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The Ghost Rider Rollercoaster - The American Coaster Enthusiasts Coaster Con 42 at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

The question you have is how do we go from a berry stand on the side of a dusty highway to a park with massive world class coasters like Ghostroder?

That part of the story has to do with the great depression and fried chicken.

The Ghost Rider Rollercoaster - The American Coaster Enthusiasts Coaster Con 42 at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

The Los Angeles area in the 1930's was not a great metropolis.  There was only a fifth of the current population.  When the Great Depression hit; it hit, hard especially for farmers like Walter Knott.

The Ghost Rider Rollercoaster - The American Coaster Enthusiasts Coaster Con 42 at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

The berries were not bringing people in from far and wide with the entire country in economic turmoil.  Walter turned to his wife Cordella for help.  Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner opened up in 1934.  When the word about Cordella's amazing fried chicken spread they soon had people lining up for hours to get a taste. 

The Ghost Rider Rollercoaster - The American Coaster Enthusiasts Coaster Con 42 at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

We have gone from a berry stand to a chicken restaurant but where did the jump to theme park take place?  With people lined up for three or more hours Walter decided to give them something to fill the time.  What he came up with was a volcano.  With several truckloads of volcanic rock shipped from the Mojave Desert and a boiler to supply the steam there was soon a "live" volcano that steamed and hissed outside of Mrs. Knott's Chicken Diner to entertain guests as they waited. 

The Ghost Rider Rollercoaster - The American Coaster Enthusiasts Coaster Con 42 at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

Soon the volcano had a silver mine next door and that's when the idea of entertaining guests with a themed experience took root and grew.



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Paul B. Drabek