Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gone, but not forgotten, sort of

I'm in a nostalgic mood this week. Here are some old haunts that are no longer:

1. The Shamrock Roller Rink: Located in Old Torrance, near the Southern Pacific Railroad Bridge. A popular teen hangout when I was in high school.

2. Tommy's: Located behind the Depot, next to a car wash in Old Torrance. My husband and I ate there almost every week before our son was born. Every meal was like 1000+ calories, but we were skinny. What happened? Hub always ordered the steak and eggs.

3. Old stores at Del Amo:

JK Gill: Got all my Formaline materials here, until I discovered Walsers.

Woolworths: This was located in the Del Amo mall between Ohrbach's (what is now Marshall's) and Montgomery Wards (where I never shopped). When I got married, I bought my first christmas ornaments there - white satin balls.

Ohrbach's: I did a lot of shopping there, as I mentioned in a previous post, especially after high school. They specialized in designer knock-offs (not the illegal kind.)

Petrie's: This was a junior clothing store, cheap as chips. I worked there for 2 years when I was about 16. We had non-electronic cash registers, and had to count back change and memorize totals including tax. During the Christmas rush, customers would be lined up all around the perimeter of the store.

Hartfield's: Located on the Sears side when it was an open air mall - my sister shopped there for clothes.

Judy's: More upscale than Petrie's, I could rarely afford to actually buy clothes there, but I shopped just the same. Love their logo.

I. Magnins: Once I was gainfully employed, I started spending more time here and at...

Bullocks: I worked in the furniture department while in college. The best thing about this place, which is now Macy's, was the Tea Room. My mom and I used to go there for their crustless sandwiches and the fashion shows.

The candy and nut counter at Sears: My parents were regulars at Sears. We would shop there almost every Saturday or Sunday, and my dad would take us kids to the candy counter, where we would get free samples of toffee peanuts.

4. Newberry's: Located on what is now Rolling HIlls Plaza. My friend's mom owned a catholic gift store in the same strip mall, but facing Crenshaw. We used to eat at the lunch counter, and spy on strangers.

5. Parasol Restaurant: I think a lot of people still mourn the passing of this Googie landmark. The themed restaurant sported parasol light fixtures and all things parasol-esq. Sigh.

6. Florence Fabrics: Best fabric store in Torrance - I bought all the fabric for my wedding here.

7. Old Towne Mall: Imagine a hippy/macrame vibe blended with a bit of Knotts/Disney Main Street and shopping mall, and you have Old Towne.

8. Pussycat Theater: I never went, but a lot of my friends used to go on dates there.

9. Zody's: I really hated this store, but my mom shopped there from time to time to my complete embarrassment. I trace my intense dislike of Walmart and Kmart to this store.

10. White Front: I remember buying my first pair of rainbow striped platform E.V.A. foam slippahs at this place.

11. The Akron: A cross between a dollar store and Cost Plus. It was across the street from Zody's on Hawthorne Blvd., near what is now the Galleria.

12. Del Conte's Restaurant: Located near the Ramada Inn and under the Porche dealership. Popular in the day when people could manage to eat steak once a week, and not be 500 pounds - probably because they smoked a pack a day. Their clientele died off, or lost their teeth.

13. The Rhodium as an actual drive-in.

14. The McDonalds near Artesia on Van Ness Blvd. This was the first McD's in the area, designed with the classic yellow arches that framed the building.

15. The Begonia Farm: Once an actual working farm. Lovely spot, family owned. For my sister, conveniently located right around the corner from...

16. The Super Yarn Mart: Bright shocking pink building that sold - you guessed it. All yarn, all the time.

17. Fox Market: This was located at the corner of 182nd and Van Ness where the Nijiya market is today. I remember walking there from our home in Gardena.

18. Krispy Kreme: I'm really pissed they couldn't make a go of it in Torrance. They were at the PCH location for, what, a year???

19. The Christmas Tree Farm: On Crenshaw Blvd., north of Lomita Blvd., where a golf store is now. My hub and I would slog through the mud to cut down a lush scotch pine for the holidays.

20. The Value Village Thrift Store: This was a really good thrift in Old Torrance - I was broken hearted when it closed.

116 comments:

MaryRuth said...

