Earlier this year, we visited Knott’s Berry Farm for the Boysenberry Festival and I found myself taking a trip down history lane as we walked through Ghost Town. I love all the historical buildings. And I find myself wanting to sit down and take in the environment and let my mind wander back in history.
Ghost Town was originally built by Walter Knott in 1940, inspired by his mother’s 1868 journey to California in a covered wagon. It came about because people were waiting hours to eat at his wife’s restaurant and they needed something to do. He started with a main street, where he built a saloon, sheriff’s office, assay office, barbershop, and more.
If I could bring my laptop and write while sitting amongst it all, I would. From the one-room schoolhouse, which is a major setting in my novels, to the train, which carries my teachers west from Cincinatti (in 1869), it all transports me back 150 years.
FUN FACT ABOUT ME: I love searching for and finding one-room schoolhouses. Take a look at my page dedicated to those I’ve captured during my travels.
Historical Buildings Show Us What Life Was Like
Historical towns were much smaller than towns today, with a main street that housed a general store, blacksmith shop, livery, and hotel. One-room schoolhouse’s sometimes doubled as a church or meeting hall, and majority of people ranched or ran a shop. A town grew if it had a train station.
I attempted to capture the essence of this old town in my photos and jot down notes to remember the feelings and emotions that bubbled up to the surface while I was there. This way I could carry them into my stories when I write.
Do you get a sense of history when you see these images?
One of the cool things about the Blacksmith shop is that they make and sell pieces in the store.
It’s amazing to see keys, branding irons, horseshoes, and locks that were made by hand.
Have you ever visited Knott’s? Or is there another town that you like to visit to look at the historical buildings?
Denise M. Colby loves history, books, Disney, and musicals and not always in that order. Besides her blog here, she also contributes monthly at a writer’s blog A Slice of Orange.