Saturday, March 31, 2007

Moneta Presbyterian Church

1842 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

This old photograph shows The Moneta (now Gardena) Presbyterian church. The church was built in 1922 and still stands as the Gardena Valley Church of Christ. The architecture is so simple, yet very beautiful. Thanks to Ben Taniguchi of Galvin Preservation for this picture.

This is what the building looks like today. As you can see, only small changes to the exterior are noticeable. The sign on the tower shows the "new" name of the church, and small support columns hold the overhangs by the doors. The building can use some TLC, but overall, it is very similar to the way it was 85 years ago.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Turn of the Century- Theodore Roosevelt

The Old Towne Mall, beginning in 1973, had a small wax museum featuring several scenes from history and entertainment. I posted this picture on my wax museum blog, but since Turn of the Century Wax Museum is part of Old Towne history, I though some people might want to see it here. Theodore Roosevelt was our 26th President, and served from 1901-1909. He assumed the presidency when Mckinley was assassinated. I like the big smile on the wax figure.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Angel Food Donuts

There's just something about buildings with giant donuts on them. This one, on Santa Fe in Long Beach, has a slightly smaller donut than The Big Donut Drive-in buildings. But that doesn't take anything away from its coolness. Many of the remaining donut shops also offer sandwiches and drinks, making them more desirable to the local consumer. The shop's full name is Mrs. Chapman's Angel Food Donuts, but I guess that is too long of a name to paint on the donut.

Another angle shows more detail of the building itself. It's very similar to the many other donut shops in the area built at the same time. This one was built in 1956.

This Angel Food Donuts is located at 3657 Santa Fe ave, directly on the corner of Sante Fe Ave and Cameron St.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Torrance Housing Woes

I usually blog photos of architecture and amusements that I like, but I thought I'd change it up a little for today's post. A few days ago I read an article in the Daily Breeze about how the city of Torrance is coping with the housing boom coming to an end. Of course, the end of this so called boom is seen by most as a very good thing for the city. Besides the obvious ugliness of the dense townhome developments, the city now has to now face the burdens put upon its public works, health, and safety departments. The article mentions how the extra population has caused a huge traffic problem for the city, as well as the deterioration of the roads by this traffic. Overall, the "boom" had just made the city too crowded. Luckily, the new Mayor cares more for the overall wellbeing of the city and not just the few extra bucks these housing projects bring. He even mentioned how the city needs more parks. Something I have thought for a long time.

Thi$ picture of a Torrance Town home i$ actually a mild example. Mo$t of the development$ feature no trace of a yard what$oever. No community pool for the resident$ (that would take up $pace for more unit$), and mo$t offer little gue$t parking. Visitor$, and even re$ident$ who have more than two car$ or choo$e not to park in their garage$, have to take up $pace in front of neighboring $ingle family home$. It $eem$ like every lot with a big yard wa$ $ubdivided into two, and even three parcel$. Torrance, however, is not the wor$t example. Redondo beach i$ becoming ju$t a horrible place to vi$it. Imagine vi$iting a friend and having to park two to three block$ away.

Anyway, my next post will be more cheerful.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Japanese Village and Deer Park

Today's focus is on yet another Southern California amusement park that I never had a chance to go to; The Japanese Village and Deer Park. Located just minutes from Movieland Wax Museum at 6122 Knott Ave in Buena Park, this Japanese culture sharing, and wild animal feeding park seemed to focus solely on family style fun. No roller coasters here, just shows, animals, great landscaping, and beautiful architecture. Consider it Busch Gardens Van Nuys Japanese style. Switch the beer with sake, and birds with deer, and you have the Japanese Village and Deer Park. Maybe it doesn't hold as much wonder to me as Busch Gardens or Marineland, but the Deer Park really seemed like a place that almost anyone could enjoy.

Visitors of all ages enjoy petting and feeding gentle Japanese Sika and Fallow deer.

