years later!

Individual tickets were available for admission and a guided tour. This ticket stub is from the late seventies and is a personal souvenir, from the very first time I went inside Independence Hall.

 The reverse side:


This is an older ticket stub, for admission and the tour:

Attraction tickets at Knott's were given a "letter" grade/rating, just as Disneyland's tickets were. The Knott's system of rating was the opposite of Disney's, so an "A" Ticket (as seen below) was the equivalent of an "E" ticket at Disneyland. Tickets for the rides inside Knott's amusement area, could also be used for attractions located outside of the park. As stated at the bottom of this "A" ticket, it could also be used at Independence Hall or Henry's Auto Livery.

This ticket is from 1975. By this time, Independence Hall had been downgraded from an "A" to a "B" ticket.

The Knott's Adventurer's Club was similar to Disneyland's Magic Kingdom Club. Card holders were entitled to discounts on special tickets and ticket books.  Included in a special 1976 Knott's Adventurer's Club Ticket Book, was this extra "Bicentennial Bonus" ticket for Independence Hall.  (I should mention that today, admission to Independence Hall is free to everyone.)

These next items are souvenirs that were once available at Knott's.

An "antique-style" wash bowl and pitcher:

A souvenir silver spoon:

A "half cup," for only "half" a cup of coffee:

A 1976 bicentennial badge/pin (made of plastic):

Here are two newer souvenirs.  In honor of Knott's Berry Farm's 100th anniversary (2020), they have been releasing a series of 100 collector's pins (one per week).  Last July, an Independence Hall pin (#23 in the series) was released, along with a ceramic "Liberty Bell" coin bank:

This year, a Liberty Bell pin (#72 in the series) was released:

Here's a unique souvenir.  It's an actual Independence Hall costume, from the 1970s.  In 1985, the Knott's Wardrobe Department held a sale for employees only, in order to get rid of some of the older park costumes that were no longer in use.  If I am remembering correctly, these dresses were being sold for one dollar.

The matching hair accessory:

Below, are some examples of the 1970s Independence Hall costumes in use:

We will end this post with a couple of related items.

For the 1970 Tournament of Roses Parade, the official Knott's Berry Farm float featured Walter and Cordelia Knott, seated in front of a floral recreation of Independence Hall.

In 1983, the Knott Family converted the Knott's Lagoon area, along with Bud Hurlbut's Lagoon attractions, into a parking lot.  Independence Hall was left standing, along with it's Liberty Bell that Bud had created.  Soon after that, Bud moved his antique Dentzel carousel that had entertained guests for decades at the Lagoon, to Castle Park, his own amusement park in Riverside, California

And in 1987, when the Knott Family got rid of Bud's Tijuana Taxi ride (formerly named "Antique Auto Ride" and "Merry-Go-Round Auto Ride") in Fiesta Village, he moved it to his own park, as well.  Both former Knott's/Hurlbut attractions can still be enjoyed at Castle Park, today.  Additionally, guests to Castle Park will also find Bud's own personal copy of the Liberty Bell, out on display in the park.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!



Andrew said...

Great post! I will definitely check Independence Hall out when I go to Knott's, even though I'm sure it's skipped by the majority of visitors and I've seen the real thing. I remember reading that Cedar Fair "restored" the building, though I'm not sure what that means. It sounds like a minor improvement compared to all they removed.

If I saw a theme park with a "SUPER BONANZA" ticket system, I would be there. I'm sure that it wasn't easy to unify all the concessionaires into one ticket. I find it interesting that the Stage Coach was a top-tier attraction, but I guess Knott's didn't have as much to do back then. How many different letters of tickets were there?

The "half cup" is a neat gag gift. I have to ask - have you collected any more of the Knott's pins since last year? And did you purchase any other costumes at the Wardrobe Department sale?

I've enjoyed those "This Day in History" posts on the Knott's Facebook page. It seems like they "get it" when it comes to social media.

Castle Park is run by Parques Reunidos, which also owns Kennywood. (I've heard them called the "worst theme park operator ever.") The rumor was that they were going to close Castle Park as well as one of my local parks, Idlewild - probably for just this summer - if things didn't get better for amusement parks, which they thankfully have.

Happy 4th, TM!

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks, Andrew! Yes, if you have seen the real Independence Hall, then I don't know if there is any need to take valuable time out of a first-time visit, just to see the Knott's version. However, if you were visiting Knott's for multiple days, or on a return visit, then you might find it worthwhile to check out.

