Stack's Liberty Ranch

Stack's Liberty Ranch American Theme Park Museum
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120 acres of your fondest theme park memories - and some new adventures, too! Watch for future opening.

We trust that all of you survived the holidays and are ready for an exciting new year! Here's a follow up to our Decembe...
01/03/2020

We trust that all of you survived the holidays and are ready for an exciting new year! Here's a follow up to our December 13th post from a few weeks back. As promised, a look at the Ark Park at Universal Studios Hollywood. Sometime around 1970, or shortly thereafter. That's one big pony!

Warm Christmas wishes to all!
12/24/2019

Warm Christmas wishes to all!

As 2019 comes to a close, we'd like to share with you one of the first restoration projects on the agenda for Liberty Ra...
12/20/2019

As 2019 comes to a close, we'd like to share with you one of the first restoration projects on the agenda for Liberty Ranch in the coming year. That is, the repair and rejuvenation of Paul Von Klieben's wonderful 1948 Steak House paintings from Knott's. We were lucky enough to rescue a number of these large, classic paintings at auction a few years ago and now it's time to get them back in shape! They are currently battle worn and weary - and the restoration will be lengthy and costly - but we think the end results will be worth the effort! Please join us, and watch this space, as we move forward and bring these masterpieces back for your enjoyment in 2020! In the meantime, enjoy this look back at a fantastic menu from the Steak House back when things were hopping there!

A colorful, little close up of Universal Studios Hollywood entertainment center map circa Fall of 1970. Today, things su...
12/13/2019

A colorful, little close up of Universal Studios Hollywood entertainment center map circa Fall of 1970. Today, things sure have changed up there on the hill top! Harry Potter and friends dominate this area now.

Legend City sale notice - park closed in 1984. Tempe, Arizona's Legend City theme park was an ambitious attempt to dupli...
12/06/2019

Legend City sale notice - park closed in 1984. Tempe, Arizona's Legend City theme park was an ambitious attempt to duplicate Disneyland's success in the Arizona desert near Phoenix. Though the park struggled along for twenty years (1963-1983), locals remember the park with warm memories. Seen here, an earlier sale notice for the park - probably in the mid 1970s. Featuring an Old West theme, Legend City had a number of well developed theme rides, including Cochise Stronghold, an adventurous river ride similar in style to Disney's Jungle Cruise. The bubble style gondola ride you see here might look familiar. This was the second version of Legend City's Sky Ride - and those gondolas were purchased at previous auction when Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica closed in 1967!

Happy Thanksgiving! To celebrate a distinctly American holiday, let's talk about a distinctly American idea for a theme ...
11/27/2019

Happy Thanksgiving! To celebrate a distinctly American holiday, let's talk about a distinctly American idea for a theme park. One that features Davy Crockett! Though few today might remember, Fess Parker was once well known to television audiences across the country as the handsome and affable actor who portrayed both American heroes Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. He famously helped Walt Disney sell millions of 'coonskin' caps in a craze that swept the country in the 1950s. Building on his fame, Parker approached Boone County, Kentucky in 1968 with the obviously marketable idea of building his own theme park based on American folklore and heroes, to be named Frontier Worlds (or World in some press releases). Parker had purchased 76 acres near Walton with an option for more and sold the plan to elected officials. Seen here, three of the rarest (though blurry) images in the Liberty Ranch collection showing the press event of the announced park. What a beautiful place!
Unfortunately, Kings Island had their eyes on the same general area to construct a theme park. The unfolding project sapped the enthusiasm from Parker and his backers and they were forced to move on. Kings Island was eventually built while Parker's Frontier Worlds, sadly, was not. What might have been stirs the imagination.
Parker went back to California, but not without a hope for resurrecting his park plans in the early 1970s. He owned substantial acreage in the Santa Clara area and hoped to find investors for his park in that location. He reportedly had even met with McDonalds Corporation founder Ray Kroc who seemed interested in the project. Again, it was not to be and his plans fell away over time. Parker moved on to wine making and other investments. For America, another wonderful park idea disappeared - along with another wish for what might have been. -- Enjoy your turkey dinner!

Ride 'Lil' Dinney FREE! Unknown roadside attraction - about 1960. Prehistoric fun on a concrete dinosaur! Your 'free rid...
11/15/2019

Ride 'Lil' Dinney FREE! Unknown roadside attraction - about 1960. Prehistoric fun on a concrete dinosaur! Your 'free ride' might be brief.