Oh man, what a trip down memory lane! I first moved here in 1980, so some of these were already gone (or going) by then.
All those old stores at Del Amo...I used to go to Ohrbach's and Woolworth's all the time. Remember the health food store there? And the little old grandma that sold the lemonade and icecream?
RIP Florance Fabrics..that is a sad, sad loss.
I was living next to the Begonia Farm when it was closed--that totally sucked, but luckily I moved before the construction began. Remember the Bird Farm, too?
I think I might still have a wine glass I bought for a dollar at the Akron.

So Cal Peeper said...

Ah, yes - Lindberg Nutrition was in DelAmo. Fortunately, they're still around - it's where we buy my dad's gluten free bread.

I loved that lemonade stand - they also sold ice cream bars. Then, there was the video arcade in Del Amo - I almost forgot about those hang outs...

The Bird Farm - I remember now, very vaguely - thanks for that one!

Susan said...

Wow, that was fun! I love reading your blog. I don't remember Fox Market on 182nd & Van Ness but I do remember Food Fair that was there in the mid to late 1960's (probably before your time!) There was also a large market near the mall called Magic Chef (where Acapulco restaurant is now). What about the Helms Bakery man, Indian Village, Latitude 20, Mishimas (on Western & 185th St), I could go on and on. I grew up in North Torrance (near Nijiya) so we probably saw each other at the meat counter at Motoyama's or the "old" Meiji market! Fun times!

LA Farm Girl said...

Wow, what a great post, thanks for the wonderful memories! I used to shop at so many of those places and I miss them. Of course, I miss all the farms too but so many things are gone. I read your blog regularly but this is my first post! Judi

So Cal Peeper said...

I was thinking about including all the places in Gardena I could think of, but the list got too long - for instance, the Meadowpark Dairy on Normandie (the cow pasture behind it), Spot Market on Western, El Rancho Market on Western and 182nd, Nahas, Missile Bowl....etc. etc. etc...

Laurie said...

I live in England, but I grew up in Hollywood Riviera in Torrance, where I still visit. I was so happy to find your blog (while searching on Google for Florence Fabrics) and see that someone actually remembers Zody's and WhiteFront. When I was a kid, my mom took me to The Bird Farm as a special treat, and Catalina Music was a favorite place too. And the snack bar at Woolworths....so cool, and I had completely forgotten that one. Thanks for posting this info and memories.

JTalbert said...

I worked at Old Towne(yes with an e) mall at Kingdom of Oz that later became a Sega Center. Real pinball machines with glass. How about that?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Garden not far from Torrance. Ate at the parasol up until about 10 years ago. There was a smorgasboard called Sir Georges that was on Normandie Ave and it had a guy that plaid the xylaphone- "rain drops keep falling on my head", was the song most often requested by diners. The Treasury was the place my mom shopped at and fedco-Had my birthday celebrated many years at Faralls ice Creme Parlor on Hawthorne blvd, and I still have my purple ribbon for eating "the trough" because I was skinny then and could get away with it. Millers Outpost, ughhh-school clothes. I loved the bumble bee and haunted house ride at Old Town Mall, and the old country fair jazz music was cool but the teriyaki stand rocked. Ichabod Craines is now Kings Hawaiian, and Farmers Brother coffee was the wake up call in the morning and again at 4pm right before dinner. Vermont Drive in and not sure if Ascot was Gardena or the cusp of Torrance that whole 190th street zig zag thing. The Shamrock- many many saturday nights spent there. I lived behind Medowpark Dairy and woudl ride my bike up there with the neighborhood kids to buy orange crush in the long neck bottles.. Nahas had lay-a-way and who can forget Guliano's- mmmm Torrance had one built years later but Garendas was the best. Strawberry Festival at St. Anthonys..

Anonymous said...

Great trip down memory lane. I miss lots of the places that were mentioned throughout this blog. Does anyone remember the raceway, Ascot. Loved that place, too!!!

Brenda said...

Don't forget the Van De Camp Windmill Restaurant on Sepulveda. I celebrated my 16th birthday at Del Conte's in 1978. And never missed a year till it closed. They had the best Petite Fillet Mignon ever! I sure do miss that place, can't find a steak to match it.

So Cal Peeper said...

I remember that windmill - we would go there when we also had to visit the Builders Emporium (where there is now a 99 cent store and a Big Lots.

Remember the Van de Kamps ladies who dressed up in dutch outfits at the regular grocery stores?

Does anyone remember the Nahas in Gardena (also in Santa Barbara and Palos Verdes) I worked there after high school.

Brenda said...