I do believe that many people skip seeing I.H. at Knott's. It's on the other side of the street from the park, and even though many guests end up parking across the street, you do not walk past it on the way to the tunnel under the street. I'm guessing that many guests don't even know that you can go inside of it.

Knott's ticket system went from A to D. They did not have "E" tickets. I'm not sure if the Stage Coach was always a top-tier attraction, or if it was ever downgraded before they eliminated the ticketing system altogether.

Tickets for the Lagoon attractions could be bought individually over at the Lagoon, so a ticket book was not absolutely necessary to go on the rides across the street.

I did buy some more Knott's Wardrobe items. I bought some additional I.H. costumes, in other colors. I also have one that was "painted" black and used for Knott's Halloween Haunt, one year. I also bought some vests and bow ties, which the balloon vendors used to wear. I'm kicking myself for not buying any of the Roaring 20s jumpsuits that they were selling. Those were also only $1, but unfortunately, they had removed the huge embroidered patch from the backs of them, which read, "Knott's Roaring 20s Airfield." They basically looked like any jumpsuit that any mechanic might wear, anywhere. But of course now, I do regret not buying at least one of them. Oh, and I also bought some garrison/flight hats, which were also worn by employees in the Roaring 20s Airfield. For some reason, they did not cut off the "K" patch off of those. I wish I had bought more items, especially when I see that a simple white Chicken Dinner Restaurant apron from the 1980s, sold for over $300 at the Knott's auction, back in 2017! There was nothing even on the front of the apron to identify it as being from Knott's (although their might have been a wardrobe tag sewn on the reverse side.

I did not know that Castle Park came close to being shut down. I hope that it continues to operate and that the owners will keep it properly maintained. In addition to the Lagoon Carousel and the Tijuana Taxi, they also have two of Bud's miniature trains (although neither one of them is the train from Knott's Lagoon).

As for the 100th anniversary pin series, I have continued to buy some of the pins. I gave up on trying to get all of them. There have been some pins that I just did not care for. Plus, I had already accepted the fact that I was never going to have every pin anyway, after the "great pin fiasco" that occurred at Knott's, back in early 2020. At that time, Knott's was allowing guests to buy as many pins as they wanted, and one day, they sold out within a couple minutes after the park opened. Those pins are now being sold on ebay for well over $100, by the people who "hoarded" them. The pins are now limited to 2 per guest.


Great post!! As often as I go to KNOTT’s, I have been around Independence Hall , but I haven’t been inside in decades . When is it ever open? They do not disclaimer to guests that’s it’s open from what I see.

Around 1977 I was at Knott’s with my grandparents and we visited Independence hall ..... there was a section in one of the lower levers ( I unless it was in a out building - I can’t recall now) but my grandparents bought me a Independence Hall plastic model that snapped together by Bachmann Trains . The packaging featured a artists illustration with the “spirit of 76” patriots. I don’t think it was special to Knott’s berry Farm , but the box featured a gold foil sunburst sticker with the Knott’s Berry Farm logo that read something along the lines of “Knott’s salutes the American bicentennial “ or something like that. When I got home and but the model together I stuck the gold sticker on my night stand lampshade and at some point over time the adhesive backing wore out and I stuck it in a wax paper envelope that I kept Disney postage stamps in. The funny thing is I remember in early college finding that gold label .... now it’s lost again , but it’s funny the Knott’s label outlasted the model and the model’s box.

Before that trip I remember getting to purchase from Knott’s Independence Hall some colonial figures of famous revolutionary characters ( and a cannon too) each painted plastic figure came in a clear plastic bag with a cardboard tag stapled to the top that featured the history of the characters and why they were important to the revolution etc. the figures were about the size a plastic army men and the quality of painting was like that of DisneyKins. In fact I wonder if these figures were made by Marx Toys?? The figures had no mention of Knott’s except the price tag.

I also have a cardstock model of Independence Hall from around 1976 by a company called MINI MANSIONS .... I remember getting it because it made me think of Knott’s . It remains unbuilt and STILL in the cellophane wrapper!!

I’m sure you are familiar with the Knott’s Berry Farm Bob Bates attraction posters produced in 1980 and being reprinted today. Bob Bates painted other Knott’s attractions intended to be produced as there poster - but for some reason never were. However, some of the ACTUAL painted artwork was framed and but in display along the shops and chicken restaurant . There was a Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars , Mexican Hat dance , and Independence Hall with a minuteman standing in the foreground! I wish they had made posters if these as well.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, thanks for sharing your Knott's I.H. memories! There is a room in the northeastern corner of the building, with some more historical displays and some merchandise for sale, as well. I photographed some of the displays in that room, but for some reason, didn't include them in the post. I don't remember any models for sale, but that doesn't mean that there weren't any. The souvenirs that stood out the most to me were boxed sets of Pez dispensers, with the heads of each and every U.S. president!