Knott's Berry Farm, Civil War Band - 1977. A big salute to all veterans on this special day. Thank you for your service!
11/11/2019

Knott's Berry Farm, Civil War Band - 1977. A big salute to all veterans on this special day. Thank you for your service!

Let's share a few uncommon postcards from Knott's Berry Farm today. This caricature of Sheriff 'Dad' Lewis by Claude Bel...
11/01/2019

Let's share a few uncommon postcards from Knott's Berry Farm today. This caricature of Sheriff 'Dad' Lewis by Claude Bell is an absolute gem! Claude Bell was a master at his craft; responsible for most of the iconic cement sculptures in the park. Some are still found there today. It was rumored that the likeness of 'Dad' Lewis was once slated to be cast in stone by Claude, as well! How about those 'free roaming' buffalo in image three? This area would be about where Boot Hill sits today - give or take. And lastly, one of the earliest images of the famed Catawampus at Knott's Berry Place! Probably captured on film about the mid 1940s. It seems the original critter was somewhat taller! --- Just a reminder, for those of you interested, limited copies of Volume One of the Liberty Ranch Collection are still available but they are disappearing quickly! This is a full color picture book for those of you interested in theme park history. When Volume One runs out they are gone for good - and Volume Two is currently in the works! Ordering information can be found at StacksLibertyRanch.com - Thanks, folks!

Anyone heading out to the Anaheim Halloween Parade tomorrow? Here's a look at the 1953 program. We're including an image...
10/25/2019

Anyone heading out to the Anaheim Halloween Parade tomorrow? Here's a look at the 1953 program. We're including an image of the Kwikset float, designed that year by the Disney Studio!

Here's a very cool Disneyland contest from 1957! A cross promotion between Hyde Park Dairy Milk, TV cowboy star Hopalong...
10/18/2019

Here's a very cool Disneyland contest from 1957! A cross promotion between Hyde Park Dairy Milk, TV cowboy star Hopalong Cassidy and Disneyland, this contest seems to have stacked the deck heavily in favor of the milk company! You need to buy multiple cartons of their milk to even enter the thing! But there's some pretty fabulous prizes. Including the grand prize of a trip to Disneyland with ONE of your guardians. Sorry dad, sorry sis - we'll tell you all about it when we get back. So yes, Hyde Park will be sure to advertise the glories of Disneyland AND the glories of Hoppy. Hmm, the glories of Hoppy? Okay, maybe. That's one excited copy writer.

Here's a nifty little diversion for your Friday. It's Giggle Ridge in Cultus Lake, Canada! Who could ever get their fill...
10/11/2019

Here's a nifty little diversion for your Friday. It's Giggle Ridge in Cultus Lake, Canada! Who could ever get their fill of conceptual drawings? Especially for a fun-sized theme park! Giggle Ridge was apparently a fifteen year dream for the Sawatzky family - finally built and realized in 2000. Twelve years later, the park was sold to new owners in 2012 and renamed Cultus Lake Adventure Park. The site sits on a remarkably compact one and a half acres! Wow! The original park map seen here depicts the little park long ago. Today, the same ground is packed with flat rides and fun. It looks like a nice, well designed place on the website. But here's the best part; legendary ride builder Bud Hurlbut seems to have had a hand in a bit of the early railroad consulting work for the park in the late 1990s! Makes sense; the theme was an early logging camp in the '30s. It's unclear whether that little locomotive logging train you see pictured ever made it past the drawing board. But you sure can see a bit of Bud's influence in the design!

The Liberty Ranch Collection - Volume One. Signed, limited edition copies are available now! If you like theme park hist...
10/03/2019

The Liberty Ranch Collection - Volume One. Signed, limited edition copies are available now! If you like theme park history, we hope you'll enjoy the first book in the Liberty Ranch Collection. Available in both soft and hard cover copies, this is a limited publishing run - when they run out, they're gone! The price point is a little strong to cover publishing costs for this full color picture book, but we pay all shipping and taxes! Plus, for added value, each soft cover book will come with one vintage cancelled check from the Hurlbut Amusement Company, signed years ago by Ray or another company officer. Each check is different, of course. Orders for hard cover copies will receive an additional vintage advertisement flyer from the older Hurlbut Amusement Equipment Company in Whittier! That's some real theme park history for you as a bonus. Interested? Head over to StacksLibertyRanch.com to order your copy or contact directly here. Thanks, folks!

