Stack's Liberty Ranch

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

Opryland USA, Nashville TN -1975. Opryland opened in 1972 and operated successfully until closing in 1997. Hindered by a...
09/03/2020

Opryland USA, Nashville TN -1975. Opryland opened in 1972 and operated successfully until closing in 1997. Hindered by a location that was prone to flooding and limited in its ability to expand, the park had few options as development encroached. Theme park wall maps are always a little hard to scan or get a decent close up, but this segment gives you some idea where this photo was taken. It seems our train has just left the Grinder's Switch Railroad Station. And say, that trestle was pretty close to the Gaslight Beef Room! This park gets extra points for originality in location names.

Disneyland Plaza Pavilion, March 28th 1959 - Roy Williams or 'Big Roy' of television's popular Mickey Mouse Club draws c...
08/25/2020

Disneyland Plaza Pavilion, March 28th 1959 - Roy Williams or 'Big Roy' of television's popular Mickey Mouse Club draws cartoons for happy guests. Roy was one of the adult hosts of the show and is often credited with creating the now iconic Mickey Mouse cap with ears.

Road trip to California 1958! - This Ohio family had to make a quick stop somewhere in the Great West before continuing ...
08/21/2020

Road trip to California 1958! - This Ohio family had to make a quick stop somewhere in the Great West before continuing on. The little boy is about to discover what the ladies already have. Don't worry, folks, in two days your Anaheim destination will all be worth it!

Jungleland, Thousand Oaks, CA. - 1959. Jungleland had a long history in Thousand Oaks, California. Opened in 1925 by Lou...
08/17/2020

Jungleland, Thousand Oaks, CA. - 1959. Jungleland had a long history in Thousand Oaks, California. Opened in 1925 by Louis Goebel as an animal rental and training facility for the film industry, the park was known then as Goebel's Lion Farm. By 1929 the name had changed to Goebel's Wild Animal Farm and then, once sold, re-named again to World Jungle Compound in 1946. Seeing the success of nearby Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, 20th Century Fox bought the facility in 1956 and renamed the park Jungleland. The intention was to build the park into a popular themed destination - with Goebel back on board by 1961. In time, a train ride was added to the animal shows and elephant rides. Swan boats circled a small lake and tour trams drove the property. Jungleland enjoyed mild success for the next few years until finally closing their 170 acres in October 1969 when Hwy 101 was diverted and the public's interest waned. Today, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza sits on a portion of the site. It's fun to visit the area and line up distant hills in old photos with the current views.

I wanted to take a moment this morning to welcome all the NEW guests to this page from Justin Scarred's Randomland! Welc...
08/10/2020

I wanted to take a moment this morning to welcome all the NEW guests to this page from Justin Scarred's Randomland! Welcome - We are happy to have you join us! Justin's newest YouTube episode featured a very nice review of Volume Two of our Liberty Ranch book series! So much so that we're still blushing! Books are selling even faster now, of course, but you can get a copy here: StacksLibertyRanch.com before you miss out.
Kaycee and I want those of you who support Randomland to know Justin has become a good friend of ours here at Liberty Ranch. You are supporting a fun, fine and decent fellow with Justin at Randomland. We could use more like him in this world! Keep it up, and welcome to the page!

Just ahead, today's post is a day late but we did not want to miss talking about the anniversary of the Haunted Mansion's opening on August 9, 1969. Fifty one years ago yesterday. Wow. So here's a fun - and a bit obscure - article that ran in the Winter 1969 Disney News magazine. And breaking news... you can place a bid on that same Phineas Pock headstone next weekend in the Van Eaton Gallery Auction! You may have to shatter TWO piggy banks to win, though!

Universal Studios backlot, Universal City - September 1973. Things have changed a bunch down there over the last 47 year...
08/04/2020

Universal Studios backlot, Universal City - September 1973. Things have changed a bunch down there over the last 47 years or so. Catastrophic fires and new sets have altered this view. There's the courthouse from 'Back to the Future' on the left! However, it would still be quite a few years before Doc Brown used it. How many other classic movie locations can you find?

Knott's Berry Farm, back gate entry to Ghost Town - 1958. Here's another great shot that nearly made the book but was le...
07/23/2020

Knott's Berry Farm, back gate entry to Ghost Town - 1958. Here's another great shot that nearly made the book but was left out due to space. Yes, at one time you could park right behind the Bird Cage Theater (that's it on the left) and walk directly into Ghost Town for the show. Guests won't get this view today; it's backstage. Neat, huh? Volume Two is still available for a limited time if you're interested in some genuine Knott's rarities. You can take a look here!