I LOVE the Bob Bates attraction posters from the park's 60th anniversary in 1980. I don't know if I've seen the posters that you've mentioned, which were not actually produced. But they sound similar to the artwork that was on the large wall map that he did for Knott's, around the same time. There was artwork around the borders of the map, for the Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars, Happy Sombrero (Hat Dance) and Independence Hall. Was this the same artwork that was going to be used for larger posters? I also wish that they had produced the additional posters!

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I forgot to mention that I.H. has been open every time I have walked over there, as long as it was during the day. I have a feeling that they probably close up by 4 or 5 p.m. Also, I don't know if they have reopened with the rest of the park. I think Soak City (which was built practically on top of I.H.) just recently reopened, so maybe I.H. is open again, too.


Two of the Bob Bates painted poster artwork remained until the early 90’s. Independence Hall and Wheeler Dealer . A friend of mine was at Cal Arts at the time and did a research “book” on the Roaring 20’s ( Chris Merritt of Knott’s Preserved) and used a picture of the Wheeler Dealer poster art in that research project . These were similar to the perimeter illustrations of the 1976 map art. For whatever reason Knott’s displayed the actually artwork of the unproduced posters. Wheeler Dealer and Independence Hall were displayed along the covered walkways between the candy store and the chicken restaurant. The Happy Sombrero was on the wall of the chicken restaurant facing Virginia’s Gift Shop ( I remember to the right of it was a coin operated mechanical music box. I recall the Sombreo poster art was either gone by then or their may have been a chicken diner waiting line blocking the poster (??) either way he took photos of just the Independence Hall
Poster art and the Wheeler Dealer poster art . I wonder if their had been other un produced poster art put on display? Knotts sold their original poster art a few years ago but they had only saved the art for the posters printed in 1980. You’ll note in 2021 Knott’s used the unaltered art for the Calico and Ghost Town Railway that features FIESTA VILLAGE GHOST TOWN ROARING 20’s . The original 1980 printed poster had a paper overlay covering up the lands and read authentic Denver narrow gauge or something along those lines.

Do you know about Bob Bates and his wife hidden on the 1976 Knott’s wall map? At the top of the lake in fiesta village you will see a man on his knee proposing to a lady ; that’s where bob Bates proposed to his wife!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Do you know about Bob Bates and his wife hidden on the 1976 Knott’s wall map? At the top of the lake in fiesta village you will see a man on his knee proposing to a lady ; that’s where bob Bates proposed to his wife!

Mike, that is so cool! I did not know about that!

That's interesting about the un-produced poster artwork being used in the Knott's Marketplace. I wasn't working there by the early nineties, and I wasn't going there during that time, either. So, I don't remember the artwork out on display, but the more you talk about it, it is now starting to sound familiar for some reason. Was that artwork sold at the 2017 Knott's auction?


Knotts auctioned off the original poster art for the Bob Bates attraction posters everyone is familiar with - the ones sold to guests in 1980 and the ones reproduced for sale in 2021.

I asked around with some Knott’s collectors and historians and it seems that the only other designed but never printed posters were just WHEELER DEALER BUMPER CARS , HAPPY SOMBRERO, and INDEPENDENCE HALL seem to be the only other ones anybody is aware off. It’s also Unknown what happened to the original artwork for those three and where they are today if they survived at all.

Too bad Knott’s didn’t save them : they could have been finally printed and added with the current reproductions.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, thanks again for that information! I seemed to remember some Bob Bates artwork being in that auction, once you mentioned it. I'll have to go back through my photos I took at the auction preview, or the auction catalog. Wouldn't that be great if they found that original artwork for the three un-produced posters, lying around somewhere.

This might be a stupid question, but if they sold the original artwork for those other posters, what do they use to print the Bob Bates posters that are currently being sold for the 100th anniversary? Do they just print them from copies of the originals?

Stefano said...

TokyoMagic!, I belatedly salute you for this splendidly patriotic and spirited post --- in fact you've kept the 4th holiday feeling going with this one.

