Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Mazeland School

Note: Like the preceding three dispatches, the Mazeland School was seen before ‘officially’ setting out to see all of California’s state landmarks in 1993, so it’s off to Orange County to put another duck in the row.

The Huffy makes all the difference. It’s August 1957 and the Schwinn’s replacement is a 3-speed wonder of bicycle engineering that opens up the region like never before for a 10 year old. South to the beach, northwest to Lions Drag Strip, or northeast to Knotts Berry Farm….all in handy reach on lightly traveled roads of the day. We’re headed to Knott’s out
Carson Street
which becomes Lincoln when we hit Orange County, then up Western to the west side of Knott’s Berry Farm and park with the other bikes and walk on to Ghost Town.

The good stuff required money yet there was still plenty to do, but all that comes to mind now was to watch Aunt Nellie play the hammer dulcimer or talk to the guy in the jail. Available funds were spent on sarsaparilla in the saloon, the only known source of the real thing. The famous chicken dinner was $2.25 then and though that doesn’t seem like much today, a 20 cent hamburger from a stand along the way to Knott’s was the better deal for lawn mowin’ money.

We’re supposed to have free access to all of California’s state landmarks, that’s how it’s written up. However, over time the physical world around these 1100 or so sites evolve and sometimes we’re simply shut out, legally or not, and it is especially frustrating when an actual landmark exists. Mazeland School sits in a remote corner of the park as a well maintained pantomime caricature of its old self, accessed through the main entrance…meaning ‘ya gots ta pay’. A way around entrance fees that block what is supposed to be free access to state landmarks that works in most instances is to recite Office of Historic Preservation code stating the fact and you’re only here to view the landmark and will be off property in fifteen minutes. It helps to carry camera gear, hand held gps, a clipboard, and a laptop…enough stuff to look official and that you couldn’t possibly enjoy yourself. If must travel light then make sure the one thing you carry is a clipboard, and on it should be photos and information about the landmark you intend to see. Though these methods are nearly fail safe and have saved hundreds of dollars amortized over 900 landmarks with state and national parks and museums, etc., a theme park is a different animal and you’re going against the ‘A’ team in security terms. Good luck.

Plaque inscription: NO. 729 OLD MAIZELAND SCHOOL (RIVERA SCHOOL) - Constructed in 1868, this was the first school in the Rivera District. It was previously located on
Shugg Lane
, now
Slauson Avenue
Location: Knott's Berry Farm,
8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park
, Orange County
Google maps: 33.843375-118.000614

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