Sunday, December 20, 2009

Have Yourself a Strip Mall Little Christmas

For your amusement, we have photos of Lincoln Avenue in 1971, courtesy of the Anaheim Public Library's History Room. These shots are Lincoln and Anaheim Blvd, and Lincoln and Lemon Street. No, our little Vons Center that now occupies the space is not an aesthetically pleasing substitute for the donwtown we once had. On the bright side, they do bother to decorate it, so we will take our victories where we find them.


Steve said...

Wow! How I wish we had that! And omg is that a bookstore!? It doesn't say borders on it! Amazing!

colony rabble said...

Isn't it heartbreaking? Here's the real kicker: Our tax dollars (they call it Redevelopment, but it came from us) paid for those buildings, and then paid to tear them down. We then paid to build the horrid Vons center in its place. And now that we see what a failed development that was, RDA is offering to pay the Watt family for the center, so we can pay to turn it into something else.

Steve said...

It makes me think that we would have the bustling downtown that Fullerton has now, seems like it would have grown into that naturally. I wonder if it was failing... or what the thinking behind the tear-down was. Ugh!

colony rabble said...

Oh honey, that is a LONG story. Downtown was not doing well, the Fox Theatre (anaheim had one too) had turned into adult films, things were bad. Nobody wanted to shop downtown, they all went to the "new" Broadway Plaza (now the Anaheim Plaza)and the shop owners could not maintain their aging buildings. Redevelopment came along and offered them big bucks for their shops, and they took the money in a flash. Some locals tried to save them, Anaheim Historical Society even put the entire downtown on the National Register. But the City Council was looking for shiny and new, and the bulldozers came in. My heartbreaks every time I look at those old photos. We would have mopped the floor with Fullerton, and all we have now is the CIM project. I will show you some old photos sometime.

Craig Sander said...

Please Cynthia.
If you had been old enough at the time, you would have been the one leading the charge for the destruction of that section of town. You appreciate it after the fact, but where were you when Disneyland was turning the area around the park into what THEY wanted it to look like? You support the "resort" district because it makes YOUR property value go up.
Anaheim has no identity now. And spare me the "oh but we have historic neighborhoods" line. EVERY city has its share of 100 year old houses.
Anaheim had something special, and now its gone

colony rabble said...

I am unsure of why you compare the destruction of our historic downtown to the revitaization of the Resort area, but I'll bite.

When downtown came down, I was in junior high-high school, and blissfully unaware of what was taking place miles from my little West Anaheim hovel. But I assure you, even at that tender age, I would have protested loudly against the destruction of the historic core of our City. Yes it was in decline, but it needed a steam cleaner, not a bulldozer.

As far as the Resort, again, I was uninvolved in local issues when the Resort District was formed, and to this day I am not sure how I would have reacted to the generic-fication of the area. While I do have respect for the mid-century styles, I think Googie has to be skillfully done, or it is simply tacky. And what was done in the resort area before it became "The Resort District" was just plain tacky. Chris Jepsen will never speak to me again, I know, but come on, how can anyone make a case for keeping the Magic Carpet Inn? Beyond some really cool signage, there was no merit to ticky-tacky motels full of drug dealers, and to compare the stucco boxes of the old resort to the Gladding McBean tiles of the old downtown is just silly. No way in Hell could we have listed that string of kitchy motels on the National Register, unlike our old downtown.

While I do vocally support the Resort (and I am a member of the Board of SOAR) I do not think my property values go up because of the Resort so much as my quality of life goes up by having The Mouse here. When other cities are struggling to avoid bankruptcy, Anaheim is struggling with a budget shortfall of $6million. While that is a lot more than I will find in my couch cushions, it is pocket change in comparison to what other communities are dealing with, and we are in that very positive position because of the Resort.

Would you like to clarify your point of contention?

Craig Sander said...

My point of contention was very clear.
YOU, my friend, speak with forked tongue. And I don't appreciate someone like that.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To insult the style of something...anything mid-century is closeminded. Narrowminded at best.
Victorian area architecture and art was looked down upon 60 some odd years ago as being gaudy and excessive.
The Magic Carpet Inn may make YOU sick to your stomach, but would you rather have a strip mall with bland red letters advertising each shop in a non-specific manner?
Nails... Carniceria... Insurance... WIC.
No thanks.
I love how the Magic Carpet, the Princess, the Candy Cane, the Musketeer, and the Stovall motels were no different than anything inside the park they supported, but people like you just can't stand to see something like that OUTside the park.

Downtown was rundown too by the early 70's. And the area around Disneyland could have used a scrubbing as well by the 80's. But instead it got a 20 dollar facelift.
You got what you paid for.

