Saturday, November 14, 2009

Knotts, last-minute persimmons, and Arts & Crafts

Well before Walter and Cordelia Knott made their fortunes with berries and chicken dinners, they went broke trying to farm on the Mojave Desert. Farming on the desert may sound crazy, but today there are thriving farms in the area. Also, Walter had already experienced some success in the Coachella Valley -- land many considered relatively worthless in those days. Today's photos (all from the Orange County Archives) show the Knotts on their Mojave homestead in the late 1910s.
The photo at the top of today's post shows Walter and probably Virginia Knott. The image immediately above shows Cordelia with the children (probably Virginia and Russell Knott). And the photo below shows Russell with some furry friends.
I'll probably post more about the Knotts' desert experiences in a week or two.
The 15th annual Pitcher Park Persimmon Party will be held tomorrow, (Sunday,) noon to 3pm, at Pitcher Park, on the corner of Almond and Cambridge, in Old Towne Orange. (Sorry about the late notice!) Our friend Lisa Ackerman writes, "Pitcher park gets its name from the Pitcher family who owned the parcel for decades. They deeded the land over to the city for use as a passive park, and the Honey House and small Pitcher Park Museum and Fire Museum also occupy this postage stamp sized park. People can learn about all things persimmon there, buy persimmons and persimmon baked goods, a persimmon cookbook, and enjoy blue grass music, too! A fun little homespun celebration unlike anything else in Orange County. Or anywhere else, for that matter! Proceeds go to benefit the Pitcher Park Foundation, which educates school children and the community on our agrarian and community roots."
Local architect Richard H. Dodd will lecture on "The Embodiment of the Arts and Crafts Movement," Nov. 18, 7-9pm at Sherman Gardens, 2647 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, in Corona del Mar. The event is free. Call 949-673-2261 to RSVP. Mr. Dodd will also be among the authors featured at the Orange County Historical Society's Authors Night on Dec. 10th, which I'll tell you more about very soon.


Let's Talk Knott's said...

Those pictures are fantastic! I look forward to more Knott's in the desert posts. Cordelia was quite a woman to suffer through that harsh desert living as Walter pursued his dream of land ownership. As I understand it Walter left a fairly decent job and modern home to try his luck farming in the desert.

Chris Merritt said...

I love those pics Chris - thanks for sharing them.

outsidetheberm said...

The second image of Cordelia with her children is so iconic and heartfelt. It would make a great mural.

Thanks, Chris.