Living here in Santa Barbara I can tell you that's a great reproduction of the Mission and I'm sorry I have missed those amazing displays on my visits to Knotts. That won't happen again I assure you. :)
I admire Knotts for putting so much effort into all the little things along with their hard work on the new and old attractions all at once. Kudos to Knotts and I will most definitely be there soon. Thank you so much for you coverage on this. Very intriguing!
that is beautiful clay artwork there. amazingly done.
For me personally Knott's has many more memories from childhood than Disneyland. We usually only went to Disneyland once per year as a kid because even then it was an expensive day for a whole family. But in contrast Knott's was practically a bi-monthly destination (admission to the Ghost Town used to be free).
I am so happy to see Knott's restoring these wonderful Spanish Mission dioramas and placing them back on display for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. It is stories like this which will give me a reason to return to Knott's and give them some of my money. Not everything at a theme park needs to be about glow toys and spinners; it's the little attention to detail like these Mission models that really don't cost much in the big picture that make all the difference.
It's interesting how more than 60 years after these California Missions were introduced to Knott's, so many people still remember them with such detailed memories.
Thank for creating this thread!
I was at Knott's yesterday, but I forgot to stop by Ghost Town to see the progress on the mission dioramas.
I did find these photos on my computer, though. These were taken two days after my last photos (both in mid-June), and show the model of Mission Santa Inez pretty much completed, with some nice touches with the exterior decorations.
I am guessing that the craftsman has moved on to his third or fourth mission by now. I'll try to remember to stop by the next time I visit.
Does anyone know which of the 21 Missions were lost or damaged? It would be great if Knott's found a way to replace those Missions as well so that the set could be complete again.
I encourage people to write to Knott's management and congratulate them on this decision to preserve these historically significant mementos from the park. I know that it will draw me back for a visit.
I also remember him saying that it took about 3-4 weeks to restore the first mission, Santa Barbara, but that was more complicated and also his first effort. He thought Santa Ines, the one he was working on a month ago, would probably go faster.
I think as long as the park is happy with his work (encouraging letters from the public can only help), he will be at work for several months, and possibly longer if he gets to build those replacement models.
I did an internet search for Knott's and California missions just now, and found a four-part series on the missions at Knott's dated June 13-23 by local historian Chris Jepsen at his blog, including their construction by Leon De Volo and the history of the El Camino Real at the park, as well as their current restoration (the craftsman's name is Bob Wier, and apparently has worked at Knott's for over 20 years) . Jepsen's title is The Old Missions of Buena Park, and here is part I.
Part III covers the actual restoration and Jepsen's role in finding the models on the second floor of the Ghost Town Hotel back in 2009, and suggesting to Knott's that they should be restored in a public area, as an attraction for visitors.
Surprisingly, it turns out that there is another set of California model missions built by Leon De Volo and housed at the California Mission Museum in Sonoma in northern California. This is described by Jepsen in part IV of his series.
Thanks for the update and the cool extra links on the project. Boy, do I hope these are on display at Knott's in 2016 when we plan to be there! Please do keep us up to date if you get more info, especially if you get new pics or get to talk to Mr. Wier again.
If there is one truth about amusement parks, it is that not everyone attends just to go on a new rollercoaster.
This is really good news
Thanks for posting this, socalfun. I've been meaning to get back to the park and check out the mission restoration. I wonder how many missions the craftsman, Bob Wier, has finished since he started with Santa Barbara. I'm guessing he did one between Santa Ines and Santa Cruz, which means he would be on his fourth or fifth by now.