Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Pylon on the Hill

The Matterhorn is a classic Disneyland attraction; not only because it’s been around since 1959, but also because it’s one of the attractions you can see from the I-5 Freeway as you approach the Park. As a kid (and yes, even as an adult!), it gave me that joyous sense of anticipation. We’re almost there! Before the Matterhorn was built, what was there? A mound of dirt (which had been repurposed from the excavation needed for the Sleeping Beauty Castle and its moat) and an unsightly pylon for the Skyway. Dubbed “Holiday Hill,” “Lookout Mountain,” “Lovers’ Lane,” and then “Snow Hill” (in anticipation of the Matterhorn), this area provided a place for guests to relax and breathe a bit from the excitement of the park. In these undated 1957/1958 images, you can actually see (gasp!) a garden hose as a Park employee is watering the plants.

A shot taken from the Skyway bucket as it soars over the hill:

A rarely seen angle of the Castle as we zoom in:

A wonderful view of the hill as the Skyway bucket approaches the Tomorrowland Skyway Station:

Zooming in you can see the tip of the Tomorrowland Viewliner Station as well as a little tot attempting to get in the way of the Park employee who is watering the plants:

What a charming area; the wooden rails and paths would have made for a lovely getaway. Today, there would be souvenir stands and vendor carts strewn along the way.

See more Holiday/Snow Hill photos at my main website.


JG said...

Dave, this is a good post. Shows the details of the old Park very clearly.

The back of the castle pre-Alice is pretty striking. Could mistake that for an industrial warehouse, which it kind of is, I guess. I always enjoyed the glimpse of the castle roof, it felt so illicit to see "backstage". I always looked for burned spots on the roof since I thought the fireworks were launched from there.

And imagine, having some part of the Park that wasn't wall-to-wall sales opportunities, where you could go and sit quietly for a bit. I miss that.


Stu29573 said...

Great post today! I really had no idea that the area was themed at all. In fact, I kind of assumed it didn't even have paths (which, granted is pretty silly since I had heard stories about people going up there to "neck"). Anyway, thanks for the great views!

Fifthrider said...

Great observations above. I'm stuck on the last pic, the guy with the garden hose who isn't wearing a uniform. Was this a part of Disney's early "wear whatever you want" policy if you weren't a direct CM, or is that a guest enjoying the oft-forgotten "Water The Plants" attraction on top of the mound?

Daveland said...

Thanks all! Bryan - the non-uniform is kind of baffling, unless maybe there was an outside landscaping firm that was helping these plants get started? I can't imagine a guest bringing a water hose! Ha!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Great images, as always, Dave! I LOVE seeing that gardener in action. In that last close-up shot, if it was by itself, you would never guess it was taken in Disneyland.

Bu said...

Great photos. I've never seen the dirt pile from these angles! The non-costumed employee and the hose doesn't surprise me a bit. There are a lot of myths about the "purity" of the onstage experience, but things were much looser back then despite what we hear these days. I do agree that It was probably was an outside service- I'm sure there were a lot back then when they were figuring things out.