Keep up the fight for your property of life. Just don't do it behind the mask of "fighting to preserve historic Anaheim."

colony rabble said...

Wow. I have no idea who you are or what I did to incur your wrath, but perhaps someday we can discuss this without the animosity. For now we shall agree to disagree. I wish you a very Merry Christmas my friend.

Grant said...


I would be happy with ANY bookstore in Anaheim, even if it said Border on it. Can you name a single bookstore anywhere in the city? I was quite happy to read that one was coming to GardenWalk in the article Cynthia linked to today.

colony rabble said...

Amen to the Grant! We begged for on in the CIM project downtown, but were told "the demographics don't work". I think that is PC-speak for the belief that in a city of 350,000 people none of us read. Or perhaps none of us can afford books? Dunno, but I am sick of taking my money to Brea or fighting teeny boppers at The Block. I pledge to spend serious money at the new bookstore at GardenWalk when they open. My husband keeps telling me I cannot singlehandedly rescue Anaheim's economy, but I sure can have fun buying, I mean trying. I miss Book Baron...

colony rabble said...

I was going to let Craig's post go...but it rankles me. If I have said or done something untrue to my principles, I will own it and back off. But I am not laying down on this one. Mr. Sander, I have no idea who you are, and you clearly have no idea what my passions are, and you sure do not understand that I would never roll over on preservation of significant properties, even for my own selfish gain.

You can see my statements regarding mid-century treasures here on a link to a Huell Howser episode, at the Linbrook Bowl building that I then arranged to have "plaqued" by the Anaheim Historical Society.

Or here is link from Chris Jepsen's OCHistorical blog, referring to an article on my work in registering mid-century buildings in Anaheim:

"Architectural historian Cynthia Ward has a good article about residential preservation in the Summer issue of Atomic Ranch magazine. Atomic Ranch, by the way, is a great magazine for anyone who digs Mid-Century Modern architecture and design. You can get copies or subscriptions through their website, or buy single issues at Otto or Out Of Vogue, both of which are on the 100 block of E. Commonweath Ave in Fullerton."

So Mr. Sander, whomever you may be, do your homework before posting. And have a great day.

Craig Sander said...

Looks like I hit the target pretty close to the mark Cynthia.
The fact of the matter is, you yourself said, "I think Googie has to be skillfully done, or it is simply tacky."
Thats one woman's opinion.
One woman who supposedly has "passion" for long as its HER preservation.
So do you pick and choose what YOU deem suitable for your energies?
Who to say a brown brick building built in 1908 is somehow more worthy of saving than a stucco over brick building built in 1948?

Trust me, had Linbrook Bowl been across the street from Disneyland, you'd be in one of those pictures with your hardhat on acting like your driving the bulldozer.

I've done my homework on you Cynthia.
I've read plenty on your work and enough of your current ramblings.
Me? I'm just an average citizen who appreciates a fair and even hand in ALL things.
But I don't appreciate your loud self-serving voice in this community.

colony rabble said...

Actually Craig you missed the mark altogether.

“Who to say a brown brick building built in 1908 is somehow more worthy of saving than a stucco over brick building built in 1948?”

First of all, in large part the motels were stucco over wood frame and chicken wire, or simple painted cinderblock,and headed for the landfill due to their hasty construction and deferred maintenance.

Oddly enough Craig, the Secretary of the Interior has set a Standard for establishing that criteria, which makes it far beyond “one woman’s opinion”. The criteria for inclusion on the National Register are:

Properties are considered historically significant under the following criteria:

Criteria A: They are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.

Criteria B: They are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.

Criteria C: They embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or they represent the work of a master, or they possess high artistic values, or they represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individuality.

Criteria D: They have yielded or are likely to yield information important to prehistory or history.

Now the buildings in downtown Anaheim, which began this post, actually met several of those criteria, and had in fact been listed on the National Register prior to their demolition by the City’s Redevelopment Project Alpha. In comparison, while the motels in the old resort area were interesting for their signage, their architecture was not distinguished, and they were not listed as historically significant by any government agency, nor have I heard of any attempts by local non-profits or preservation groups to list the area as any type of “historic district”. I also find it odd that you blame me for their demolition, as the Resort District was created at a time when I was not involved in local politics, nor was I involved in historic preservation at the time. You will not find my signature on the demolition orders for any of the privately owned buildings that the owners (not the City, not Disney, the motel owners themselves) chose to demolish or dramatically remodel.

The one exception I will grant is the old Wonder Bowl building, which might have been eligible, had anyone chosen to attempt its listing. Again, I was not involved in preservation at the time, but I have not heard of anyone trying to list it. Do you have more information than I do on this? I am happy to hear what you have to say.