StacksLibertyRanch.com

Fort Apache Roadside Old West Town, Rio Grande, NJ - 1964. Like so many states across America, New Jersey once had its o...
07/16/2020

Fort Apache Roadside Old West Town, Rio Grande, NJ - 1964. Like so many states across America, New Jersey once had its own roadside Old West attraction; Fort Apache. The place offered an odd mix of camping, sing-a-longs, shoot-outs, can-can dancers and alligator wrestling. New Jersey seemed a long way from the Old West and alligators rarely appeared with Doc Holiday, but hey, it all worked out fine. The questionable horse trick with the burning stick is another topic altogether. It's probable there was never a need for such a skill in old Dodge City.

Let's ride the Disneyland Autopia. It's March 1979 and you're ready to step into your yellow car! Hey, you don't suppose...
07/09/2020

Let's ride the Disneyland Autopia. It's March 1979 and you're ready to step into your yellow car! Hey, you don't suppose that's the same one Disney legend Bob Gurr signed for the Liberty Ranch collection a few years back, do you? Let's hope it is!

A special note to those of you ordering the new book. Shipments are going out as fast as we can fill them! Thank you for your support!

For those of you interested, Volume Two in our limited book series is available today! If you are an enthusiast of old K...
06/29/2020

For those of you interested, Volume Two in our limited book series is available today! If you are an enthusiast of old Knott's Berry Farm history, particularly with an interest in Bud Hurlbut's contributions to the 'farm', you should greatly enjoy Volume Two of our Stack's Liberty Ranch Collection. It's packed full of never before seen historic Knott's images and rare Hurlbut history. Those with a close connection to Buena Park history in general will enjoy the other two attractions in this book as well; the greatly missed Alligator Farm and Movieland Wax Museum. Three historic locations in one 214 page picture book. Limited signed copies are available starting today. If you're interested, please visit us at StacksLibertyRanch.com for ordering information (link on the side) or feel free contact us here! A surprise 'extra' item comes with each copy ordered.

An interesting view of the Louisiana World Exposition, New Orleans - 1984. Held the same year as the 1984 Los Angeles Ol...
06/25/2020

An interesting view of the Louisiana World Exposition, New Orleans - 1984. Held the same year as the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and just two years after the opening of EPCOT, this little exposition didn't have much chance of becoming successful. In fact, so few visitors came to the fair that the Louisiana World Exposition holds the sad notoriety of being the only exposition to go bankrupt while in operation. It ran for barely six months.

While we anxiously wait for the reopening of Knott's Berry Farm, here's a wonderful shot that almost made it into volume...
06/19/2020

While we anxiously wait for the reopening of Knott's Berry Farm, here's a wonderful shot that almost made it into volume two (available soon!). Though very rare, the image was rejected due to its soft focus. Sure it's a great shot of Bill Higdon's covered wagon ride, but look what it shows us on the left! Those are the early forms and foundation for the Calico Saloon! Taken about 1950 (the saloon opened in 1951) this tourist slide also gives us a long view on the right to the area where Boot Hill and the Grist Mill would soon be constructed. How fun!

Disneyland, Anaheim CA. - possibly late 1985. Removal of the Space Stage and Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space attra...
06/11/2020

Disneyland, Anaheim CA. - possibly late 1985. Removal of the Space Stage and Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space attractions. Site work is well underway for the addition of Star Tours and the new enclosed theater in the Space Mountain complex.

A quick reminder that Volume Two of the Stacks' Liberty Ranch Collection book series is nearing completion! Three additi...
06/02/2020

A quick reminder that Volume Two of the Stacks' Liberty Ranch Collection book series is nearing completion! Three additional parks are featured in this upcoming second book - with plenty of ultra rare images! If you have not placed an order for the limited edition Volume One you may want to get your order in soon. They are disappearing and when they're gone they're gone! If you're interested, head over to StacksLibertyRanch.Com

A remarkable view of the Disneyland Hotel Golf Course, Anaheim, CA. - 1964. We are looking northwest toward Cerritos Ave...
05/29/2020

A remarkable view of the Disneyland Hotel Golf Course, Anaheim, CA. - 1964. We are looking northwest toward Cerritos Avenue. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Here's a quick one for today, but it's kinda' fun. A lot of you Disneyphile enthusiasts out there might know that one of...
05/27/2020

Here's a quick one for today, but it's kinda' fun. A lot of you Disneyphile enthusiasts out there might know that one of Walt Disney's favorite dining establishments in Los Angeles was the classic Tam O'Shanter restaurant in Los Feliz. It was close to the studio and made for a great meeting place for lunch. It's still in business, too! When Walt and his associates were in San Diego, however, they really liked to visit the Mexican Village on Coronado Island! It appears to have been the 'go to' place back in the 40s and 50s, and a bunch of important meetings took place there. It looks like it was a fun place way back in the day. For years, though, it has been out of business. Good news, we hear that it just recently came back. Wonder if the new place resembles the old!

