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  1. #16

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    Folks, just a reminder that MiceChat does not allow the discussion of religion or politics on our boards, except in the Gold membership, Debate Lounge. It's important that the discussion remain about the wonderful restoration Knott's is doing on the California Mission models. Introducing discussions about religion or the politics of religion will necessitate moving this thread to the Debate Lounge, and those of you who do not have a Gold membership will no longer be able to see or contribute to the thread.

    Thanks for your understanding.
    "Not Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor together could have
    raised money enough to buy a quarter share in my little dog."

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  2. #17

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    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!

  3. #18

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    that is beautiful clay artwork there. amazingly done.

  4. #19

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    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!

  5. #20

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    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.

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  6. #21

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff View Post
    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.

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    Awesome SS! Thanks for the update!

    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.

  7. #22

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by USS Seawolf View Post
    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.
    It's been a month since I had the conversation with the craftsman who is restoring the mission dioramas, but I believe he told me that if everything goes well and the park managers are happy with the work he is doing, he will be building new models from scratch for those missions that could not be salvaged.

    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.

  8. #23

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    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.

  9. #24

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    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.

    “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
    but he was just the one to put the color on it." – Ken Anderson
    ​I'm blogging here again!

  10. #25

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff View Post
    It's been a month since I had the conversation with the craftsman who is restoring the mission dioramas, but I believe he told me that if everything goes well and the park managers are happy with the work he is doing, he will be building new models from scratch for those missions that could not be salvaged.

    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.
    Thanks for that update SS. I will be sending a letter to Knotts congratulating them on their decision to restore these mission models and offering them up once again for new generations to celebrate and enjoy. I will be letting them know that as a result these types of decisions that I will be visiting the park and encouraging others to do so as well.

    If there is one truth about amusement parks, it is that not everyone attends just to go on a new rollercoaster.

  11. #26

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    This is really good news
    The new Star Wars plot summery:

    Episode 7: Luke discovers that Darth Vader is not his father, and goes on a search for his real father

    Episode 8: Darth Vader is resurrected and goes on Jerry Springer, claiming he is Luke and Leia's father

    Episode 9: Princes Leia is not Luke's sister, making him furious (we all know why...).

  12. #27

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by USS Seawolf View Post
    If there is one truth about amusement parks, it is that not everyone attends just to go on a new rollercoaster.
    Here here! I agree! Most of what I adore about Knott's is often invisible to the digital generation. The visitor who thinks they have to wait in a line to enjoy Knott's offerings is not looking at what's right in front of them. I've tricked several kids to view Ghost Town's barrel of baby rattlers and shared with them the beating heart of Hiram McTavish. My personal list of beloved Knott's details goes on an on and there's not a rollercoaster on it.

  13. #28

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    July 4:


  14. #29

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by socalfun View Post
    July 4:


  15. #30

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    Re: California Mission restoration

    I was at the park yesterday. Here are some photos that I took of the current mission model being restored, Mission Santa Cruz:

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