For kids, seeing Independence Hall from a distance on Beach Blvd. was like eyeing the Matterhorn from Harbor: that exciting "you have arrived" moment. I was lucky to take the full tour as a child, starting at the adjunct building and then led by a pretty guide to the Hall. It may have been History Lite, but it did make the subject interesting.

The best part was the Declaration Chamber; flickering candles and the Founders' voices issuing from the tables was an effective illusion, putting your imagination to work. With the upstairs areas off limits, as kids we made up stories of what was up there; we decided it must hold apartments for the whole extended Knott family -- there was certainly enough room.

I had read that the project was so faithful that the bricks were handcrafted leaving fingerprints behind, as with the original, and it's true: as a teen I filmed a friend placing his digits in the crafters' prints.

That's surprising now, how cheaply they sold the castoff costumes. Incidentally, as a child walking the Beach Blvd underpass, I encountered a young man in full colonial costume, breeches and powdered wig and all. He may have been going or returning from an employee break, but I don't recall ever again seeing male cast members working the Hall.

Do you know if Hollywood ever used the Buena Park Hall to stand in for the real deal? The late, lamented Ports O' Call was filmed to represent Colonial America, pretty convincingly though I can't remember what the TV show was.


Knott’s had used digitized printing films for the posters. Their display department and merchandising group prior to the reissue of the posters this year used for anniversaries and window displays as well as some merchandise over the years including some keychains , mugs and book images . There was also a series of Bob Bates Knotts attraction poster Christmas ornaments around 2018-2019??

It is interesting that the current printing of the Calico & Ghost Town RR poster has the original art version and not the altered version from 1980 set of posters ..... I bet Knotts made new scans right off the original art before they auctioned it off!

Stephano: Bewitched filmed at Ports O Call and so did MANNIX ( several times) Barnaby Jones and CANNON did too but it was Ports o Call being Ports O Call. I bet lots of other productions featured Ports O Call as well.

TokyoMagic! said...

Stefano, Happy belated 4th of July, to you!

You are right about Independence Hall being sort of the equivalent of "spotting the Matterhorn" for kids riding in the car. I remember after 1976, it was more about spotting the Parachute/Sky Jump tower.

As for Independence Hall's second floor, a good portion of it, if not all of it, is an auditorium. There is a stairway on the backside of I.H., which leads up to it. As a new-hire, I had my Knott's "orientation" in that auditorium. I wonder if they still use it for employee functions?

I was going to mention the fact that the bricks were hand made and contained fingerprints, but I saw that it was explained in that pamphlet that I posted, so I left that part out of my info.

I think the wardrobe department just wanted to get rid of the old stuff. I do wonder if they have those kind of sales now. This was in the days before the internet and ebay, so I imagine today, people would glom onto the costumes, so they could resell them at a higher price.

Do you remember what year that was that you saw a mad dressed in colonial attire? They did film scenes for the miniseries, "The Rebels" (1979) at Independence Hall. In fact, there is a photo out there of Tom Bosley, dressed as Benjamin Franklin, standing among some camera equipment while filming at I.H. Also, all of the Independence Hall scenes in "National Treasure," were supposedly filmed at Knott's.

Here's a link to the "Tom Bosley as Benjamin Franklin" photo:,_Knott%27s_Berry_Farm,_1979.jpg

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I did buy some of those keychains with the Bob Bates artwork on them, some years back. I was just frustrated that the artwork was so small! I was also able to buy one of the posters in the General Store, about 10 years ago. It was supposedly "old stock" that they had come across and put out. At that time, I was really wishing that they had all of them. I also bought some of those Bob Bates Christmas ornaments, during the 2019 Christmas season. They seemed to have only used the Ghost Town designs at that time. I am glad that they have reissued ALL of the posters for the 100th!

Major Pepperidge said...

Aw, I love Independence Hall at Knott’s Berry Farm! My first real experience with it was from a class field trip, when it must have been about five years old. There were MANY other school groups, maybe there was something about that day. Or maybe that was a typical day?! I think we saw the pre-tour film in that little structure.

Neat construction photo. And WOW, that photo with Walter Knott at the dedication - is that one that you (or maybe your father) took? Very neat!

When we did a soap-carving project in grade school, I decided to carve a version of the Liberty Bell, inspired partly by seeing it at Knott’s. My carving was too flat (maybe I could have somehow stuck two bars of “Ivory” together?) and I spent plenty of time getting the crack just right.

The photo of Bud Hurlbut working on the bell is interesting - I think there are stories about how hard it was to crack their copy, but it appears as if it was just sculpted in from the beginning? Maybe I’m misinterpreting the photo.

