Tuesday, March 17, 2009

South-Central Streamline

It looks like someone left their tugboat sitting high and dry in the middle of a South-Central Los Angeles neighborhood, just south of Slauson  and Buckler.  I thought such a great architectural gem must be well documented, but Charles assured me most of South-Central was off the radar, and pretty much unknown.  Sure enough, he's right - I couldn't find much of anything.  What I did find was a great website (www.zillow.com), that gives you all kinds of great real estate info, and multiple aerial views of any address.  I'm not sure about it's coverage, but I found my house there.  It's a great way to see into your neighbor's backyard!

Zillow lists this property as a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home, 1211 square feet, and built in 1940.

Streamline Moderne is not too uncommon in L.A., but is a bit more rare in residential form.  I was also lucky enough to get to tour the fabulous home of songwriter, artist, and good friend of Charles', Allee Willis, in Valley Village.  I could have shot a million photos there, but didn't feel like intruding, and was just happy to get to experience the home.  Luckily, the L.A. Times had just published 19 photos of the home, and they can be found here: 

Be sure to check back later for more discoveries in South-Central, and the rest of L.A.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Driftyland Dairy-Port

Drifty the cow looks down from her sign at the corner of Lower Azuza Road and El Monte Avenue, a spot she's occupied since 1961.  The Driftwood Drive-Thru Dairy, originally called the Driftyland Dairy-Port, was built by Theodore Masterson, and designed by an unknown architect.  

A parabolilc arching canopy structure covers the buildings.  The outer curbs of the driveway are trimmed with custom made ceramic tiles featuring the face of "drifty" and a milk bottle.  The Jetsons-era sign, topped with a space needle catches the attention of passers-by.

The significance of the Driftwood was described in a California Historic Register nomination as follows:
The Driftyland Dairy-Port is emblematic of Southern California car culture from the early 1960s.  It is the only example of a drive-thru dairy in El Monte and one of the very few in Los Angeles County.  The Driftyland Dairy-Port embodies the distinguishing features of Spage Age style as applied to roadside architecture.  The eye-catching pole sign and parabolic arch-shaped canopy are its most distinctive and unique features.  the integrity of all three elements; the two stores, the canopy, and the pole sign are retained with no significant alterations apparent.

Although the dairy was nominated in late 2008, it still faces one major hurdle - the owners don't want their building on any historic register.  In a letter to the historic commission, Driftwood officials wrote "We will vigorously fight any effort to continue with the nomination process."  Preservation magazine recently reported the current owner, Marwit Capital, announced plans to build a new strip mall on the site.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Big Tamale

The Tamale, located at 6421 Whittier Blvd, in East Los Angeles.  Top photo from 2009, and the bottom photo is probably from the 1920's.  The caption to the historic photos simply states: "Lunch room specializing in hispanic foods in the shape of a tamale".  The top image is a drive-by photo shooting, under the watchful eye of the sidewalk sale attendant. 

Tiki Apartments

Tiki Apartments, Redondo Beach

This tiki-themed apartment complex is located at 389 Palos Verde Blvd, in Redondo Beach.  Built in 1959, it features lush jungle landscaping, a giant tiki next to the pool, and is covered in mosaic tile.  

Tiki-themed apartments are all over the L.A. area, but most that I saw have been stripped of their kitschy decorations.