Since your attack on me for demolition of non-historic buildings that I was not involved with is out of the blue, and comes at a time when I have become involved in local issues, making some political enemies in the process, I can only assume that you trolled on over here with your own agenda. However, I am a fair person, and you may post your opinions here to your heart’s content. But I warn you, personal attacks are not permitted, against me or other guests of the site. So if you want to play in my sandbox, you had better come armed with FACTS, not your own guesses based on what you found about me on Google.

Now Craig, which of the Criteria for Inclusion on the National Register did the old resort area fit? And which non-profit or community group, or private owner attempted to list the resort motels as historically significant, only to be thwarted in their attempt by my evil greedy Disney friends? And how am I retroactively culpable for said actions?

By the way, you spell just like my friend Daniel, who despite years in college has never mastered the difference between your and you’re. Your profile also shows that you just created your online persona this month, possibly this day. So while you have “done your homework” on me, I have no idea who you might be, or why you seem to hate me, which makes it difficult for me to engage you. But I will try, if you would like to share relevant facts. Play nice.

Craig Sander said...

As you can obviously read, I did not "miss the mark altogether".
I was simply making a point: A boring brink building from 1908 is no more "historic" than a boring stucco building from 1948...or 1958.

But if you want to talk construction, the "hastily built" structures around Disneyland would survive an earthquake a hell of a lot better than those buildings in downtown Anaheim.

The Secretary of Interior's opinion is no better than yours (did I spell "YOURS" correctly Mrs. Ward?)
Opinions are like..well...I think you know the rest.

Someone in your position should be concerned about Anaheim's history, REGARDLESS whether or not you feel it is aesthetically pleasing or not.
And based on the criteria set by the Secretary of the Interior, I think anyone could make just about anyTHING fit those guidelines IF they wanted to.
IF there wasn't other driving forces at work.

I'm not blaming you specifically Cynthia. I'm blaming your type.

We could go on and on about my personal feelings about you and the things you say and the hypocrisy/double standard that I've observed, but it will only make you more upset, and I didn't come here to do that.

And no, I am not allied with some political enemy of yours. I could give a rat's you-know-what about your political interests.
Makes me think you must be a real popular person Cynthia.

Have a good New Year.

colony rabble said...

Well Craig, I am sure that the Secretary of the Interior's office would be amused to know that their Standards are merely an opinion that could be made to fit any building. I am equally as sure that if that were true, many developers would be jumping for joy at the ability to demolish anything they wanted to. Thankfully under CEQA we do now have something more than just flexible opinion, but you are welcome to hold that thought. I am not sure what point you are trying to make here, but this is an open blog, and you are weclome to post anything you want, as long as it is not personally abusive, which you have not been. So post away Mr. Sander, understanding that folks come here for fact, and unless you can bring that to the table, you are not going to engage anyone. But you are welcome here nonetheless. Have a good day.

Chris Jepsen said...

Run-down Downtown areas can be turned around if the community has the will. Both Orange and Fullerton (to name just the closest examples) certainly are much improved from their low ebbs.

Not every city has a core of historic homes left. Anahiem has some of the best in Orange County. (Want to come see what's left of the historic housing stock in Huntington Beach?) Anaheim has something special with multiple historical districts and a lot of wonderful neighborhoods.

Anyone who thinks preservationists are "in it for the money" or "just worried about their property value" has clearly never met actual preservationists. It's more like taking a vow of poverty and vowing to fight greed and evil. Most folks don't have the guts.

I can't count how many times I *wanted* to help someone save an attractive old structure but could not give them a legal leg to stand on under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. It's enormously frustrating. I know Cynthia has been in the same boat many times. The rules are the rules. I've always been extremely impressed with Cynthia's honesty and professionalism in the face of such temptation to fudge things. (Admit it! It's tempting!) On the other hand, she'll work her butt off and go to heroic effots to save something historic if it can be done legitimately.

There are a lot of wonderful, preservation-minded people in Anaheim who put their time, their fortunes and their passion where their mouths are. Still, I can't think of ANYONE who believes MORE strongly in preserving historic Anaheim than Cynthia Ward. She doesn't play favorites on period or architectural style, either.

Cynthia: Yes, I will still talk to you after your comments about Googie. Most of the motel buildings themselves were definitely not built to last. And only a few qualified as true Googie. But I still think Anaheim could have (and should have) saved some of the better signs -- even if they had to move them. They could have also salvaged a few architectural details here and there. (I still think the Satellite Mobile Home Park entry arch would look great as an entrance to the moonscape playground a Brookhurst Park.)

Craig: It's great that you're so interested in saving Googie and MCM. But I'm surprised that I've never run across you before. (Local history is a small pond, and we MCM folks are an even smaller bunch.) What preservation efforts or historical organizations have you been involved in?

Chris Jepsen