The Old Mill Stream vignette is located behind the Berry Market on Grand Avenue, just past the glass doors and to the left. In late April, the waterwheel was replaced!
The Old Mill Stream is one of the earliest spectacles that Walter had built for guests to enjoy while waiting for their name to be called at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It was completed either in 1938 or 1939. The display includes a millstone and a waterwheel. Originally the display also featured a sign that encouraged guest to sing “Down by the Old Mill Stream” which was a popular song written by Tell Taylor in 1908.
Below is the Old Mill Stream photo from the “Real Photo Postcard” series, circa 1940:
The caption in the postcard reads, “'DOWN BY THE OLD MILL STREAM' - A LOVELY SPOT IN THE GARDENS AT KNOTT’S BERRY PLACE – BUENA PARK, CALIF."
Here is another old photo that I found:
I took the photo below in October of 2002. The waterwheel was turning when I took this photo, and this was the last time that I recall seeing it turn:
To the left of the Old Mill Stream vignette is the George Washington fireplace display. Both displays were nicely refurbished in 2010. The sign in the photo below was added to the millstone during the 2010 refurbishment.
The sign reads, “This old millstone was used for 50 years in the first commercial mill in Los Angeles. It was run by water power like the little one in the corner. The mill was located north of Union Station on the Los Angeles River. The stone was made in England and brought here by boat around Cape Horn. My mother’s family settled in the San Gabriel Valley in 1868. They hauled grain to an old mill like this one in Puente to be ground into flour. – Walter Knott”
In late April, the waterwheel was replaced, and guests can once again enjoy watching it turn!
Here is a fast-shutter photo that I took on May 2nd, about a week after the new wheel was installed:
Here is a slow-shutter photo that I took on the same day. It shows the motion of the wheel turning:
Here is some video footage that I shot on May 2nd:
My personal gratitude to those who have restored this wonderful display! I am delighted that it is still there for us to enjoy!