Restoration complete; the return of Geronimo! We are overjoyed to present to you the results of Jens Schnabel's superb r...
05/20/2020

Restoration complete; the return of Geronimo! We are overjoyed to present to you the results of Jens Schnabel's superb restoration of Paul Von Klieben's magnificent 1948 painting of Geronimo. For many years, this painting was one of central focus in Knott's Berry Farm's delightful Steak House 'Indian Room'. You may even remember it yourself! Some had told us it was unsalvageable; damaged beyond repair and without any hope of restoration. When it comes to rescuing important theme park artifacts, and saving the memories that are important to all of us, that's just not an option we embrace. We hope you agree that the happy results have been worth the effort! Here's to Paul Von Klieben's Geronimo. May this work be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA. - 1976. I couple shots of the old Log Jammer ride at classic Magic Mountain. There may hav...
05/13/2020

Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA. - 1976. I couple shots of the old Log Jammer ride at classic Magic Mountain. There may have never been a wetter line to stand in. More often than not guests had wet shoes before even getting on the ride! A design flaw to be sure. But the ride was so much fun it was worth it, right?

As promised a month ago, here's a quick update on the restoration of Paul Von Klieben's Geronimo painting from Knott's o...
05/04/2020

As promised a month ago, here's a quick update on the restoration of Paul Von Klieben's Geronimo painting from Knott's old Steak House. After the removal of all loose and chipping medium, there was a substantial wait for overseas product to arrive. Thankfully, Jens is now rolling along nicely with his work. Here he applies a leveling agent which required days of drying before the actual application of paint. Stay tuned - things are looking great!

04/29/2020
Disneyland in the 1950s, Time Travel to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland!

Justin Scarred's newest Randomland episode is a lot of fun! He takes us on a time traveling tour of old Disneyland. Feel free to take a look!

Disneyland in the 1950s! On today's episode of Randomland we Time Travel once again, this time to the 1950s to visit Disneyland's Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, ...

The FIRST trip on Soarin' Over California! Here we are in May 1988, heading in the general direction of the future attra...
04/22/2020

The FIRST trip on Soarin' Over California! Here we are in May 1988, heading in the general direction of the future attraction. Just a couple of guys on an Ultralight trying to get pictures of that giant Mickey balloon in Disneyland's parking lot below. How great is that!

If you enjoy the Disney version of the Carthay Circle Theater at DCA in Anaheim, perhaps you will like a look at one of ...
04/16/2020

If you enjoy the Disney version of the Carthay Circle Theater at DCA in Anaheim, perhaps you will like a look at one of the earliest programs from the actual theater itself! Built in 1926 in Los Angeles, this program was for 'The Barker' a silent 1928 release! Of course, Disney recreated the magnificent structure due to its historic connection with the premiere of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. The original Carthay Circle movie palace, sadly, is gone.

Here's more good news, and we hope it's something else for you to look forward to in the brighter days to come! Volume T...
04/06/2020

Here's more good news, and we hope it's something else for you to look forward to in the brighter days to come! Volume Two in the Liberty Ranch Collection is nearing completion. With a substantial emphasis on Bud Hurlbut, his friendships with Walt Disney and Walter Knott and his great contributions to theme park history, we hope this volume will help give us all a greater appreciation for his humble genius. Soon, very soon!

Let's take a road trip! It's 1950 and we're heading toward Lovelock, Nevada. Probably driving about where the Dwight D. ...
04/02/2020

Let's take a road trip! It's 1950 and we're heading toward Lovelock, Nevada. Probably driving about where the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway runs today. The car needs some Ethyl anti-knock gasoline. It's our lucky day; it looks like a couple fellows ahead are waiting for us!

Well, if we have to sit around watching paint dry... why don't we do just that? Master restoration artist Jens Schnabel ...
03/26/2020

Well, if we have to sit around watching paint dry... why don't we do just that?
Master restoration artist Jens Schnabel has started work on bringing back Paul Von Klieben's 1948 showpiece Geronimo painting from Knott's old steakhouse! There's a lot of great history here, and soon we will all be enjoying these beautiful Von Klieben gems again. You're invited to follow along on Jens progress in the next few weeks!

While Disneyland is in temporary shut down - like the rest of us (and remember, it is temporary, thank goodness!) - let'...
03/20/2020

While Disneyland is in temporary shut down - like the rest of us (and remember, it is temporary, thank goodness!) - let's take a look at a time when a significant part of the park was closed during an earlier experience. It's 1962 and the park is completely rebuilding the Aunt Jemima restaurant end of Frontierland. What a sight! A mess like this never lasts, thankfully. It comes back to us in a better form!