Also, Victoria Station Restaurant just down the street from Farrell's & the rides & animals at Alpine Village. The Vermont Dairy when it still had the cows on the corner of Vermont & 223rd St. And Marineland, my uncle took me there for the first time when I was 3 years old, in 1966.

Brenda said...

My Uncle was the Builders Emporium Whore. The guys who worked there knew him by name. We would go & buy our garden seeds & plants there every year. My Uncle Mac HATED Home Depot, he said he could never find anything. He died a year before the Home Depot opened on Sepulveda, just 2 blocks from our house.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember Grace's Pastries or Tijuanan Inn or Yas's Market in Gardena? And submarine sandwhiches from Guiliano's. I used to get paint-by-numbers from Naha's. What was that drive-inn by the old Nissan building? That is where my grampa took me to see "Jaws" when I was too young- my gramma got pissed at him. Does anybody remember the El Paso Cantina? And is anybody old enought to remember an old anti-smoking psa commercial "Johnny Smoke?"

Ken said...

Anyone else recall the miniature golf course that was located on PCH, across the street from Del Contes?

Jeanine said...

I totally remember all of those places. and more. Don't forget the Dunkin' Donuts on Sepulveda and Crenshaw. Remember the old Rolling Hills Theater, when there was only one screen then it went to two, crazy. I saw Grease 12 times there.

Felicia said...

Yes Ken, I remember the miniature golf course across form Del Conte's but wasn't there a go-cart track there too?

Dan said...

Thanks for helping me relive some of the memories from my formative years in North Torrance! I left the South Bay in 1977, and on a recent trip to Torrance was amazed to find that, except for fast-food restaurants, almost nothin is left in the way of ye olde commercial businesses. In the early 60s I have fond memories of watching the cows get milked at a dairy on Crenshaw just south of Redondo Beach Blvd (it's now a parking lot for El Camino College). Your write-up covered many of my memories of places, but there are many others...My friends Dad owned Love's Wood Pit BBQ on RBB at Normandie. I later worked at Foods Company Market on Crenshaw in Torrance. Blum's Restaurant, which was Googie design, was right next door. I believe Romero's Mex Rest is still in business a block to the north. We used to ride bikes to Borders Grocery Store at Priarie and RBB (it later became a Chuck-e-Cheese). Twin Castle next door had great double cheese burgers. Other names I recall include Gemco (Hawthorne at PCH?), Wallach's Music City (Artesia at Hawthorne), Norm's, Joanne's Pizza on RBB in Gardena, & Bob's Big Boy of course. Does the Boston Store ring a bell with anybody?

Anonymous said...

I dream of old Tommy's steak and eggs in Torrance! (from like 35 years ago) Man that marinade was good!! - in cubes of beef. Wish I could find that flavor again.

Anonymous said...

Michaels coffee shop on Carson and Normandie near the 76 station. Watching the foxes play where the Torrance crossroads now stands. Olies Hardware on Sepulveda was where my grandfather would take me every Saturday morning and the original Toys r Us on Sepulveda near where the Sizzler is now. And the water fountain near Woolworths in th del Amo Mall (it was round and ornately tiled) Oh how I wish I could go back to those times...

Kelly M Bray said...

How about the miniature golf course with an Orange Julius stand on PCH just east of Crenshaw. Mr B's for Music, Don Toys, Rae's Hardware, and the Fox Theater in the Peninsula Center.

Jann said...

Remember the Sweetwater Cafe in Hermosa Beach? We used to go there to see The Twisters who let us dance on stage while they sang. So much fun!

Anonymous said...

#14 -- that old McD's -- I think was near Artesia and Crenshaw (not Van Ness). Hudson Dairy: on Van Ness a little north of Artesia, owned by the parents of a childhood school chum of mine. I can remember cows in the pasture behind the dairy. Tijuana Inn -- others have mentioned this place; we went there for dinner every Friday eve. Used to watch chess matches at Old Towne, outside the chess store. Union Carbide was right behind (east) the mall. Al's Ranch Market, near where Manhattan Beach Blvd and Redondo Beach Blvd converged. My mom worked at Farmers Bros., and 50 years later I can still remember the aroma of roasting coffee. Ascot and also Lyons drag strip, which was closed due to excessive noise, IIRC. Foods Co. on Crenshaw was where my mom got all her groceries; I used to sneak looks at the Playboys in the magazine rack. Carl's Jr. on Arlington and Sepulveda; I worked there a couple years. May even still be there.
Great blog. I've lived 2000 miles away from Torrance for the last 30 years, but remember it like yesterday.

