Many people say that LA has no history, but here are some recent articles touching upon LA history:
- Saved from the Wrecking Ball. If you have ever driven down the 5 freeway past Sun Valley (excuse me, 5 past Sun Valley), you’ve seen a set of golden arches in an automobile wrecking yard (and no, they aren’t the golden arches you are thinking of). These golden arches once stood above the car wash and Tiny Naylor’s coffee shop on Laurel Canyon at Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, and look roughly like a trio of gigantic boomerangs. They were built in the early 1960s, and may have been inspired by the “boomerangs” that adorn the Cathedral of Brasilia, designed by Futurist architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1958. They rose 86 feet from ground level through the roof of the car wash and were originally painted white. After the car wash was torn down, they were moved to the Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking (FB) yard. Today, it was announced that the Aadlen Brothers yard is closing. The final day for the 53-year old, 26-acre yard in Sun Valley is New Year’s Eve, and there will be a big sale beforehand. Some pieces, however, are not for sale: they have been donated to the Valley Relics Museum. This includes an early 1930s Helms Bakery twin-coach, an amazing mid-century car that has been modified to look like a shoe, and the aforementioned arches. As I drive to the Colony Theatre in 2016, I’ll miss seeing those arches…
- A Different Type of Shipping. If you went to UCLA in the 1980s or before, you’ll remember a little restaurant on Westwood Blvd called Ships. Ships Coffee Shop (FB) was open 24 hours (great for students), had wonderful breakfasts, and had a toaster on every table. There was one in Westwood, one in Culver City and one in West LA. Alison Martino, of Vintage Los Angeles, has a wonderful remembrance of Ships in Los Angeles Magazine. Ships was a model for Googie architecture. The first two Ships (run by Emmett Shipman) (Culver City and Westwood) were designed by Architect Martin Stern, Jr.; the third Ships at La Cienega and Olympic was designed by the architecture firm Armet & Davis. Armet and Davis also designed… you guessed it… the arches just saved at Aadlen Brothers.
- A True Ghost Town. I grew up in Westchester, a bedroom suburb just outside of the LA International Airport (LAX). When Westchester started, the airport was nothing. But soon the jets came, and soon the jet noise came — 707s and 727s were noisy. This led to the death of a number of communities: the portion of Westchester S of 92nd Street (we lived on 90th), and the community of Surfridge, on the bluffs you fly over when you take off from LA. I had numerous friends that lived in Surfridge when I was young (among them, Paul Jones, the brother of Anissa Jones from Family Affair). All those families were bought out and relocated by the airport. Luckily, Tres Bohemes has a wonderful look back at Surfridge, and the elite that once lived there, in the days before the Airport and the El Segundo Blue Butterfly. (…tying things back to the Googie theme, Westchester was also the home of the Loyola Theatre which had a wonderful neon sign out front, and the famous Googie Panns Coffee Shop, which is still there and operating)
- Three Scoops for 15¢. If you grew up in Los Angeles, you remember Thrifty Drug Store, and you probably remember them for their ice cream, which was (for the longest time) 1 scoop for 5¢. I particularly enjoyed their chocolate chip and rocky road. All that is left of Thrifty is their ice cream brand, which was preserved by Rite Aid when they bought Thrifty in 1996. (coincidentally, the same year that the last Ships closed). Today, news came out that Walgreens is buying Rite-Aid, and the question on every Angelino’s lips was… what will happen to Thrifty ice cream. For now, it’s safe: Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said Rite Aid products will be available while the drugstore continues to initially operate under its own name and that other decisions on product lines will be made later. Evidently, the question has social media (especially Twitter) in an uproar. (… and, to tie things back to Ships and Aadlen, the Thrifty at La Brea and Rodeo in Baldwin Hills had a 52′ Trilon (which is still standing), similar to the car wash arches)