Hmmm, closed theme parks, cancelled events and empty stadiums. It's easy to see why no one likes that kind of disruption...
03/13/2020

Hmmm, closed theme parks, cancelled events and empty stadiums. It's easy to see why no one likes that kind of disruption. But this, too, shall pass. Take heart!

Here's how Anaheim's Angel Stadium looked when empty in August 1970. Wow, fifty years ago!

Here's a fantastic old artifact from Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California! The original hand painted Sea Serpe...
03/06/2020

Here's a fantastic old artifact from Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California! The original hand painted Sea Serpent roller coaster sign. The seal photo is from a 3D slide a tourist snapped about 1960. There's the coaster in the background!

'Then & Now' comparisons are always so much fun! How about another from Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park? This one is pr...
02/27/2020

'Then & Now' comparisons are always so much fun! How about another from Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park? This one is pretty remarkable. That little girl is posing on an old bike sometime in the mid 1950s - and here's a shot from just last week proving that little has changed near the ruins of that same adobe wall. Sixty-some years later, even the holes where the metal bracket screws held the bike are still apparent!

A well known fixture on Beach Blvd in Buena Park from 1982 to the mid 80s, Kingdom of the Dancing Stallions offered visi...
02/21/2020

A well known fixture on Beach Blvd in Buena Park from 1982 to the mid 80s, Kingdom of the Dancing Stallions offered visitors the chance to see royal performing horses up close. Sadly, the owners of the operation suffered health issues and were forced to close the attraction prematurely. This building's story ends well, however, as the Medieval Times dinner show restaurant chain took over the site and have been operating successfully there ever since.

Well, after searching for something appropriate to post for Valentine's Day it seems apparent that there's little in the...
02/14/2020

Well, after searching for something appropriate to post for Valentine's Day it seems apparent that there's little in the collection that's very romantic theme park-wise! But San Francisco cable cars might be close, huh? Let's take a 'Then and Now' look at Knott's Cable Car Kitchen area. The first image is from 1962 and the second just a few days ago. Same view!

Rhinoceros feeding time at Lion Country Safari, Irvine CA - 1971. How about that long line of cars! Grab your 1976 coupo...
02/07/2020

Rhinoceros feeding time at Lion Country Safari, Irvine CA - 1971. How about that long line of cars! Grab your 1976 coupon and come on in!

Dogpatch USA, Marble Falls, Arkansas - 1968. Dogpatch USA opened to the public on May 17th, 1968. Here was found a playf...
01/31/2020

Dogpatch USA, Marble Falls, Arkansas - 1968. Dogpatch USA opened to the public on May 17th, 1968. Here was found a playful Ozark themed amusement park based on Al Capp's popular comic strip, Li'l Abner. Filled with authentic log cabins and worn out structures brought in from other backwoods areas, Dogpatch gave guests a close up look at Al Capp's hillbilly cartoon world. Railroad and trail rides, trout fishing, homespun crafting shops and 'Earthquake McGoon's Brain Rattler' roller coaster all offered guests a day filled with fun. While the park had a fairly decent 25 year run, the anticipated annual attendances never quite reached predicted levels and the park eventually closed in 1993. Word is today the park may see a new re-building soon!

Knott's Berry Farm's parachute jump - 1977. Loading up for a long drop from high above the Roaring 20's themed airfield!...
01/24/2020

Knott's Berry Farm's parachute jump - 1977. Loading up for a long drop from high above the Roaring 20's themed airfield! Good times!

Here's a remarkable photo from the very early days of the Disneyland Autopia. It gives us a view, with significant  clar...
01/15/2020

Here's a remarkable photo from the very early days of the Disneyland Autopia. It gives us a view, with significant clarity, of the troubles and trials the attraction was undergoing just after opening. The image is so good that, well, we thought, who better to comment on the historic nature of what we are seeing than our friend Bob Gurr! He was there, after all, running the show, so to speak. Here's Bob's thoughts...

Howdy Ken…

Your photo of Autopia surely reminded me of the hard times we were going thru with the attraction. I was slowly figuring out the reason for every mechanical failure, designing a fix, then duplicating it on 39 ride cars.

You can see that we added a sunshade annex to our skid-box tiny shop. The train created hourly misery since it had to blow the whistle for the track crossing just to the right of the photo.

The guy standing in the middle sorta looks like me, I always wore gray J.C. Penny slacks and a white collared shirt with the short sleeves rolled up…so maybe that was me in the photo, which looks to be around mid-late August 1955. I was at Autopia 7 days a week from around July 1st thru the end of September.

Cheers…Bob

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All of your fondest theme park memories - and some new adventures, too! Watch for future opening.

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