Knott’s was my childhood hangout. I spent many a warm summer night there because the park charged no admission until the late 1960s. Visitors could wander freely through the Ghost Town streets, buying tickets only for individual attractions like the mine ride or the Bird Cage Theater.
From June through September, my dad would pile us into the car for the 15-minute drive to Buena Park. A little pocket change bought licorice at the General Store, which carried fab flavors like chocolate and grape in addition to the standard red and black.
Then we found seats in the covered wagon circle and listened to the Wagon Masters sing at a free show. “Green grow the lilacs all sparkling with dew…”
We rarely went on rides except on birthdays or other special occasions, nor did we eat in the famous chicken dinner restaurant. The whole point of making Knott’s Berry Farm our beat-the-heat spot was how affordable it was for my parents’ tight budget.
I met Walter Knott himself, the park’s founder, when I won third place in an essay contest. He presented our Savings Bond prizes at Independence Hall (or at least Knott’s Berry Farm’s exact replica of it), where I posed in front with Mr. Knott and the other winners.
Check out my “cool” outfit — navy dress with a white lace bib and matching fishnet tights.
I’ll leave you with one more photo of summertime at Knott’s: me with pigtails and little white purse strolling with my mom and sister Sherrie. Note the sign on the Pitchur Gallery behind us, offering film, camera supplies and camera rentals for 50¢. Definitely a ghost town of times long past!