Corriganville, California in 1962 and... your first peek at The Liberty Ranch Collection Volume One!  The books have fin...
09/30/2019

Corriganville, California in 1962 and... your first peek at The Liberty Ranch Collection Volume One! The books have finally arrived! Here's a glimpse at the Corriganville chapter introduction to accompany today's post; an image that did not make the book. Eight fascinating, historic theme parks are featured in our limited edition volume one - every image new and previously unseen! If you are a fan of Corriganville (or Quintin Tarantino's new movie 'Once Upon A Time Hollywood', which was filmed on the former site) we think you'll enjoy volume one's Corriganville chapter very much. We will have information on ordering soon!

Six Flags Over Texas - July 1963. With the spooky season upon us, what better time to look at a couple skulls? The first...
09/26/2019

Six Flags Over Texas - July 1963. With the spooky season upon us, what better time to look at a couple skulls? The first image gives us a nice look at the foreboding skull at Six Flags Over Texas long ago. The second, for comparison, was taken the same year at Disneyland, near the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. Clearly, one park had a better skull designer than the other! That said, at least you could climb inside the eyeballs in Texas!

Knott's Berry Farm's Roaring Twenties area - sometime in the mid 1970s. A great view of the Pilot's 'Rec' area. Get it? ...
09/20/2019

Knott's Berry Farm's Roaring Twenties area - sometime in the mid 1970s. A great view of the Pilot's 'Rec' area. Get it? Get it? Funny stuff! Plenty of exciting game fun to be found here. Knott's did it right. Toss a baseball, win a prize. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Paramount Ranch, Agoura Hills, CA. - 1964. Wide eyed visitors got a up close look at movie magic at Paramount's inland '...
09/13/2019

Paramount Ranch, Agoura Hills, CA. - 1964. Wide eyed visitors got a up close look at movie magic at Paramount's inland 'ocean'. The film they are preparing to shoot here is unknown. Chime in if you have a guess!

Walt Disney inside Disneyland - 1966. What a treat it must have been for this tourist to find Walt filming a television ...
09/06/2019

Walt Disney inside Disneyland - 1966. What a treat it must have been for this tourist to find Walt filming a television program on the day of their visit!

As August comes to a close and we head into Labor Day weekend, let's take one last swim this summer - at Marineland's Ba...
08/30/2019

As August comes to a close and we head into Labor Day weekend, let's take one last swim this summer - at Marineland's Baja Reef! Opened in 1979, Baja Reef was one of Marineland's last attempts at boosting attendance at the struggling Palos Verdes, California oceanarium. The attraction came too late to boost Marineland's attendance, and only a lucky few experienced the Baja Reef swim through lagoon while it operated. The park is long gone now, closing in 1987, and like so many summers of the past, we are left with only fading snapshots or distant memories. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Knott's Berry Farm is planning their big 100th birthday celebration next year! Let's take a ride in our time machine tod...
08/16/2019

Knott's Berry Farm is planning their big 100th birthday celebration next year! Let's take a ride in our time machine today and go back 72 years to see what a visit to our favorite berry farm looked like in 1947! Yes, that's Beach Boulevard - or is it the intersection at Grand? Wow, Buena Park never looked more enticing. These colorful Kodachrome slides come from an awesome set snapped by an out of state tourist. Thank you unknown visitor!

The incredible mixed media conceptual painting for a Calaveras County theme park. Imagine an entire park built around th...
08/08/2019

The incredible mixed media conceptual painting for a Calaveras County theme park. Imagine an entire park built around the stories of Mark Twain and American folklore! Masterfully created by legendary artist Wes Cook in 1991 for Landmark Entertainment, this map depicts the proposed Valencia, California park that was, sadly, never realized. The park included dark rides brought to life by the skilled hand of Disney legend Marc Davis (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion). Wow, what could have been! This artwork is massive. We hope you enjoy these brief views for now.

Here's an interesting piece we are just getting ready to frame for closer examination. It's the 1969 height guide for th...
08/02/2019

Here's an interesting piece we are just getting ready to frame for closer examination. It's the 1969 height guide for the commercial recreation area surrounding Disneyland. As you may know, sight lines from within Disneyland were strictly followed in the past. No one wanted to see high rise hotels and other buildings from inside the park. That would ruin the magic. While the blueprint is dated 1969, it's curious to note that the footprint of the park seen here is earlier than that - perhaps 1964 or so. There's the Flying Saucers! The post today is a little drab and colorless, so let's brighten things a bunch with a swell 1964 slide of one of the Disneyland groundskeepers lighting Tiki torches near the entry to the Tahitian Terrace! Sure, it's a little blurry but it's an uncommon look at the everyday!

