Friday, August 20, 2010

Goldie's finally busted

Yesterday, Knott's Berry Farm began tearing down Goldie's Place (a.k.a. "Gold Dust Goldie's Palace," or "Goldie's Joint.") It was one of the last original 1940 buildings left in Ghost Town. Its design was copied from an building in the real ghost town of Bodie "in the days before so much of the town had been burned out." The photo above shows Goldie's under construction.
Yes, they're going to build a replica on the same spot. Yes, I know the removal of historic stuff began while the Knotts still owned the property. And yes, Goldie's is still standing only because the termites are holding hands. But it's still sad to lose a historic building. A replica is only a replica.
The color photo shows the interior of Goldie's in the 1960s. By most accounts, Cordelia Knott hated having a "house of ill repute" in Ghost Town. But Walter insisted that no replica of an old mining town would be complete without one.
This last photo shows Goldie's in the 1940s, with menfolk climbing up the facade to get to the women. On the far left is Jim Y. "Dad" Lewis. In the center of the photo, giving another guy a boost up to the roof is Arthur D. "Slim" Vaughn (1904-1968).
When he wasn't working in landscaping or as a tree surgeon, Slim Vaughn, (a.k.a. the "Southwest Tumbleweed" or the "Village Romeo,") explored the desert and hung out "in character" at Old West-themed attractions and events. He also wrote poems and short stories, played a cowboy in films, and was the honorary mayor of Sunland and Tujunga.
Jim Lewis was an old vaudeville performer who found a new audience as Sheriff Dad Lewis at Knott's Ghost Town. He would entertain and dance for the tourists. One such performance was captured in Knott's 1948 promotional film, "Ghost Town." I've seen some references indicating that he may have been born in Belgium.
Sorry the posts have been so few and far between, folks. This doesn't indicate a lack of interest on my part. I've just been very busy and have also had some online access problems. However, I'll try to keep posting at least a couple times a week until things get more-or-less back to normal.


outsidetheberm said...

Knott's seems to be taking their time in the demo. So anyone interested in the process might have a couple days to take a look. Sad to see it go, but glad she's coming back.

I've taken 3D photos if you don't have time to see the demo, Chris.

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather was an LA County health inspector in the 1930/40s. Even though he had no jurisdiction in Buena Park, my mother remembers him talking to Walter Knott about the success of his restaurant and how Mr Knott wanted to put in a little western town for people to look at while they waited.
Growing up in a Cinderella track home just a few miles down Beach Boulevard in the 60/70s I saw Mr Knott many times before his passing.
I wonder what he would think of His farm today? Thanks as always for a very fine history site.

Connie Moreno said...

I agree with you about the building. How sad that better care against terimites was not taken.

Let's Talk Knott's said...

So sad. I think this leaves only the stretch between the Ghost Town Grill and the Sheriff's office as the last orginal buidlings on the South side of Main Street. I wonder how long it will be before the Blacksmith shop gets "fixed".

DanGarion said...

I'm pretty sure my neighbor has those mannequins, I will get some pictures of them later and send them to you. His friend purchased them or acquired them in some way recently.

Amela Jones said...

Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

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