Knott's Berry Farm timeline

photo of Walter and Cordelia Knott in front of a Knott's Berry Farm stand

1920

The Knott Family arrives in the sleepy community of Buena Park and begins farming 20 acres of land on Highway 39 (now Beach Blvd.)

1928

The first permanent building is erected to house Cordelia Knott's tea room and berry market. The farm is christened Knott's Berry Place.

1932

Walter Knott begins propagating a new berry, a curious cross between the red raspberry, blackberry and loganberry. He names it the boysenberry, in honor of his friend Rudolph Boysen.

1934

To make ends meet during the Great Depression, Cordelia somewhat reluctantly serves her first chicken dinners on her wedding china. Eight dinners are served to tea room guests that first Wednesday evening for the all-inclusive price of just 65 cents.

1937

Walter and Cordelia expand their tea room into a genuine restaurant complete with separate kitchen, dining rooms and parking lot. Despite serving 1,774 dinners on Thanksgiving Day, Cordelia insists she's still definitely not in the restaurant business.

1939

Daughter Virginia sets up a souvenir table in the Chicken Dinner Restaurant, founding the country's first theme park souvenir shop.

1940

In an attempt to entertain the thousands of restaurant customers lining up each day, Walter relocates the Old Trails Hotel to the Farm from Prescott, Ariz. To the hotel's lobby, Walter adds the Farm's first attraction: "The Covered Wagon Show," a cyclorama depicting the Knott's Family journey West. The hotel and cyclorama form the basis for Old West Ghost Town®, Knott's first themed area.

1947

Knott's Berry Place is officially renamed Knott's Berry Farm.

1951

The Calico Saloon, incorporating many of the most popular elements of old saloons throughout the West, opens serving sarsaparilla & boysenberry punch on Calico Square.

1952

Walter buys America's last operating narrow-gauge railroad, the Denver & Rio Grande, and moves it in its entirety to Knott's Berry Farm. The steam-powered train is christened the Ghost Town & Calico Railroad, proving a perfect addition to growing Ghost Town.

1954

The Bird Cage Theatre opens in Ghost Town as the home of the country's only daily melodrama troupe. A replica of the Bird Cage in Tombstone, Ariz., the Theatre goes on to serve as the training ground for Steve Martin and other actors and actresses.

1955

Walter and Cordelia attend the July 18 opening ceremonies of Disneyland® Park, and return to find the Farm parking lot filled to capacity. Despite rumors to the contrary, Knott's Berry Farm continues to thrive, enjoying its best year ever.

1960

The Calico Mine Ride, an ingenious trip into the depths of an Old West mine, opens to rave reviews. Its creative use of themed and special effects sets a new standard for future Knott's attractions.

1966

Walter completes construction on a brick-by-brick replica of Independence Hall, complete with cracked, 2,075-pound Liberty Bell.

1969

The Calico Losing Co. (later the Timber Mountain Log Ride) opens as one of the first log flume rides in the U.S.
  Fiesta Village® debuts.

1971

The 2,100-seat John Wayne Theatre (now the Good Time Theatre®) opens on June 19. California Governor Ronald Reagan and John Wayne himself preside over the celebrity-filled opening ceremonies, which the The Knotty Post employee newsletter describes as "the biggest event ever held on the Farm."

1973

Knott's transforms itself into Knott's Scary Farm® for its first-ever Halloween Haunt®, the world's first amusement park Halloween event. The event remains the industry standard and the worlds largest Halloween party, breaking attendance records every year.

1974

Cordelia Knott dies on April 23 at the age of 84.

1975

The Corkscrew, the world's first 360-degree roller coaster, opens as the centerpiece of the Roaring 20s® themed area.
Another highlight is Knott's Bear-y Tales, a fantasy dark ride featuring the Bear-y Family.

1976

The 20-story Sky Jump and Sky Cabin — patterned after an attraction at New York's Coney Island — provide a breathtaking new addition to Roaring 20s®. The new attraction helps make July 4, 1976 the biggest attendance day in Knott's history to that point.

1978

Knott's opens its second coaster, Montezooma's Revenge®, in Fiesta Village. The ride takes riders from 0 to 55 mph in five seconds.

1981

Walter Knott dies Dec. 3 — one week before his 92nd birthday.

1983

Camp Snoopy, the park's six-acre wonderland for kids, opens July 1 as the official home of Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. It is the first area of any amusement park designed solely for kids under 12.

1985

Knott's Berry Farm is magically transformed into Knott's Merry Farm® as the park hosts its first Christmas Crafts Festival.

1987

Knott's foreshadows the dinosaur craze by replacing Knott's Bear-y Tales with Kingdom of the Dinosaurs® a trek into pre-hlstory complete with 21 fully animated creatures and special effects. The expertly timed new attraction helps make 1987 the best on the record.

1988

Knott's becomes only the fourth park in the world to receive the coveted Amusement Business/Liseberg Applause Award, awarded biannually to the amusement park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development.
Bigfool Rapids®, an untamed journey down the longest manmade river in the West, opens in the new Wild Water Wilderness® area.

1990

The Corkscrew is replaced by Boomerang®, a European-designed roller coaster.
Ghost Town celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

1992

Indian Trails, Knott's two-acre Native American interpretive center, debuts on the outskirts of GhostTown.

1994

Knott's debuts Mystery Lodge®, a magical journey into the Native North American West and its most technically advanced project ever.

1995

Knott's Berry Farm celebrates its 75th Anniversary with a year of festivities and special events highlighted by the summer debut of Jaguar®, The Streaking Big Cat of Roller Coasters!

1996

Knott's rethemes Roaring 20s into The Boardwalk, a colorful tribute to the Southern California's celebrated beach scene.

1997

The Boardwalk is expanded with Windjainmer®, the nation's first outdoor dual steel racing coaster, and the park's fifth coaster overall. Knott's Berry Farm proudly becomes a member of the Cedar Fair, L.P. national family of amusement parks and resorts upon the "friendly" acquisition of the venerable park by the Ohio limited partnership.

1998

Knott's marks its first year as a Cedar Fair park with five landmark new attractions including the nightly extravaganza Edison International Electric Nights®, Supreme ScreamSM, the world's tallest descending thrill ride; Woodstock's AirmailSM, a 1/14'-scale version of Supreme Scream for little thrillseekers; and the complete renovation of beloved Independence Hall to its 1966 Opening Day Glory. Knotts' caps off 1998 with its biggest attraction in 79 years — GhostRiderSM. The 4,533 foot-long wooden wonder immediately jumps to the top of roller coaster enthusiasts' "best ride" lists.

I don't claim any ownership of this timeline. It came from a placemat from a Ghost Town (?) restaurant.

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