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