Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frontier Motel, Anaheim, CA

Today we pay a brief visit to the Frontier Motel at 933 Harbor Blvd in Anaheim. The Frontier has been in operation since the late 50's, and retains a touch of its former livery even though the Old West in these parts has been largely tamed.

Located just over the Interstate 5 overpass from Disneyland, the Frontier is also close to the Anaheim Convention Center and Angel Stadium. As was typical in motel advertising then (and now), other places of interest within 30-45 miles are named such as Marineland, Hollywood and Knott's:

As first conceived, the Frontier featured an open-range pool that was convenient for drive or drop-ins, as well as some good humored joking among the younger set when one party received an undesired shove towards the cool blue waters.

Here's our peak into the past courtesy of a vintage postcard:

And here's the Frontier as we know and love it today:

Progress is progress as they say, and one of the sure signs of progress is the widening of roads to handle ever increasing vehicular traffic. Harbor Blvd was widened recently and some of the Frontier grounds had to be laid upon the altar of the automobile.

Here's all that's left of the former (heated) wading pool:

The rest of the pool is intact and looks fairly clean & clear, and the surrounding palms are much bigger now. The only thing missing are the guests splashing around and carrying on...

As I mentioned, some of the Western livery on the Old Frontier remains...

Bars have been added to the windows so that the Office can double as a jail for desperados, and you'll also note the survival of the 'Frontier' roof trim:

Actually, the roof trim looks kinda Swiss to me...But maybe the settlers who founded this place were from there?

Lastly, the Anaheim/Santa Barbara Resort-No really it's a great idea, just tile everything and make it mission-y-Conforming sign retains some of the Cowboy feel found on the original:

Well Pardner, that's about it.

Let's always be thankful to those hardy lodging industry pioneers who paved the way for us way back when, for without them we'd still be spending the night in our Town & Country station wagons and would not have the benefit of Single or Family Units, Kitchens or Free TV (not to mention thermostatically controlled heat).

Take care until next time...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bowling, Food & Motels - Ala La Habra, CA

Lest November pass without a post, I offer you a quick trip down to Southern California to check out a short stretch of Whittier Boulevard in La Habra.

Let's begin with a quick game of ten-pins at La Habra 300 Bowl. Here’s the Great Sign beckoning the community at large to pause for recreation:

The obligatory attached coffee shop (w/boomerang roofline of course):

After bowling, we’ll want to visit the 13th frame for some refreshment:

Inside the lounge, the interior is typically dark and relaxing…

Now, let’s have dinner at the charming little Chicken Box. I hear they have excellent broasted chicken:

After all that food, I’m tired…So let’s pick a place to bed down for the night. It’s either the La Habra Motel…

Or the trusty old Hyland:

How long has the Hyland been around you ask?

Well…Long enough to have a pre-Kodachrome postcard:

My apologies (as usual) for the infrequent posts.
Take care!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

South Lake Tahoe/Stateline CA - Part 2

As autumn approaches, recalling the leisure times of the summer just past (or one of its elder cousins), can cheer the soul of those who like to live in the realm of Vacationland whenever possible.

Now, as the trees on my street begin to boast a golden hue, let’s slip back into summer mode and return to the highway for a second excursion over the Sierra’s and into the scenic Lake Tahoe basin for some much needed R&R…

First stop: The Ponderosa Motel

These happy visitors are enjoying some sunny afternoon time by the unfenced pool. What a great place to catch some rays and contemplate anything-but-work!

40 years on, the Ponderosa is now the Alpine Inn & Spa. The pool has gained a fence along the way and that ugly box thing by poolside is the 'Spa' referred to in the new name. Not much was shaking during my early morning visit.

No problem finding the exact spot of the earlier 'then' shot on this one... Once I climbed the stairs to a certain small second floor balcony area, I knew I'd struck paydirt.

A man named Hoyt was good enough to let us know that he and Betty were doing "...well as can be expected." during their cold, October 1969 visit. Betty had to take some kind of pills (Ludian?) to get right, but things were good " far." I sure hope things turned out well for the both of them...

The small detail shot is worth a quick comparison:

The Monte Carlo once brought a bit of the Riviera to California:

But many of today's Xtreme crowd couldn't find that place on a map, so a new concept in motel lodging was needed. Now, after spending the day shredding on their snowboards or punishing the trails on mountain bikes, they can return to 'The Block', a place that caters to those who enjoy such 'sick' pursuits.

How would you like to see Augie & Margo at Harrah's in the mid 1960's? It looks like they were opening up for Harry Belafonte, who probably sang 'Banana Boat Song' to tipsy but well dressed patrons:

A little farther up Highway 50 on the California side, but you get the idea:

Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino (to the left) was at the epicenter of an odd, bombing-extortion plot in the Summer of 1980. A six-ton, chock-full-o'-dynamite bomb was detonated inside the main tower in late August of that year; here is a clip of the explosion.

I can recall watching the live coverage on local Channel 3. Having seen the Harvey's Casino many times during our yearly visits, watching 'live' as the bomb was set off by the demolition team was curious viewing to be sure.

