Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Farewell Tagus Ranch…

I only recently learned of the sad demise of the Tagus Ranch Coffee Shop and Restaurant, along with the great sign that had been seen and wondered at by countless motorists winding along old Highway 99 over the past 55+ years:

Located just north of Tulare, CA Tagus Ranch played a big part in the social scene for thousands of locals in the farming and oil towns located in the southern end of California’s great central valley from the 1950’s until finally going dark sometime in the 1980’s (experts please chime in with exact dates---I would love to know).
Here are the last shots I ever snapped of the Sign and Gas Station ruins while driving by...back in July, 2013:

My thanks to all of you who've commented on my Tagus Ranch posts over the years, they seem to be a favorite.  I sure wish I could have visited Tagus Ranch ‘back in the day’…

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tagus Ranch & Perry's Coffee Shop Revisited - Tulare, CA

Among my older posts (aren't they all?), one that continues to garner new looks and comments concerns a former dining and dancing destination located on dusty Highway 99 just to the north of the fine city of Tulare, CA: World Famous Tagus Ranch.

The site of this magnificent ruin has always piqued my interest whenever I'm motoring past, and several times at the urging of my kids I have stopped to document the old building's current state of decay. I last did so on August 6, 2010, and here are some pictures from that 100 degree day:

Was that a BBQ pit to the back left?

A Warning sign:

A few Urban Explorers have made it inside:

Menace said:

"Hello there Walter,
I may have not been alive to [see] this place in it's glory days but I did go see this place recently. I was filming a short film for my video class and we all decided to go to Tagus Ranch. We heard it was haunted(because we heard at least one girl was murdered there) so we were all frightened. Well we all went inside that place and it was really dark even in the daytime, we came upon the room with the pentogram(star) with strange symblos and an eye in the middle and we all freaked. Our video turned out crappy so we have to reshoot but this time at night!"
DECEMBER 18, 2009 6:57 PM

I sure hope 'Menace' made it back and will share some of the pics from the second outing.

Here's a closeup of the ghost-sign-brand 'TR' that used to adorn the exterior and can be seen in the postcard view from my original post.

Stacy Hargrove mentioned in her kind comments that she had been inside and that "...even the old Tagus Ranch symbol was there." Stacy: Would the symbol that you saw be the same one that used to grace this wall?

Ahh, the Great Sign:

Here's a souvenir for you smokers out there:

Long time Tulare residents will remember Perry’s Coffee Shop. Here’s a link to my previous post regarding “The Best Cup Of Coffee on Highway 99”, along with a postcard view of the interior from the 1960’s:

One happy couple enjoyed their time here very much, and wrote their friends Mr. & Mrs. Norman Anderson of La Puente, CA to tell them so:

“Dear Folks – We enjoyed our brief visit with you so much. Having a wonderful trip. This is a lovely dining room & a nice motel. Temp here is over 100 degrees but nice inside. We hope to see Sequoia National Park & Yosemite tomorrow. Regards, Florence and Tony Zelir”(?)

Postmarked Tulare, July 28th, 1962.

I looked up the Anderson’s address on Google, and (yay!) it hasn’t been demolished. But I do wonder if they still live there after all these (49) years? I suppose there’s a pretty fair chance that the Anderson’s have gone on to that great Coffee Shop in The Sky, in which case I hope to meet them one day to discuss this card :)

Unfortunately, the former Perry’s Coffee Shop building was demolished a couple of years back:

Here’s a bit of the terrazzo floor to contemplate. Too bad we can no longer perform this contemplation with fresh pie and hot coffee in hand…

Further north on the 99, we pass the ruins of the Mammoth Orange in Fairmead. We used to enjoy the best ‘Alaska Sized Burgers’ and squeezed-right-in-front-of-you Orange Juice Shakes at this historic roadside stand which was the last of its kind. Too bad the exit was closed which killed the business.

Take care and drive safe…and see you next time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hi - Lo Motel Cafe - Weed, CA

If you like stately mountains and coniferous forest, Northern California is definitely the place for you. This expansive area is home to countless creeks and swimming holes, with broad vistas and shady groves to boot.

Another highlight of the region serves up good food and comfortable lodging to the weary auto-tourist. The sign for this place beckons both night and day, calling the hungry and tired to stop and stay awhile. This time, let's stop in at the Hi - Lo!

Nestled on the Old 99 in the still-small-town of Weed, we find the Hi - Lo Motel Cafe back in the days of Ike:

The fate of many 40's - 50's motels isn't always as pretty as a postcard from the past. Many end up surrounded by chain-link fence, with their pools drained and defaced by local wise-acres.

