PDF Book Review at
Yesterland
Knott’s Berry Farm
Then & Now
Knott’s Berry Farm: Then & Now

Original
Attractions
That Are
Still There
 

by
Jay Jennings
 

116-page
PDF file
on CD-ROM
 
 

Reviewed by
Werner Weiss
October 1, 2010


2010 has been a big year for celebrating the history of Knott’s Berry Farm. The highlight was an all-day event at Knott’s on April 18 for the release of a magnificent book, Knott’s Preserved, by Christopher Merritt and J. Eric Lynxwiler. With 200 carefully selected images and extensive research that Merritt began 15 years earlier, the ambitious book succeeded in being the definitive book about the history of “America’s first theme park.”

Everyone I talked to about Knott’s Preserved loved the book—except that 160 pages just weren’t enough; they wanted more.

Jay Jennings, creator of the online Knott’s Berry Farm Museum and author of the 2009 book Knott’s Berry Farm: The Early Years has come through with more for you!

Knott’s Berry Farm: Then & Now is not nearly as ambitious as Knott’s Preserved. First, it’s not a printed book; it’s an ebook—a PDF file on a CD-ROM. And there are only two real pages of text: a foreword by Dave Bourne (an entertainer at Knott’s from 1958 to 1962) and an introduction by Jay Jennings.

But Jennings’ ebook succeeds well in what it sets out to do. Think of it as a photo album of rare photos paired with similar views today, not as a traditional book.

Sample page from Knott’s Berry Farm, Then and Now

Sample Page from Knott’s Berry Farm: Then & Now in Adobe Reader

The sample page above is representative of the ebook’s 109 pages of “then” and “now” photos. Each page has two photos, with a brief caption under each. If you’re as interested in the subject matter as I am, it’s a lot of fun to compare the two shots to see what’s changed and what has—surprisingly—stayed the same.

Jay Jennings provided seven pairs of photos for me to share with Yesterland’s readers. The first pair is on the sample page above; the rest follow. They provide a small sample of what to expect in the ebook.

Enjoy the following photos. Afterwards, you can learn how you can buy the ebook. And there are links to other “then” and “now” photos at Yesterland.


 
Knott’s Berry Farm, Calico Saloon, built in 1951

Calico Saloon, built in 1951.

Knott’s Berry Farm, Calico Saloon, 2010

Calico Saloon, today.


 
Knott’s Berry Farm, General Merchandise Store, built in 1944

General Merchandise Store, built in 1944.

GKnott’s Berry Farm, eneral Merchandise Store, 2010

General Merchandise Store, today.


 
Knott’s Berry Farm, Handsome Brady and Whiskey Bill, built in 1947

Handsome Brady and Whiskey Bill, built in 1947.

Knott’s Berry Farm, Handsome Brady and Whiskey Bill, 2010

Handsome Brady and Whiskey Bill, today.


 
Knott’s Berry Farm, “Old 41” Steam Engine, brought to Knott’s in 1951

“Old 41” Steam Engine, brought to Knott’s in 1951.

Knott’s Berry Farm, “Old 41” Steam Engine, 2006

“Old 41” Steam Engine, today.


 
Knott’s Berry Farm, Old Windmill and Livery Stable, built in 1940

Old Windmill and Livery Stable, built in 1940.

Knott’s Berry Farm, Old Windmill and Livery Stable, 2010. (Currently The Barn)

Old Windmill and Livery Stable, today. (Currently The Barn)


 
Knott’s Berry Farm, Wing Lee Laundry “Peek-In”, 1940

Wing Lee Laundry “Peek-In”, 1940.

Knott’s Berry Farm, Wing Lee Laundry “Peek-In”, 2010

Wing Lee Laundry “Peek-In”, today.

While I realize that Jennings’ goal was to present photos, not commentary, I wish he had used his considerable knowledge of the history of Knott’s to point out how and why things changed in the photos.

For example, take a look at the two photos of the “Old 41” Steam Engine. Notice that on the “today” photo, the locomotive has lost its diamond smokestack and huge lantern. And although it would be beyond the left edge of the “today” photo, the wooden cowcatcher is gone too. Does this mean Knott’s is letting maintenance slide on the locomotive?

No. On the contrary—the locomotive, built in 1881, has been lovingly restored to its historical appearance. Elements that were added to dress up the train in 1951, such as the diamond smokestack, have been replaced by authentic elements. (Earlier his year, I had the pleasure of talking with two of the incredibly skilled and dedicated employees who take pleasure in maintaining the Calico Railroad and operating it for Knott’s Berry Farm guests.)

Would you like to see more images from the history of Knott’s? Then your next stop should be Jay Jennings’ online Knott’s Berry Farm Museum. You’ll find vintage photos, menus and maps from decades ago, and examples of Knott’s merchandise of the past. You’ll even find YouTube videos. It’s definitely worth a visit.

And it’s the place to buy Knott’s Berry Farm: Then & Now on CD-ROM.


 

2010 is the year for Knott’s history. Yesterland got into act too. In March, I ran a book review of Knott’s Preserved. In April, I ran Chris Merritt’s interview with Disney Legend Rolly Crump about Knott’s Bear-y Bear-y Tales, along with Chris’s “Fun Map” of that legendary attraction. In May, I ran my own photo essay comparing seven historical views of Knott’s with how the same locations look today—with commentary for each pair:

Yesterland also has several “Then and Now” photo essays about Disneyland:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author, filmmaker, and amusement park historian Jay Jennings is a Los Angeles native who grew up in the 1970s, spending his weekends at various Southern California amusement parks. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School, he attended Columbia College of Film in Hollywood, after which he embarked on a successful career as a writer-director. Jennings has also spent the last 25 years researching the history of Southern California amusement parks, with an emphasis on Knott’s Berry Farm. In addition, he owns one of the largest collections of Knott’s Berry Farm memorabilia in the country.


  Click here to discuss this page on the Yesterland Discussion Forum at MiceChat!

 

HOW TO BUY

The PDF book Knott’s Berry Farm: Then & Now on CD-ROM is available exclusively at Jay Jennings’ Knott’s Berry Farm Museum website. The price is $14.99 + $3.00 shipping.

(The Knott’s Berry Farm Museum website is not affiliated with Knott’s Berry Farm, a Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.)


 

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© 2010-2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated April 20, 2011.

Historic photographs of Knott’s Berry Farm: from the collection of Jay Jennings.
Photograph of “Old 41” Steam Engine at Knott’s Berry Farm: by Jay Jennings, 2006.
All other “now” photographs Knott’s Berry Farm: by Jay Jennings, 2010.
 
Disclosure per FTC guidelines: Werner Weiss received a CD-ROM of the PDF book Knott’s Berry Farm: Then & Now from Jay Jennings for review. Mr. Weiss does not receive any financial consideration from Jay Jennings.