The Blacksmith has been a fixture of Ghost Town at Knott's Berry Farm since the very beginning. Stop by the Blacksmith's Shop to learn how metal is forged to produce tools, horseshoes, and branding irons. For a nominal fee, take home a handmade horseshoe or other piece of metal art.
In Boot Hill Cemetery, headstones and grave markers gave macabre humor to the fate of the deceased – Hiram McTavish even invited bystanders to good luck by feeling the heartbeat by standing on his mound.
A faithful re-creation of "The Jersey Lilly" Judge Roy Bean's Saloon in Langtry, Texas opened with casks on each end of the bar disguising Boysenberry Drink fountains. Coin-operated vintage gambling machines were converted to amusements where every pull was a winner and rewarded one souvenir token.
Couples could "Get Hitched" in a comedic mock matrimonial ceremony, conducted by "The Judge" barkeep and justice of the peace. The bent horseshoe nail 'wedding rings' were selected to fit the bride and groom from a pailfull. A painting of Lillie Langtry was purported to adorn the wall, which upon further examination turned out to be the unsinkable Molly Brown. This building was later moved west to Calico Square for construction of the Native Dancer performance stage of Indian Trails.
Bud Hurlbut created this rumbling tour aboard six ore cars fitted along the sides with benches behind a fanciful representation of a small steam locomotive on a narrated journey touring the "Calico Mine". Admission could be purchased from the shack at the base of the trail up to the station. An underground lake, steam geyser, shaft elevator, Philip Deidesheimer's Square-set timbering construction techniques on the lift hill and several glimpses of the "Glory Hole" could be seen aboard this power assisted gravity coaster. A day-glow painted cavern featured several formations of stalactites hanging from the ceiling, and stalagmites building slowly from the floor, to dramatic organ music. Dead Man's Trestle was then crossed slowly before the train became a "runaway" through a blasting zone and cave-in for a thrilling climax of this enclosed, power assisted gravity roller-coaster.
Along the front was an overhang built to cover the Mule Train boarding area. The Mule Trail was relocated east across Beach Blvd, and then removed entirely when those shallow canyons were converted to the picnic grounds.
Bud Hurlbut (Wendell "Bud" Hurlbut 1918-Jan. 5, 2011) of Hurlbut Amusement Company constructed Calico Mine Train which opened in 1960 on Walter Knott's property at a cost of $1.5 Million as a concession, and paid Walt a portion of ticket sales. When Walt visited Bud during construction he asked "Do you know what you are doing?" and even though he had invested every cent and more Bud replied "Yes." He told the story later and added "…and I never lied to him again." Bud lived in an apartment with a cot and refrigerator, hidden inside near the train storage tracks and repair shop; a short commute to an endless task. It incorporated many innovative designs, such as being the first attraction to incorporate a hidden switchback queue. When Walt Disney came to ride he was astonished enough to exclaim "You old S.O.B!" because the trail was obscured, it appeared to have a shorter wait than actual, which is now the industry standard.
Bud was also the operator of the Knott's Lagoon attractions – the merry-go-round, the row-boat and peddle-boat rental, the Cordelia K. Steamboat side-wheel steam boat, and continued to construct superior amusement park steam locomotives and trains, like the Miniature Train circling Knott's Lagoon. He would continue to create world class attractions, such as the Antique Auto Ride and Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's and other theme parks. The Calico Mine Train remains a popular attraction.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".