Corriganville, Simi Valley, CA. - 1962. It's been some time since we last looked at Ray 'Crash' Corrigan's famed movie r...
07/26/2019

Corriganville, Simi Valley, CA. - 1962. It's been some time since we last looked at Ray 'Crash' Corrigan's famed movie ranch in Simi Valley. Corrigan was a popular western movie actor when he bought this large piece of the valley in 1937 and turned it into a movie ranch. Corriganville became a very popular place for filming - so much so that by the 1950s Corrigan opened his gates to the public to enjoy a little western fun and excitement. It was a taste of Knott's Berry Farm just north of Los Angeles. The large building at the end of the street on the right with signage reading 'hotel' was actually a very large soundstage meant for interior filming. The hotel frontage was non functional false front only. To the left, the building with the upstairs balcony was only just completed three years previous to this 1962 shot. We have an entire chapter devoted to Corriganville in our upcoming book - details soon! Corriganville closed for good in 1965 when the property was bought by Bob Hope. Today, the acreage is a county park! While the buildings are gone, you can still visit the site and compare foundations with what once was there! A great place to visit!

Petrified creatures found here! Here's a bit of roadside nostalgia that has, sadly, recently closed. Opened sometime in ...
07/19/2019

Petrified creatures found here! Here's a bit of roadside nostalgia that has, sadly, recently closed. Opened sometime in 1934 the Petrified Creatures Museum and fossil pit was located in Warren, New York. It seems to have operated for a time under the name 'The Wilds', as well. Currently in a decaying state, the attraction was best known in recent years for the brightly painted orange, blue or pink concrete dinosaurs that dotted the property.

It's hard to believe, but Knott's Berry Farm's iconic Log Ride is fifty years old today! Designed and built by theme par...
07/11/2019

It's hard to believe, but Knott's Berry Farm's iconic Log Ride is fifty years old today! Designed and built by theme park legend Bud Hurlbut, the ride opened on July 11th 1969 with actor John Wayne taking the first plunge. The log ride was Bud Hurlbut's masterpiece follow-up attraction to his Calico Mine Ride which he had opened just nine years before. When Liberty Ranch acquired Bud's upstairs formal office, one of the nicest surprises we found were the numerous books, notes and documents he had left on the shelves - a virtual treasure trove of theme park history. Included in one of the bookcases were two of the books Bud used during his research for the log ride. Looking through the pages here, one can clearly see the inspiration for some of his thinking. Perhaps best of all, though, was the souvenir photo brochure Bud had left inside the Sawmilling book - side by side and facing, brochure opened, to the actual historic photo he had used for inspiration! Rest assured, it's going to stay right there on page 133 where Bud's hand placed it.

Happy 4th of July from Freedomland USA! The front gate ticket booths are pictured here in 1960. Freedomland was New York...
07/04/2019

Happy 4th of July from Freedomland USA! The front gate ticket booths are pictured here in 1960. Freedomland was New York City's short lived answer to Disneyland. Opened in 1960 and closed in 1964. The park was full of Disney type themed attractions and is well remembered by those that had the pleasure of a visit. We'll celebrate old glory today - and enjoy this multi flag view from so long ago!

Here's a couple of quick 'Then & Now' Knott's Berry Farm shots! The first was snapped sometime around 1980 over on the l...
06/28/2019

Here's a couple of quick 'Then & Now' Knott's Berry Farm shots! The first was snapped sometime around 1980 over on the lagoon side of Beach Boulevard. The matching shot today was taken in the same general area, but just a tad closer to Independence Hall. The second image was taken about 1968 and allows us a look at the old Cable Car tracks. It's funny how that chain link fence looks suspiciously unchanged. It's been 50 years!

Jungleland, Thousand Oaks, CA. - 1960s. Originally started as a lion training facility for the movie industry in 1926 by...
06/21/2019

Jungleland, Thousand Oaks, CA. - 1960s. Originally started as a lion training facility for the movie industry in 1926 by Louis Goebel, Jungleland evolved into a fully developed, movie animal themed tourist attraction by 1960. Jungle rides, animal shows and a petting zoo were offered to guests - all for just a $1.50 adult admission! Here we see movie star Olivia DeHavilland enjoying a ride on the Jungleland Express with her children. As urban encroachment increased, and facing difficult upkeep, the park closed in 1969.

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