Skip to Main Content

Knott's Berry Farm

Skip to Next Section

Meet Knott's Most Legendary Creature: Catawampus

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is home to world-class rides, thrilling roller coasters, shows & attractions in 4 themed areas including Old West Ghost Town and Camp Snoopy.

Walter Knott's Catawampus has quite a history! But sadly, no official birthday as no one felt to write it down in the late 1930s. Surely the folks who brought the Catawampus to Knott's never would have expected the critter to remain on the Farm as long as he (she?) has.

 

 

The Catawampus was born in the late 1930s and found itself in a corral near the Knott volcano. The wooden creature (made of a branch, a scrub brush, and a set of ram horns) was one of the amusements Walter Knott invented to interest guests coming to Knott's Berry Place to sample Cordelia's fried chicken dinner. Along with George Washington's fireplace, the old mill wheel, phosphorescent rocks, and an orchid grotto, the Catawampus was among the simple, amusing vignettes that Walter used to keep people occupied as they waited hours for their dinner service.

 

 

Ghost Town filled its role in 1941 when it debuted, and the Catawampus found a new spot at the very back corner of Main Street near a corral of scrap wood. His sign read, "Of the vast herds of Catawampus which centuries ago roamed the western plains, this is the only one left. According to Prof. Ananias, when this Catawampus is gone, the species will be extinct." With a nearby bucket of water and trough of hay, the Catawampus survived longer than the good professor could have ever dreamed.

 

 

The critter lasted so long, in fact, that there were a few (ahem) surgeries and repairs along the way. Wood doesn't last forever, and bits and pieces of the Catawampus came and went with time. Pictures across the decades show its wild evolution. By 1964, a little help came along in the form of wood artist Forrest Morrow who brought a talent for tree sculptures to the East side of Beach Boulevard and the ticketed playground known as Jungle Island. While Morrow maintained and grew his own cadre of Woodimals near the Knott Lagoon, he also took care of Walter Knott's little, antique Catawampus in Ghost Town.

 

 

The contented Catawampus outlived Morrow and then outlived Jungle Island when it closed in 1983, but the ol' Caty remained stalwart at the foot of Main Street near the Livery barn where it remains today. Look for the happy Catawampus under the windmill at the Livery barn. Perhaps you'll see a little surprise in the corral, the Kittywampus, a recent and inexplicable Caty offspring! But don't walk on too quickly. Stay awhile and listen as the Catawampus sometimes has a word or two to share with a patient visitor. And ten times out of ten, that word is... most certainly... Moo. 

 

 

Special thanks to Eric Lynxwiler and the Orange County Archives for the story and photos

Share This

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is home to world-class rides, thrilling roller coasters, shows & attractions in 4 themed areas including Old West Ghost Town and Camp Snoopy.

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Choose Your Favorite Knott's Rides

Choose Your Favorite Knott's Rides, but there's a twist! Assuming you only have $15 dollars in your pocket, which of the rides below would you pick?
Read More

Knott's History Quiz

Read More

How to Plant a Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry Plant

All boysenberry plants in the world can trace their roots back to Knott's Berry Farm and now you can purchase your own boysenberry plan to grow at home. Here are some helpful tips on how to plant and grow your boysenberry plant.
Read More

Knott's Berry Farm Cookbook Recipe - Butterfield Stage Spare Ribs

Get a sneak peek of the new Knott's Berry Farm Cookbook with Laura Brubaker and Wilf Seymour
Read More

Knott's Bingo Cards

Share all the FUN you've had at Knott's! Download these Bingo cards to see what you have done at the park, including rides, food and historic attractions.
Read More

Knott's Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Are you looking for some more fun activities to do at home? We created a virtual scavenger hunt about all things Knott’s. You can learn some new, interesting facts about the park, our hotel, and water park.
Read More

Knott's Themed Movie Night

Are you currently searching for something new to watch? Don’t worry we have you covered.
Read More

Knott's Berry Farm Cookbook Recipe - Cornbread Muffins

Get a sneak peak of the new Knott's Berry Farm Cookbook with Laura Brubaker and Wilf Seymour
Read More

Match the Knott's Rides Game

Looking for a game to play with your family at home? Do you love Knott’s rides? We have the perfect match for you. The Match the Knott’s Berry Farm Rides Game! This downloadable printable activity has you racing against the clock to pair your favorite Knott’s rides.
Read More

A Look Back at the History of Roller Coasters at Knott’s 

Calling all thrillseekers! Can you name every roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm? How about every roller coaster Knott's has ever had? Now's the chance to brush up on your coaster history with this look back at the history of roller coasters at Knott's.
Read More