I’ve mentioned this before, but on one of my last trips to Knott’s, I walked over to Independence Hall. It was a warm day, and it was fun to observe the chickens just walking around, with nothing to keep them from going anywhere they wanted. I went inside the building and it was a real time-warp, remembering my field trip so vividly. The level of detail is impressive. The only other person around was a lady (with a “Betsy Ross”-style cap) knitting in the gift shop. It was so quiet and dreamlike!

I sure love that they built Soak City right in front of Independence Hall, what a great idea.

I love that “Bicentennial Bonus” card - I wish Knott’s had more fun ticket ephemera to collect, but compared to Disneyland, the variety is pretty scanty. That half cup of coffee is so corny, I love it! I wish that souvenir Liberty Bell was made of metal, I would buy one right now.

Incredible that they sold off those costumes for ONE DOLLAR. And I love seen Walter and Cordelia in the Rose Parade. They look elegant in all-white! Fun detail that Bud Hurlbut made his own Liberty Bell for Castle Park. I’ll bet it was much cheaper to make his copy once he’d done all that work for KBF.

THANKS for the fun post!

Chuck said...

I meant to comment on the 4th and got sidetracked.

I think we visited Knott’s Independence Hall in January of 1976. For some reason, I seem to remember going there on the way to the parking lot after the park closed, like it was open a bit longer and was a perfect way to end the visit. I remember the guide in the mob cap and the audio presentation of the Signers’ words. The lights went up and down, and when they were down, the only illumination was from electric “candles” on the delegates’ desks, next to their quills and ink fonts. I feel like it was well on to dusk when we walked out, but I might be mixing it up with the lights going up and down and the curtains drawn.

My mother, who had been to the real Independence Hall in Philadelphia, was impressed with the replica, and we bought a souvenir guide (now lost) of just Independence Hall. I think that was the only souvenir we got on that visit.

I was in the first grade, and my teacher, Mrs. Matthews, gave us an outstanding grounding in what the Bicentennial was all about. I was nuts about Revolutionary America and anything related to the Bicentennial. I had a tricorn hat; a toy flintlock; Bicentennial bedspreads with all of the states, their capital cities, and their dates of admission; a red-white-and-blue lantern lamp; the USA Bicentennial Game, and other stuff I can’t remember anymore. It made a huge impression on me, and I am still hugely nostalgic for that time (both the Revolutionary Era as well as the Bicentennial).

My favorite Hollywood use of Knott’s Independence Hall is in John Wayne’s 1970 TV special, Swing Out, Sweet Land. Knott's Independence Hall shows up from 18:52 - 19:46. The palm trees off to the right are a dead giveaway.

Ports o’ Call Village also makes guest appearances from19:46 - 23:44 (an unusual musical setting of the text of the Declaration of Independence as sung by the Doodletown Pipers so firmly trapped in 1970 that it must be seen to be fully believed); from 27:14 - 27:43 (an intro to Dean Martin as Eli Whitney); and from 43:37 - 45:22 (David & Ricky Nelson on opposite sides of the Civil War).

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that's pretty cool that your school went to see Knott's I.H. on a field trip. My school went on field trips, but we never did that one!

The construction photo and the one of the dedication ceremony were both from the O.C. Archives. They state that their photos can be used, but request that you give them credit. I don't know if they want it in the text or included on the photo, but I put it in a watermark (albeit small) on the actual photos.

Soap carving? Wow! Did your school give the students real knives?

I've heard multiple stories about how Bud got the crack in his copy of the Liberty Bell, but I'm not sure which is the true story. Supposedly, his bell is within five pounds of the weight of the real Liberty Bell. The man did his homework!

I hate how junked up the view is now, as you approach I.H., heading north on Beach Blvd. It's pretty much blocked by the wall around Soak City and also the water slide paraphernalia sticking up above the wall. You don't really see I.H. now until you are right next to it. You posted a pic some years back, that was taken from the intersection of Crescent Ave. and Beach Blvd. In that pic, you could see I.H. standing majestically, off in the distance.......without any waterpark junk in the foreground. I really am surprised that management didn't insist on making Independence Hall a part of Soak City, and include a giant spiraling slide down and around it's steeple!

