This collection of news chum has coalesced around the theme of Los Angeles — in particular, some well-known (or somewhat well-known) Los Angeles landmarks that are either gone or seemingly threatened… or coming back in different incarnations.
- The Lucy / Desi Ranch. Lucille Ball and Desilu have been in the news of late due to the anniversary of Star Trek, which owes its existence to the comedic redhead. If you’ve read up on Lucy’s history, you’ll know that she and Desi had a ranch in Chatsworth, along Devonshire St. somewhere between Topanga Canyon and Reseda. I had always thought it was the ranch at the end of Winnetka, but this real interesting research piece locates it conclusively. It was just W of the corner of Corbin and Devonshire, on the S side, and is now roughly where Tuba St is (although the original ranch house was demolished in the 1970s when that area was developed).
- Amoeba Records – Hollywood. Rumors began to circulate this week about the possible destruction and redevelopment of Amoeba Records in Hollywood, based on a rendering for a 20-story mixed used building on the site. By the end of the week, the furor had calmed down a little, thanks to reports that Amoeba will be staying…. for now. “We’re going to remain in our building for the duration of our lease — which is several years — and Amoeba and the building owner are open to us potentially staying longer,” the indie retail giant posted Monday evening on Twitter. Well that’s encouraging. For now.
- Dutch Chocolate. The famous Dutch Chocolate building is up for sale. The building is rundown now, but once held on its ground floor the Dutch Chocolate Shop, a city landmark decorated top to bottom with elaborate tiles crafted by renowned Pasadena artist Ernest Batchelder. It’s considered by many experts to be the tilemaker’s most important commission. Renovating the building will be expensive, as it requires adding an exit. Let’s hope the tiles get saved and can once again be on view.
- LAX. LAX is dirty and crowded, and clogged with traffic. That may change with a new plan being developed that will remove a lot of the buses and increase mass transit access. Renderings of the “new” LAX have just been released, and it will be interesting to see if they become reality. Some parts of historical LAX will remain, such as the theme building, and of course, the tiled tunnels.
- The Sports Arena. The concrete hulk that once housed numerous sports teams and the 1960 Democratic Convention is becoming an ex-building. You can watch its destruction in real time. It is being replaced by a new arena for the LA Football Club, a soccer team.
- Twains. Out in the valley, a wonderful Googie-style restaurant has been reborn. What was once Twain’s (and possibly Denny’s before that) has been remodeled into a Sharkey’s, and the designers have preserved many of the 1950s details.
- The Penguin. Out in Santa Monica, another former 1950s diner is rumored to be getting a rebirth. What was once the Penguin restaurant at Lincoln and I-10… what had become a credit dentist… is rumored to be becoming a Mel’s Drive In. This is really nice — both for the history and because Mel’s is a great restaurant.