Knott's Berry Farm timeline
The Knott Family arrives in the sleepy community of Buena Park and begins farming 20 acres of land on Highway 39 (now Beach Blvd.)
The first permanent building is erected to house Cordelia Knott's tea room and berry market. The farm is christened Knott's Berry Place.
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.
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.
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.
Daughter Virginia sets up a souvenir table in the Chicken Dinner Restaurant, founding the country's first theme park souvenir shop.
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.
Knott's Berry Place is officially renamed Knott's Berry Farm.
The Calico Saloon, incorporating many of the most popular elements of old saloons throughout the West, opens serving sarsaparilla & boysenberry punch on Calico Square.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Walter completes construction on a brick-by-brick replica of Independence Hall, complete with cracked, 2,075-pound Liberty Bell.
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.
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."
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.
Cordelia Knott dies on April 23 at the age of 84.
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.
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.
Knott's opens its second coaster, Montezooma's Revenge®, in Fiesta Village. The ride takes riders from 0 to 55 mph in five seconds.
Walter Knott dies Dec. 3 — one week before his 92nd birthday.
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.
Knott's Berry Farm is magically transformed into Knott's Merry Farm® as the park hosts its first Christmas Crafts Festival.
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.
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.
The Corkscrew is replaced by Boomerang®, a European-designed roller coaster.
Ghost Town celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
Indian Trails, Knott's two-acre Native American interpretive center, debuts on the outskirts of GhostTown.
Knott's debuts Mystery Lodge®, a magical journey into the Native North American West and its most technically advanced project ever.
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!
Knott's rethemes Roaring 20s into The Boardwalk, a colorful tribute to the Southern California's celebrated beach scene.
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.
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.