Archives: Ghost Towns and Boysenberry Pie

Last week a patron came to the Kingsport Archives to make an addition to the Mary Porter Collection. Ms. Porter’s parents were savers . . . and we are so glad. The collection consists of advertisements, mailers, brochures and other business communications from mid-20th century Kingsport. On this day, she brought in more gems for the collection and the archivist went through the items to identify those that pertained to Kingsport history. Ms. Porter set aside one piece that obviously did not, but I jumped all over it. When I told her I grew up less than half an hour from the location the brochure promoted, she offered it to me. The only thing that surpasses the mid-century marketing awesomeness of this brochure¬†is my memory of the great times I have spent at Knott’s Berry Farm. From family trips, field trips, and¬†outings with friends to the first time I took my little girl there, Knott’s has represented adventure, history, independence, and even romance. (Come on, the guys who help you onto the log flume are pretty cute.)

A Knott's Berry Farm brochure from the late 1960s. Notice the phone number: Jackson 7-2211.

A Knott’s Berry Farm brochure from the late 1950s. Notice the phone numbers: Jackson 7-2211 and Lawrence 2-1131

The Knott family moved to California in 1920 and began farming. They built a permanent building for their berry stand in 1928.

Walter and Cordelia survived the Depression Years and their business began to thrive.

Walter and Cordelia survived the Depression Years and their business began to thrive.

When Mrs. Knott added chicken dinners to her endeavors, a restaurant was opened.

I personally can recommend the fresh berry jam and homemade biscuits.

I personally can recommend the fresh berry jam and homemade biscuits.

Meet the Knott family.

My daughter Anna’s first trip to Knott’s Berry Farm during a visit to her grandparents.’

Anna sitting with 'Handsome Brady' and 'Whiskey Bill,' 1995.

Anna sitting with ‘Handsome Brady’ and ‘Whiskey Bill,’ 1995.

The Knotts began salvaging buildings from the frontier west and bringing them to the farm for visitors to enjoy before their dinner.

The Old West aspect of Knott's was my favorite part of the park as a kid.

The Old West aspect of Knott’s was my favorite part of the park as a kid.

 

Anna taking a ride on a real stage coach.

Anna taking a ride on a real stage coach, 1995

The Knotts tried to recreate the culture of silver mining in one area of the park, which they named “Calico” after an old mining town in San Bernardino, CA. They also invested in preserving the buildings of the real town of Calico.

Calico, CA is a little mining town that the Knotts helped to preserve.

Calico, CA is a little mining town that the Knotts helped to preserve.

I love the map on the back. Hwy 39 is also called Beach Blvd. Keep going south on Beach and you will end up in Huntington Beach, CA. Sigh. I’m getting homesick.

Notice the corner set aside for a "2-cent" stamp.

Notice the corner set aside for a “2-cent” stamp.

Peter and Anna enjoying cotton candy at the Park, 1997.

Peter and Anna enjoying cotton candy at the Park, 1997.

I love the advertising of the mid-20th century. It was colorful, creative, and appealed to a more innocent population. The Porters were wise to preserve the marketing materials of the past for the stories they tell and the memories they prompt.

Orange County Archives: The Knotts Berry Farm Collection

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3 Responses to Archives: Ghost Towns and Boysenberry Pie

  1. Mariah Golden says:

    I love Knott’s Berry Farm!! I have such happy memories of going there with my family when I was little. Thanks for all the history behind it!!

  2. BarDee Gillis says:

    We started taking the kids there when they were in strollers. The Ghost Town was
    free for many years. Families could afford to go there. We would go there on a
    hot summer night and just walk around, all the kids loved it (3). Kari has been
    going there since before she could walk.

    Good job Kari.

  3. Kathleen Fueston says:

    Kari when I saw the title of this post I thought “That sounds like Knott’s Berry Farm!” This brought back lots of memories for me too as a former Southern California resident. I have pictures with those same cowboys, had dinner at Mrs Knott’s famous chicken dinner restaurant with pie for dessert and countless other memories. I loved how they would decorate the park for many holidays. Knott’s Scary Farm, Knott’s Merry Farm, etc.
    Thanks for the insight on the Knott’s tie to the real Calico Ghost Town. I had forgotten. When John was an engineer for San Bernardino County he got to redesign or oversee construction of an updated road to Calico off of I-15.
    You know, next time we are in Southern CA we should go!
    Now I can’t wait to hear about the other items that were brought into that collection. Thank for the memories!

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