Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Inspiration for The Columbia

The publicity blurb on the back is dated April 6, 1958:

The “Columbia,” a three-masted fully rigged sailing vessel and a historic replica of the first American ship to sail around the world, will be launched on Disneyland’s frontier river early in June. The 93-foot long vessel will carry 300 passengers. The area below the main deck will be turned into a display and exhibit of United States maritime history at a later date.

And the final product:

The Old Gal is still a popular attraction today, taking guests around The Rivers of America:

Here’s one of the freaker exhibits from the exhibit mentioned in the article:

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Columbia photos at my regular website.


Katella Gate said...

I've often wondered how closely Disneyland's Columbia resembled the original. For a lot of these old ships, the plans are long gone (if any really existed) and all you have to go on is a generic painting of the period.

CoxPilot said...

The Sailing Ship Columbia is a FULL scale replica of the first American ship to sail around the world in 1787. It has 10 guns, three masts, and is 84 feet tall, just like the original.

stu29573 said...

Of course the actual plans came from a "cousin" of the Columbia, The Bounty.

JG said...

I often wondered why this ship was included in Disneyland.

I remember seeing the display below, with Thurl Ravenscroft's voice in the soundtrack. Maybe this tidbit was part of that display, but if so, I've long forgotten it.

Makes sense to have two ships on the river, refit one while the other works, run both on big days, etc.

They seem to get their mileage from the Columbia with the Peter Pan and Pirate shows, so that's good.

Riding the Columbia was a treat, it didn't seem to run as often as MT. Was there a mechanical issue, or carrying capacity?

Thank you Dave.


Katella Gate said...

@JG: I understand the Columbia was introduced to cover for the Mark Twain when she was down for overhaul, and help out on peak attendance days.

I am sure the reason the M Twain is run in preference to the Columbia is mostly capacity. A secondary reason is probably is that sailing ships are natural trip and fall hazards. Plus you have that portable staircase for getting on and off Columbia, so there are Disability Access issues as well.

JG said...

Ha, it's been so long since I've been on board that I had forgotten those aspects. The access to MT is pretty simple.

It's sad in a way that my life has come down to the determination of potential slip and trip liabilities of the places I visit.

Law has destroyed design.