A one-of-a-kind Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad engineer’s cap, presented by Walt Disney to then-California Governor Goodwin Knight, and worn by Knight on Disneyland’s Opening Day on July 17, 1955. Cap was worn by Knight on the inaugural run of the E. P. Ripley train at Disneyland. Fitted striped engineer’s cap bears a 3.5? diameter Santa Fe & Disneyland patch on the front, and is accompanied by a 4 x 5 photo of Knight and Disney on the E. P. Ripley on opening day, with Knight wearing the cap, and also an 8 x 10 photo and Governor’s card, each signed by Knight. The hat is in fine condition, with expected light wear.
On Sunday, July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its gates with an official dedication ceremony attended by 25,000 invited guests and witnessed across the nation by hundreds of thousands more. The event was televised by ABC, beginning as the E. P. Ripley train made its first official trip along the Santa Fe Disneyland Railroad tracks, previewing the five main areas of the park and ending at Fantasyland where all the characters stood in wait. Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, and California Governor Goodwin Knight led the show as the train’s engineers, and were accompanied by Fred Gurley, president of the actual Santa Fe Railroad. Smiling ear-to-ear and wearing this hat, which matches his companions’, Knight stood by Disney’s side as he offered his first words of welcome to the audience. In his speech shortly following the train ride, Knight described Disneyland as “a wondrous community with all the charm of the old world and all of the progress and ingenuity of the new world.” The E. P. Ripley captured both, carrying several hundred passengers at a time on a six-minute ride around the 60-acre park, offering a quaint view of all it had to offer. It was an instant favorite among all who visited at the parks inception, and remains a favorite today. The hat has been on display at the Disney Museum in Disneyland and until it came to RR Auction, had never before been on the market. Boyish and whimsical, sitting upon the head of the Governor of California, it truly captures the spirit of Disneyland—for children of all ages.