It is a little hard to believe that the wardrobe dept. would sell off costumes for such a low price, but I really do think they just wanted to get rid of them and clear up some space. Also, we did make a lot less per hour, back then. I just looked up minimum wage for 1985 and it was only $3.35 an hour! I made more than that, because by then I had been given several raises, plus a promotion a year earlier. I remember starting "Lead" pay in 1984 was $5.35. So, that might also be why I didn't stock up on more costumes. Of course today, I regret not doing that!

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I think that presentation in the darkened room, with just the flickering candle lights and the audio, really is impressive....especially for Knott's. Of course, Disney would have done it with audio-animatronics, but Knott's obviously didn't have that kind of money. Maybe they should add a Pepper's ghost effect today, a la "The Mystery Lodge." But I'm sure since it's all the way across the street, and many people miss it altogether, they will keep it low tech, which is okay.

I've seen that guide book for I.H., but I don't have it. It goes into more detailed info than the pamphlets, and it even talks about the replica furniture in the Declaration Chamber. There is a Bicentennial version of that guide (which is probably what you bought in 1976) with the Knott's/Independence Hall Bicentennial logo on the back cover. It's the same logo that's on that plastic badge, in my post.

It sounds like you had a LOT of Bicentennial items! Other than the coins that were released, I had a small collection of Bicentennial items. I included some of them in a post, back in July of 2015. I won't include the link here, because I know you saw it, as you had commented on it at that time. You just reminded me that I also had a bicentennial bedspread and the matching sheets!

Thanks for that link to, "Swing Out, Sweet Land!" I had watched that a couple years ago, but mostly for the Ports O' Call footage (because they were tearing it down at that time). For some reason, I am not remembering footage of Knott's I.H. in the special, so I will definitely go back and check that out!

K. Martinez said...

Wow! So much great Knott's history and information not just the article, but from readers as well. Thanks to all for sharing. Thank you for posting TokyoMagic!

Great I.H. ephemera there too.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, thanks! I'm glad that you enjoyed this one!

Stefano said...

Mike Cozart, Chuck, and TokyoMagic!, thanks for that location filming info. All of Southern California is really one big backlot.

TM!, I saw Colonial Man in the early 70s, around the time I took the full hostess-led tour. I agree about the clashing effect of Soak City; it took over what must have been the nicest parking lot anywhere, mostly unpaved and plenty of trees to park under. Somehow Independence Hall next to a jungle isle next to a steamboat all meshed back in the day, but the Sky Jump tower began the end of the atmospheric cohesion.

TokyoMagic! said...


Now I'm wondering if they ever had men leading the tours over at Independence Hall. Or maybe the man you saw was part of some other special event, or television/movie filming.

You are right about I.H. and the Lagoon and Jungle Island somehow just meshing together. The Sky Jump tower sticking up behind the Calico Mine Ride did change the sight lines, but somehow it never bothered me. What bothered me more.....and still does, is seeing the taller (and uglier) Supreme Scream sticking up behind the Log Ride. There must have been other places where they could have built that tower!

JG said...

My goodness, Tokyo, what an amazingly thorough post. Thank You!

We visited the Knotts IH once when I was about 10, and never again. For some reason Knotts just faded off our horizon around age 12 or so. I have no idea why, since we always had fun there.

I remember the half-cup of coffee, but that might have been a stock souvenir item that I saw somewhere else.

In 2010, I visited the real IH and the memories of the Knotts version came back in full force. Philadelphia was a beautiful city and I very much enjoyed that visit. Coming from the West Coast, I'm always struck by the force of the colonial style of architecture in the East, and it's staying power, good and bad, for everything from hotels and office buildings to gas stations and convenience stores. The real originals have proportion, scale and delicacy that just can't be matched with modern materials and methods. An era of taste, style, philosophy and elegance, so unlike our own.

I think Mr. Knott has a lot of the same drive Disney had, liking a place so much, he built his own.

Thank you again, very much indeed.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, I'm glad you enjoyed this post! Knott's had different versions of the "half cup of coffee" souvenir cup. I've seen one with images of Knott's "Gypsy Camp" on it. I'd be willing to bet that there were other tourist attractions selling the same item, just with their own graphics on them.

I've never been to Philadelphia, but I can imagine what brand new "colonial-style" architecture must look like, in contrast to the real thing.

You are right. Both "Walters" would see something somewhere, perhaps while on vacation, and then come home and recreate it for their own parks. Another time that Walter Knott did that (other than with the Calico Ghost Town), was with his recreation of George Washington's Mount Vernon fireplace. And that fireplace is still standing at Knott's today (though somewhat hidden) behind the Berry Market, outside the park.