Virginia's Gift Shop
Virginia's Gift Shop
Started by Walter Knott's Daughter 1938

KBF Timeline

Mural inside Virginia's Gift Shop
Knotts Berry Farm

Posted Thursday March 24th 2022

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline 1920s
Timeline 1920s
Our story begins with a farmer and his wife, Walter and Cordelia Knott, who came to Buena Park in 1920 with their growing family. Virginia, Russell. Toni, and Marion joined their parents in working the berry fields which the Knotts purchased in 1927. The iconic berry stand was replaced with a more permanent Berry Market building with an attached tearoom where Cordelia sold sandwiches and fresh, berry pies.

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline 1930s
Timeline 1930s
1934 brought an enormous change to Walter Knott's berry farm as he propagated and marketed a new berry developed by Rudolph Boysen, the sweet-tart boysenberry. Cordelia brought her fried chicken dinners to the table the same year and enormous crowds followed. To entertain their many guests, Walter began displaying real or humorous vignettes of Western history around his property.

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline 1940s
Timeline 1940s
The farm grew into a full-fledged roadside attraction and the farming family became entrepreneurs. Each member contributed in one way or another to Knott's Berry Farm's growth. Virginia Knott, for example, opened her gift shop next to the Chicken Dinner Restaurant and she became the first concessionaire on the property.

Walter Knott's interest in the old west piqued with the 1941 debut of Ghost Town just out back of the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. With old siding, windows and doors, new buildings were constructed to appear aged and authentic in every way. The Blacksmith shop, however, was a vintage structure and moved to Knott's from a neighboring farm.

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline Ghost Town
Timeline Ghost Town
The little town began in 1941 with just one street, Main Street, but more buildings and businesses were quickly added. The Pitchur Gallery photo studio was the first shop and the inspirational Little Chapel by the Lake was the first attraction. The Covered Wagon Show, a touching a touching tribute to western pioneers housed in the Gold Trails Hotel, followed soon after.

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline 1950s
Timeline 1950s
Throughout the 1950s, Ghost Town added new attractions and old-time adventures such as the Ghost Town & Calico Railway, a truly historic train shipped from Colorado (1951). Visitors could watch a can-can show at the Calico Saloon (1951), enjoy an authentic one-room schoolhouse (1952), defy gravity at the Haunted Shack (1954), catch an over-the-top melodrama at the Bird Cage Theatre (1954), or wonder at the many mini worlds within Mott's Miniatures (1958).

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline Map
80 Acres of Restaurants, Entertainment, Shops, and Free Parking

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline mid-1950s
Timeline mid-1950s
Knott's California Marketplace bloomed around the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Vendors sold a variety of wares in what is the first shopping mall located outside of a theme park. The mid-1950s also brought a few non-western attractions in the form of little car rides, real San Francisco cable cars (1955), and Bud Hurlbut's Dentzel carousel (1955). The Knott family's friendship with Hurlbut would change the Farm forever.

After five years of operating smaller attractions around Knott's Berry Farm, Bud Hurlbut constructed a new concession in the form an enormous, 7-story-tall dark ride. With 360-degree themeing, a trip into the Calico Mine Co. mountain was unlike any other other attraction at the time and its hidden, switchback queue and track layout were groundbreaking and inspirational.

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline 1960s
Timeline 1960s

Knott's Berry Farm Timeline Independence Hall
Timeline Independence Hall
It was Walter Knott's dream to celebrate America's heritage by building a replica of Independence Hall. In 1966 he did just that with the help of Bud Hurlbut who gifted Knott his hand-forged, exact replica of the Liberty Bell.

Although Knott's did not get the world's first log ride, it did get the world's first themed log ride in the form of Timber Mountain, another design from Bud Hurlbut. Walter Knott initially turned down the untested idea, but by 1969 the final attraction opened with actor John Wayne inaugurating.