The Founding of Knott’s Berry Farm and Our Tour of This First Ever California Amusement Park

  • The term “urbanization” refers to a population shift from rural areas to urban areas, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to this change.
  • “In 1790, only about one out of every twenty Americans (on average) lived in urban areas (cities), but this ratio had dramatically changed to one out of four by 1870, one out of two by 1920, two out of three in the 1960s, and four out of five in 2000.”
  • “By 1920, a majority of the U.S. population lived in urban centers, which offered new economic opportunities for women, international migrants, and internal migrants.”

From Berry Farm to Amusement Park

In order to understand how this small family farm grew into a large, widely known amusement park, we must go back to its origins. In 1932, Walter Knott had heard of a person, Rudolph Boysen, who crossed loganberries, blackberries, and raspberries to produce a new type of fruit. Boysen was a city parks superintendent in Anaheim, California, who had been attempting to create a type of hybrid berry for many years. Boysen had already stopped his experiments, but he showed Knott six dying plants growing near a ditch. Knott planted them on his farm and they flourished. A few years later, Knott began selling one-pound baskets of these berries along Highway 39. As a tribute to Rudolph Boysen, Knott named these oversized berries “boysenberries.” These berries were what started Knott’s Berry Farm’s growth from a simple small berry stand on the side of the road, to a popular amusement park.

Today’s Knotts Berry Farm

To this day, there is only one Knott’s Berry Farm, located in the original Buena Park, California, area. The amusement park has expanded to fifty-seven acres and is the most-visited park in the Cedar Fair chain. President and CEO of Cedar Fair Richard Zimmerman has said, “Knott’s has grown, as we’ve said, to over six million people a year, probably the most attended regional amusement park in the world now.” There are approximately ten thousand people employed throughout the year at the amusement park.

Our Visit to Knott’s Berry Farm

On the fourth of July in 2019, we visited the amusement park. Having arrived as soon as the park opened its doors, we explored the park grounds, searching for any evidence of its interesting past

Fully loaded funnel cake with strawberries and ice cream
Video We Made of Our Tour of Knott’s Berry Farm

SOURCES

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Knott’s Berry Farm.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 21 June 2017, www.britannica.com/place/Knotts-Berry-Farm.

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  • Jessica Chan
  • Elizabeth Tsai

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Peter Paccone

Peter Paccone

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.