Getting back to the motels; do we find ourselves in Southern Cal?

Here we are at Malibu...Motel that is...I like those finned beauties parked to the right:

The Malibu stayed on task for many years, until the owners shook off the Malibu moniker and adopted a more wink-wink attitude. I now present to you the newly remodeled "Secrets Inn":

Recreation in the Lake Tahoe area can be as simple as renting a paddle boat and taking to the cold, clear waters of the lake itself. Here's a shot of the shoreline looking back:

And here's two of my favorite people bringing the boat back into port:

Going out to breakfast is a great way to start a vacation day, and the best place to do this when in Tahoe is at Heidi's...

This fine old breakfast/coffee shop is situated right next door to the former South Tahoe Travelodge:

The motel is still going strong as a Howard Johnsons, while Heidi's is still welcoming those with an appetite---

Heidi's was a bit more plain back in the day, but the owners added to its Swiss charms over the ensuing decades until this classic, inviting look was achieved:

Sure, Heidi's is right next door and the food is great, but doubts about staying at the HoJo remian until you check out the status of the pool:

It'll do...But if you're up for an adventure, how about stepping back in time at the Green Lantern?

Oh yes...The Lantern is still lit and continues to ply its trade in the heart of the old motel row:

...And the Monaco Inn was (and is) at the corner of Stateline and Pine Blvd.

I'm happy to see that the giant pine tree is still doing well, right in the middle of the complex:

To get to Tahoe you have to hit the road, and from past travels many of you will know that the Mother Road in these parts is Highway 99.

Just south of Lodi on this fine old thoroughfare, the Victor Fine Foods meat packing plant sits dormant. Closed since December 1991, its towering sign still draws the attention of passing motorists such as I:

Check out the classical foot soldier, champion of the Victor Brand:

Some terrific photos of this sign can be found here and here:

I'll be back with Tahoe Part 3 next time, which should include stops at Magic Carpet Mini Golf and the abandoned Tahoe Amusement Park.

Happy Travels---

Sunday, September 21, 2008

South Lake Tahoe/Stateline CA - Part 1

Many summer travelers will set out to visit the places they’ve always wanted to see, while at least an equal number will return to familiar stomping grounds and spots that brought fun and escape in youthful times past. South Lake Tahoe in California has been a destination spot for over a century, and continues to lure both old and new timers to its clear, cool waters and pine-lined shores.

Thankfully, many of the original inns and motels that have been offering shelter to winter skiers and summer swimmers alike for decades remain (for now at least), intact and in-business. I paid a visit to these historic environs this past July…

Bordering Nevada, the area known as Stateline is home to dozens of older establishments that have been around long enough to see tastes change and fads fade. In part one of several, let’s focus on these local and classic motels and see how they are getting along, as another crop of summer folks pass through in search of smiles, sun, and that warmly coveted escape from everyday life.

First stop: The Paradice Motel:

Still going strong today, the Paradice sits next door to another old inn that is being refurbished...

The sign retains its neon charms, but I'm sad to see that the "pair-a-dice" topper has gone the way of penny slots:

The Tahoe Sahara Motel was open for business back in the 70's and for some time before that that I'm sure:

This old motel still looks vital and has definately 'gone green' as is popular these days:

Nothing could have been more fun than pulling into the Ravenwood Motel in your '57 Imperial Crown, pointing the kids toward the pool, and settling back with a highball while plotting what shows and dinner adventures await you and the wife...

This fantasy is still possible today, but the gas is really gonna cost you! The now-Avalon Lodge looks like a good option for my next trip:

I visited a number of motels for which I do not own a corresponding 'then' picture for; rather than ban them until I've run across the appropriate postcard, I'll bring them to you now and hope that the postcard shows up 'down the road'...

Here's the Capri, with original neon-bedecked late 50's sign featuring an elegant font that should still be in use today (if I owned a motel chain):

The pool is just over the wall above and looks dippable to me:

Here's the Tahoe Queen basked in afternoon shadows:

A sign closeup was mandatory on this one:

The Blue Jay was a happy place to pull off the road when it was young...

The name remains the same and it looks like there is plenty of room for us based on the sign and empty parking lot...I wonder why?

After all, a refreshing swim in a pool surrounded by pines awaits:

Wait...Something doesn't look quite right from here...Better get a closer look...

Thought so...

For you old timers who remember when the world was only in black and white, I present for your approval---The Royal Motel:

I didn't think I'd find the Royal still standing and doing business...But I did!

It now rents by the month and goes by the old-world handle of 'Ski Haus Lodge'.

While travelling to Tahoe on Highway 50, I stopped in Fresh Pond, seeking a feel for the old times when Henri's Restaurant fed and gassed up eager fortune seekers on their way to Harvey's and Harrah's:

Being uninformed of its demise, it was a shock to find that Henri's was no longer in-situ. Thankfully, the sign remains (why do signs always remain after the buildings are torn down?):

A closeup of the sign in question:

Well, that does it for Part 1 of the Tahoe series. Sorry (yet again) for the long break between posts...

Take care all---