Friday, December 29, 2006

La Habra Circle

La Habra Circle, La Habra, CA

This is a bad picture. It's taken from the driver's seat on my car while traveling east on Beach Blvd. So I'm on the opposite side of the street. It bothers me that I forgot that these two sets of signs existed. I literally lived for 9 years in an apartment about a mile away from this shopping center, and my step-father was a shift lead at that Blockbuster for a while. I was driving up Beach Blvd. from Whittier Blvd., determined to photograph Googie gold, when I did a double-take and noticed this lovely sign.

So, I snapped a photo (my memory card was begging me to save room on it for photos in Whittier), and although it's not the best quality, it gets the point across. A great, great sign in one of the last old shopping centers off La Habra Blvd.

La Habra Circle
1900 block, W. La Habra Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

La Habra Car Wash

La Habra Car Wash, La Habra, CA.

In the top photo, the sign looks bad but you can see that beautiful row of steel pylons jutting up into the sky. Each pylon is matched with a palm tree. This car wash really announces itself, and I remember that I used to love to drive past it as a little kid. This Googie fascination started early!

In the second photo, you can see that twirling sign a little bit better. Unfortunately, I don't think it spins any more. At least, when I was there it wasn't.

La Habra 100% Hand Car Wash
1801 W Whittier Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

White Automotive

White Automotive, La Habra, CA.

What a boomerang! It's been a while since I've seen one like that! Love the font on "white"-- really retro and hip. So many different shapes on this sign!

White Automotive
250 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hyland Motel

Hyland Motel, La Habra, CA.

A run-down motel across the street from the La Habra 300 Bowl. Day Sleepers Welcome. Looks like it used to have a swimming pool (but they've rubbed that bit of information right off of the streetside neon sign)

Hyland Motel
301 E Whittier Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631
(562) 694-1071

Friday, December 01, 2006

La Habra 300 Bowl

La Habra 300 Bowl, La Habra, CA.

Ah! Ah! What is there to say?! It's beautiful. The sign. That starburst! The neon! Oh, those A-frames! Those pylons with the big holes punched out! That coffee shop, almost perfectly preserved! Why, I'm in Googie heaven!

I think the reason I'm so obsessed with Googie is cause I grew up right off the street from all this stuff. Born and raised in La Habra, nestled in a crummy apartment off Idaho, between Lambert & Whittier Blvd, I have the unique perspective of being raised in the Space Age-- in the '80's! I'm going to be spending the next couple weeks covering Whittier Blvd, from it's residential beginnings in Brea to it's big time boulevard status in Norwalk. I know, I'm gonna dabble in LA County, but there's too much good stuff just to not post it 'cause it's in Los Angeles!

Stay tuned, kids. Some of the best examples of Orange County Googie are off of Whittier Blvd. in La Habra, and I don't intend to let you miss a bit of it!

La Habra 300 Bowl
370 E Whittier Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631

Friday, November 24, 2006


Coco's, Garden Grove, CA.

Designed by the Googie architects Armet & Davis, this Coco's sits nestled on the corner of Chapman and Harbor Blvd. minding its own business. Little has changed about the exterior of this building since it opened as the first Bob's Big Boy designed by the legendary architects in 1957. Those concrete pillars holding up that beautiful sloping roof used to be covered in flagcrete, but considering the preservation apparent in the rest of the bulding, its removal can be forgiven. Those jutting pylons still shoot out of the sign, announcing yet a another greasy spoon off the road.

Unfortunately there's nothing left of the original interior (I doubt it was "Coco's" enough), so I stuck to the outside. At least there's something left of this building's history, unlike the Coco's right up the street on Katella and West, which used to be a glorious Sambo's on the lot of Stovall's Space Age Inn-- there's nothing left of this Googie landmark but the basic foundation. It's a regular ol' modern-day diner. So much for preservation.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Huff's Coffee Shop

Huff's Coffee Shop, Long Beach, CA

The sign doesn't turn anymore, half of the neon is burnt out, there's rust and dirt and grime. Yet, it's another Googie coffee shop sign. The side of the building was built up with volcano rock, which was amazing, but my camera's battery died and I didn't get a chance to snap it.

Huff's is "technically" in Long Beach, but since it's right across the street from Los Alamitos High School, I figured that it was close enough to count as Orange County.

Huff's Coffee Shop
8105 E. Wardlow Rd.
Long Beach, CA 90808

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Tower of Hope

Tower of Hope, Drive-In Church, Garden Grove, CA.

Another mid-century modern masterpiece, (which seems to be my focus more and more lately), Richard Neutra's Tower of Hope and Drive-In Church at Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral has some of the foundations of Googie architecture-- The melding of technology and the natural world, long flat buildings, wide windows, and soaring towers. A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra probably would have been offended at the thought that his building could be considered Googie in the slightest.

A contemporary of Eames, as well as a co-architect on the Case Study House project, Neutra worked on several Modern masterpieces from the 1930's through the 1960's. In fact, my ex-boyfriend's aunt owned the Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, and filled it with Eames furniture (DCW chairs and Lounge Chairs and Ottomans), and it's unfortunate that I never pushed him to take me when I knew him (Trust me, there's no chance of going now).