I really like this shot. Petting zoos don't look like this anymore. I understand how shots like this are meant to create an ideal setting, and reality never meets expectations, but it must have actually been a really cool place.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sequoia Auto Theatre

Here is a shot of the old Sequoia Auto Theatre in Visalia California. This is another example of abandoned signage advertising a demolished structure. The arrow points to an empty field. I always have mixed emotions about abandoned structures and signs. It's their mysterious, lost nature that makes them so appealing, but these places are usually overlooked and under appreciated when around.

This blurry picture shows the sign from the other angle. Another website states that the storage shed at the base of the sign still houses marquee letters. See the pictures here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lomita Railroad Museum Locomotive

I thought I'd put up a couple shots from the Lomita Railroad Museum. The Engine here is number 1765, and is really cool to go in and explore. The locomotive is a true Southern California piece of history, as it was mainly used around this part of the state. Built in 1902, the engine was retired in 1958. The museum features several train cars as well. A couple of them, a boxcar and an oil tank, are across the street in a small park.

A reverse 3/4 view gives a better angle of the size of the train. The museum is hidden a a small neighborhood in Lomita.

Visit the Lomita Railroad Museum's website here.

Previous post on the museum


Friday, March 09, 2007

LAX Theme Building Closes

For a little while anyway. I was at work the other day when a coworker was watching television during her break. I heard the ABC7 anchor speak the line "Los Angeles Landmark has closed." Of course he didn't say which one it was, and I always get alarmed when I hear a teaser like that. Eventually they announced that it was the famous Theme Building at LAX. I was relieved to learned that it was only a temporary closure. Inside the 1961 structure is the ultra Retro/Modern restaurant "Encounter", which is now closed for several months. The reason is because a large chunk of stucco fell off one of the arches onto the roof of the building. It should take six months to complete the necessary repairs, and the restaurant may even open earlier.

The Theme Building is such a part of Los Angeles that even before I learned what had caused the problem, I knew they were going to fix it. The news report stated that in surveys about Los Angeles the Theme Building was second only to the Hollywood Bowl in recognizability. I pass the building often and I always remain in awe at the shear beauty of the structure.

View a little more information about the building here.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Old Towne Mall- Artisan Way

Watch the Artisans at Work

Artisan Way was a C shaped loop off of the main Old Towne lane. Here, over 40 shops of handcrafted merchandise featured everything from Greg Quayle's metal sculptures, to macramé and pottery. Local artist Kris Wallace also sold nature paintings at his booth. It was very unusual to find a section in a mall that specialized in home made arts and crafts. It gave many young artists an outlet to express and display their artistic visions.

I don't know much about Artisan Way other than what I just wrote. How long did this section of the mall last? I can't remember ever seeing it when I was a kid in the 80's. In 1982 the mall allowed discount retailers in. Perhaps that was the end of Artisan Way. Maybe I just didn't care so much for "art" back then and never paid attention to that part of the mall.

Visit Greg Quayle's website and see his wonderful Fleas here. (you can see a picture of him at Old Towne in 1973 in the "Meet the artists" page)

Visit kris Wallace's website here.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Movieland- Modern Love

Here's a nice and dark picture of silent film star turned talkie star Charley Chase waving to all the excited guests of Movieland Wax Museum. He's seen here in the 1929 motion picture Modern Love. Chase shares the set with the far more famous Buster Keaton, but the little amount of detail and time given to Charley doesn't seem to bother him much. He just keeps on waving and smiling.

A flash shot of Mr. Chase shows a little more detail than the precious picture (with all of its mood lighting) does.

His figure sure kinda looks like a rat. That was the first thing that stuck out to me.

Yes, Charley did star in many Hal Roach pictures. The Charley Chase figure sold at the Movieland auction for $650, more than $3000 less than the Buster Keaton figure did.

Find more information on Charley Chase here.

See more wax museum photographs at Houses of Wax here.