Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Knott's Ghost Town, Sam's Seafood & Don the Beachcomber

Sometime in the last week or so, much of the south side of Main Street in Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town was torn down. For details, see Let's Talk Knott's. The images above show interiors from some of those buildings as they appeared earlier this month. The buildings were some of the first in Ghost Town and were built in 1940 and 1941. The plan is to replace them with very similar buildings and put all the "peek in" interiors back in place. I hope they remember to make it look old and weathered (as they did 68 years ago) to make it appear like an actual ghost town.
[Update: The always-helpful Jennifer Blazey of Knott's Berry Farm writes: "We are not tearing down anything on Main Street. We are just re-habing the peek-ins to restore them to their original form (or as close as we can get it.)" So perhaps the buildings were just disassembled and moved "backstage" for restoration and rehab. I know they were in very rough shape structurally and needed more than a little shoring up.]
I recieved the following news about Sam's Seafood/Kona (the last authentic 1960s tiki restaurant in O.C.) in an email from operating partners Susan and Chuck Purrington:
"...We have just signed the agreement to partner with the Original Don the Beachcomber! As some of you may know Don the Beachcomber was THE undisputed creator of the Tiki & Polynesian theme restaurants. ...There had once been well over 16 Don the Beachcombers throughout the country and the Islands. We are very happy to ...bring back the first restaurant of this iconic entrepreneur in almost 30 years to the mainland... We will continue to operate as KONA for the next few weeks [and will evolve] ...into Don the Beachcomber over the next few months."
The last I'd heard, Kona was probably closing, and looking for buyers. This partnership with Don the Beachcomber chain sounds promising and could be good for everyone - including Polynesian Pop purists. Let's hope the new management appreciates and maintains the wonderful decor and legacy left in place by Sam's and Kona.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am Chuck Stone, the Sunday Tiki carver at Sam-Ko-Don's. I remember talking with you one day about the so-called rum-runner's at Sam's, and the old photo showing no building on the spot where Sam's should have been. Is there anything else you've found about the place; when it opened, where it was first, and are there any tunnels?