The Crystal Cathedral is relatively open to visitors--with it being so large, it's easy to wander the grounds and take pictures without anyone asking questions-- and I recommend going to visit the church site yourself. (I'd love to go back and climb the beautiful staircase)

Crystal Cathedral
12141 Lewis St
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Eames Case Study House (#8)

The Eames House, Case Study House #8, Pacific Palisades, CA.

A little trip outside of Orange County for something really special. These designers created a world of geometry and science in art which planted the seeds for Googie. The Eames' are my everything, and it was something magical to visit their home and studio in Pacific Palisades. Please enjoy.

The Eames house was built in 1949 in about three days, by hand, with off-the-shelf steel parts. Originally designed in 1946 with Eero Saarinen, the layout was rearranged to accomodate the beautiful meadow that the real estate contained. The house was instead nestled in the corner within the meadow. The Eames' occupied the house until their deaths.

Having watched all the Eames' films available on dvd, I was wowed to see little details inside the house that I had seen in House: After 5 Years of Living and other Eames' films. I would have taken photos, but it was asked that I only take photos of the exterior (although you can see the beautiful staircase in one of the photos, through the open doorway).

The Eames' House is open year-round for exterior-only tours, although the curtains and doors are open to be able to look inside. The home is still filled with Eames furniture, from the fiberglass molded chairs to the lounge chair.

I even convinced my boyfriend how great the Eames are. He's dying for an armchair, trying to get me to buy one for him-- sure, when I have a spare $5000! (Herman Miller still manufactures them).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ye Barber

Ye Barber, Anaheim, CA.

Same shopping center as the La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, a great old sign. According to Roadside Peek [link], the sign was brought over by the owners from Vietnam when they moved to Anaheim.

Ye Barbers
930 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chappy's Liquor

Chappy's Liquor, Anaheim, CA.

Right next to "Tomy's Drive-In" on Chapman, another great sign for a liquor store.

Chappy's Liquor
9682 Chapman Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92841

Monday, October 16, 2006

Satellite Center

Satellite Center, Anaheim, CA.

Although nowdays it's the standard for Googie architecture to be removed for the "greater good" of the community and "progress," sometimes there sign regulations can manifest a snarky little jibe at the city council, too. Case-in-point, the Satellite Market in Anaheim. Located right off the 5 freeway at Katella, the glowing metal sputnik that used to grace the top of their sign was claimed by progress in 1999, when the city began revamping the Anaheim Resort area to prepare for all the revenue that Disney's now-failed California Adventure park would pull in, and also for widening of the I-5 freeway.

But, the clever shop owners at the Satellite couldn't just let their beloved sputnik be dismantled completely. Instead, they threw a big "F you!" to the establishment, putting a vector-based image of the same sign on their new, city-mandated sign, identical in shape and size to every other sign on the street.

The sign was apparently saved by a fan and was stored in a backyard in Pasadena, according to [link] The American Sign Museum in Ohio now has the Satellite sign as a part of its permanent collection. [link]

An homage to the Satellite Shopland's sputnik of the past:

In a way, Googie's shopowners can preserve a shell on their history. At Satellite Shopland, still a good old-fashioned market, they have done just that.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

South Side Market

South Side Market, Orange, CA.

I drive past this place at least four days a week, since I go to school at Chapman University. Noticed earlier this week that the $0.99 video rental sign was scrubbed off the windows, and pulled up earlier this week to snap a picture of the sign, just in case...

Turns out that I might have had a good idea. Things maybe aren't lookin' so good for South Side Market.

South Side Market
391 S Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Monday, October 02, 2006

Chris & Pitts BAR-B-Q

Chris & Pitts BAR-B-Q, Anaheim, CA.

That sign sparkled with a million tiny lights when I drove past it. At 2 in the afternoon. Love the font on the "cocktails" parts of the sign-- reminds me of my favorite kinds of motels. Building's not so exciting, but it has a fun sign too.

Chris & Pitts of Anaheim
601 N Euclid St
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 635-2601

Thursday, September 28, 2006

La Palma Chicken Pie Shop

La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, Anaheim, CA.

That plate of food might look a little unappetizing, but I assure you, it was the best chicken pot pie I've ever eaten in my life. I licked my plate clean. For $6.20, I got a salad, a cup of delicious chicken noodle soup, that pot pie with mashed potatoes, and a slice of boysenberry pie. Not only did I leave stuffed and satisfied, delighted by a waitress who called me "dear" and other charming colloquialisms, but I got a couple beautiful snapshops of some gorgeous Googie signage. There was a giant iron piece of the chicken on the street sign mounted on a wall inside, but it seemed a little rude of me to just start snapping photos. Everyone was cordial, despite my wild appearance (I hardly fit in with the mostly-senior crowd), and I must reiterate the deliciousness of the food.

Stop by this place for a great deal, great food, warm service, and a full belly.

It's posts like these that make me want to become a food blogger too!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Seventh Day Adventist Church, Orange, CA.

The whole building is made out of flagcrete. They have an outdoor courtyard filled with desert sand and stonework and desert plants. Low-lying roofs with flat overhangs held up by minimal metal beams. Oh, and that courtyard? It's in-between two magnificent A-frame roofs! The whole thing is incredible. Not sure when it was built. I was invited by a parishioner to speak with the pastor, but it all seemed a little eerie at 5 pm on a Tuesday, so I backed out and climbed back into my car. But what a fun-looking church!

Orange Seventh-Day Adventist Church
1310 E Walnut Ave
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 538-1809