Having said that, I’m quite pleased to report that the Hi - Lo lives on, even though Mt. Shasta was 'Obscured By Clouds' during this recent visit:

The grounds were well kept and the restaurant was bustling. And guess what? The M-O-T-E-L and C-A-F-E letters in the classic sign still light up in sequence, although it's hard to tell on such a bright sunny day:

Maybe next time we'll try one of their Refreshing Root Beer Floats.

Thanks for visiting. See you next time...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Norwalk Car Wash - Firestone Blvd

Here we find a near-cousin of the Slauson Car Wash. Perhaps it was built using the same plans? Those fins appear to be very similar…

The good news about this wash-n-shine is that it looks to be as popular and well maintained as it ever was during its heyday:

Nearby are the shuttered remains of an old Van De Kamps restaurant (note the distinct former-Windmill tower) that had evolved into a Norm’s at some point:

Since Norm’s is closed, let’s have a bite at Douglas Burgers, where they Char-Broil the patties and also serve up Breakfast, Pastrami, and of course Burritos and Tacos.

From what I can find online, it appears that this place has been serving up some awesome (if fatty) food for quite some time:

That’s all for now, see you down the road…

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pacific Car Wash & Bob's Big Boy

At the risk of being typecast, I hereby present another installment in the 'SoCal Classic Car Wash' series: Pacific Car Wash

Located at 12050 Beach Blvd in Stanton, California, it looks like the Pacific has seen a lot of classic autos pass through it's gates over the years. Thankfully, most of it's 60's stylings remain, but I'm guessing that the large sign used to be a bit more 'grand':

And just for good measure, here's a shot of the former Bob's Big Boy on Harbor Blvd near Disneyland. This place was vacant for a while a few years back; I'm glad that Coco's picked it up and didn't change the look:

Happy travels until next time...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Slauson Car Wash

If only to show that I'm still around, here's a nice 'drive-by' shot of the Slauson Car Wash at 3615 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles:

The Slauson is just one of many fantastic 50's/60's style car washes scattered throughout the LA region.

I passed by after a stop at Simply Wholesome, which is housed in the former Googie landmark 'The Wich Stand' coffee shop & lounge.

Thanks for stopping by, I'll try to be back with a real post in the near future...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Greetings From Moab, UT - The Apache Motel & Other Scenic Sights

Let’s visit the friendly and beautiful Red-Rock city of Moab, located near Arches National Park in southern Utah. My family and I were lucky enough to spend some time here this past summer, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Here’s Main Street, back in the early 60’s:

And the same scene on a warm August afternoon in 2009:

Moab embraces its role as a hub for tourism and has many lodging choices to offer the weary traveler. A perfect example is the Apache Motel, which is:

Quiet off highway. Luxury 32 ultra modern units, TV, Pool, Playground, Air Cond. Delightful Restaurant. “Western Hospitality in the heart of the Canyonlands”

Tradition and value are honored at the Apache, where the large arrow-sign is still stuck firmly in the pavement out front.

According to the motel’s website, The DUKE stayed here…Wow!

The pool is still in good shape, and those old-style metal umbrellas are probably the same ones that shaded Mr. Wayne when he relaxed at poolside…

Signs on (and off) of Main Street direct traffic to the Apache, which is located on a quiet looking street away from the heart of town.

Even at night, the Apache beckons:

I’m sure that John Wayne loved neighboring Arches National Park and all of its scenic wonders, including Balancing Rock:

Landscape Arch as well...

If the Apache is all booked up, perhaps the Rustic Inn or the Virginian Motel have a room available:

The Best Western Canyonlands was home to my family and I during our stay, and we heartily recommend this excellent motel to anyone planning a visit. The beds were very comfortable and the breakfast was outstanding!

The modern Canyonlands motel is located at the corner of Center and Main. In former days, the Canyonlands Café shared the site with the older incarnation of the motel:

The old Café was bulldozed in the early 90’s, and today ‘Pasta Jays’ sits on the corner. It was always busy during our stay, and you could smell the garlic a block away.

If you get a chance to visit Arches National Park, make sure you hike down Park Avenue around Sunset…It was a truly sublime experience.

The Windows Section of the park is quite striking as well…

When we left Moab, our journey through the West continued through Castle Valley and Dead Horse Point State Park:

We made it ‘off-road’ to Goblin Valley also:

Then we proceeded to tour through Capital Reef NP and scenic Highway 12:

We finished the trip with stops at Bryce Canyon followed by Zion National Park…

It was quite a journey, and one that I would recommend to any of you who get the chance. It was the type of adventure that sticks in the old memory banks for quite awhile.

Oh, and if you get tired on the drive home, how about the Sands in St. George?

Take care and thanks for visiting…