Monday, November 14, 2011

The Grand Canyon comes to Anaheim

This vintage photo from March 31, 1958, shows the opening ceremony for the Grand Canyon Diorama. Walt Disney and Santa Fe Railroad chairman Fred Gurley are shown presiding over the festivities held at the tunnel entrance located near the Tomorrowland station. A 96-year-old Hopi Indian chief, Chief Nevangnewa, blessed the trains on the diorama’s opening day; if the guy in white on the left of this photo is Chief Nevangnewa, he looks pretty good for 96!

Walt sure looks happy as the little Indian boy appears to be making marks in the dirt. Gurley looks a little stiff; maybe not the best dinner guest you'd want to invite over for your next party.

As the first train approaches the tunnel, the little Indian boy is left behind to wave. What a bummer. I came to Disneyland and all I got was this stupid stick.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Grand Canyon Diorama photos on my Grand Canyon Diorama web page.


Thufer said...

That's really neat, I had seen the top picture of course over the years but this is the first time I have ever seen the picture of the little Indian boy waving to the train with his stick.
Thanks Dave; yet another snap shot of history in Walt's little playground.

The Viewliner Limited said...

Great pics Dave. The little Indian Boy was the mascot of the Santa Fe Railway. His name is Chico. You can see the artist drawing of him in the icon I use on my blog.

Davelandweb said...

Thanks Viewliner - count me in for the Chico Fan Club! I wonder what happened to him?

Major Pepperidge said...

The diorama is one of my favorite things at Disneyland, and always has been. I want the train to slow down, because it all goes by too fast.

Tilly said...

Look at what is missing in the pictures! The station is pushed back I guess. Dirt and trees (there is a bunch of trees on the left of the train today). Indians in tomorrowland. People that are not standing behind the station gate. The tunnel is still there though.

The dinosaur diorama is the longest diorama in the world at 306 feet! I learned that from emailing to

Connie Moreno said...

These are GREAT!!!!