Title: From berry vines to the big time: Book chronicles Knott's Berry Farm's 'early years'
Author: Michael Mello
Publisher: OC Register
A new book by theme park historian Jay Jennings shows the old days at Knott's Berry Farm, pulling together hundreds of photographs to tell the story of Walter and Cordelia Knott, and their small roadside berry stand that grew into a famous restaurant, and a park that is now one of California's best-known attractions.
"Knott's Berry Farm: The Early Years" begins with photographs of Knott's Berry Farm founder Walter Knott's grandparents and his family history. It ends more than 100 pages of pictures later, with a portrait of Knott, noting how he lived in a double-wide trailer on the theme park's grounds until his death in 1981.
Jennings has a Web site he calls the Knott's Berry Farm Museum, where he shows off an impressive collection of Knott's memorabilia, which he says is one of the largest such collections in the country.
He is a native of Los Angeles and has been researching the history of Southern California's theme parks for 25 years. During that time, he became good friends with members of the Knott family and long-time Knott's Berry Farm employees.
"I hope my book brings back fond memories of when families visited Knott's Berry Farm and Ghost Town and the sheer fun and joy of walking up and down Main Street," Jennings said. "I also hope my book entertains and educates."
Trained in film during his college years, Jennings has also put together this video about the park's history, which includes rare footage.
Knott's Berry Farm: The Early Years retails for $21.99 and may also be purchased from Arcadia Publishing.