The Knott’s Berry
Farm amusement park in Orange County, California originated from a berry farm owned by Walter Knott (1889-1981). In the 1920s, Knott and his wife, Cordelia, sold berries, berry preserves and pies from a roadside stand beside State Route 39, near the small town of Buena Park.
In 1932, on a visit to Rudolph Boysen’s farm in nearby Anaheim, Walter Knott was introduced to a new hybrid berry of blackberry, red raspberry and loganberry cross-bred by Boysen, who gave Walter his last six wilted berry-hybrid plants. Walter planted and cultivated them, then the family sold the berries at their roadside stand. When people asked what kind they were, he called them “Boysenberrys”.
In 1934, to make ends meet, Knott’s wife Cordelia (1890–1974) reluctantly began serving fried chicken dinners on their wedding china. For dessert, Knott’s signature Boysenberry Pie was also served to guests dining in the small tea room. As Southern California developed, Highway 39 became the major north-south connection between Los Angeles County and the beaches of Orange County, and the restaurant’s location was a popular stopping point for drivers making the two-hour trip in those days before freeways. Until Interstate 605 and State Route 57 were built in the late 1960s, Highway 39 (now known in Orange County as Beach Boulevard) continued to carry the bulk of the traffic between eastern Los Angeles and Orange County. Great location and good value were the restaurant’s conditions of success which attracted long lines of diners.
Watch “Knott’s Berry Farm (1950s)” on YouTube