So Cal Peeper said...

You're right, it was on Crenshaw - there's an El Pollo Loco there now.

My sis in law works at Farmer Bros now.

The Carl's Jr. is still there!

Anonymous said...

#17 -- the comment about the market ("Nijiya" now?) -- I remember a grocery store in that location, but don't recall the name. It may have changed hands more than once. Anyway, in the late 70s there used to be a small tortilla factory in a glassed-off section of the store. You could get corn tortillas so fresh that they were still warm. Delicious. I haven't had tortillas that fresh since then.

Anonymous said...

This is great!
I'm only 36 and missed a lot, but I have small memories of the area in the 70s and 80s. Still live in the South Bay and have forgotten so much of what used to be...Used to go to Peppy's restaurant on sepulveda with my whole family...The Velvet Turtle, too, classy joint, also on Sepulveda...As a kid, there was a brightly painted box in Sears (Del Amo) where you could sit and watch cartoons for a quarter while mom was shopping...Cloth World...Liquor Barn...The windmill restaurant on Sepulveda and Vermont was Tiny Naylors, not Van De Kamps (was that Harbor City?) The Torrance drive-in across Torrance Blvd from Bishop Montgomery High School...The Surprise Store next to Standard Brands Paint store on Hawthorne...Moskatel's by South High...The Hot Rod shop on sepulveda by the YMCA. Penny Lane records, torrance and hawthorne, by the Zebra room cocktails...Sambo's diner on Western and Sepulveda.
Can anyone remember what used to be where that huge strip mall is now on sepulveda from Arbys to Jiffy Lube? I don't remember but lived right down the street...Also, I was one of the last real "paperboys" for the Daily Breeze when we rode our bikes and delivered the paper after school...You all take care and keep those precious memories alive!

So Cal Peeper said...

You probably don't remember that before that windmill restaurant was a Tiny Naylors it was a Van de Kamps before you were born.


Oh, and a good steak can be had (at least this is what my next door neighbors tell me, I've yet to try it) at the San Franciscan at the corner of Crenshaw and Sepulveda.

john said...

Anyone remember when the #3 Torrance Transit bus used to drive through downtown Torrance? El Prado was opened up all the way to Van Ness. I remember the train stop at Old Town, the rides as well. We would walk to JJ Newberrys in Downtown Torrance as well. There used to be a strip club on the corner of Western and Torrance which is now Enterprise. I was just a young boy back then but remember asking my Dad what it was!

John said...

And Builders Emporium used to be Ole's! Wow talk about a flashback. I still remember the steel mills between on Western between 190th to Del Amo. There was also one on Carson Street and Western where the retail plaza now is.

I too flashback to the ice cream bar shop in Del Amo. The elderly lady was an icon at that place!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, those steel mills in the vicinity of Van Ness / Arlington and Del Amo were awesome. I can remember riding my motorcycle past there in the late '70s, very late at night (or very early in the morning), and sometimes they would be pouring molten steel. There was a point on Van Ness where you could look down the length of the mill and see the pour happening. Fascinating. Those mills have been gone for years, unfortunately.

Also recall the record stores (Licorice Pizza and Wherehouse) that used to be in the strip mall on the south side of Sepulveda, near Hawthorne, across from the Treasury. A few miles north on Hawthorne was an older record store called Wallach's Music City (spelling very uncertain).

Synthetrix said...

Nice memories. I grew up in Anaheim, but have lived in this area for the last 18 years. Thanks to Brenda for confirming what I had suspected by looking at old aerial photos, that there was indeed an old Van De Kamps windmill restaurant on Sepulveda near the 110 freeway. There is a Carl's Jr. on the site now.

chickNchips said...

Wow, I always thought my mind was playing tricks on me and finally someone else remembers the miniture golf place on pch in Lomita. That must have been at least 50+ yrs ago? Way before the Oriental Gardens mini golf, by the Torrance airport opened up. So many fun memories to look back on! Does anyone remember the Tom Cat on 190th & Hawthorne. That was in the late 60's. Old Towne Mall was great place to take the kids when they were small. My son won firt place at the Holloween parade in 1977. How about the old Food King on Hawthorne and pch. In the same center were the original Liberty appliance and Minty's dress shop. It was all torn down to make room for expanding the airport. My cousin owned a home right where the new runway went.

Lana V said...

The Parasol, is seared into my head, I am trying to find pictures of the shops behind it, my mom owned the beauty salon, Enchanting Coiffures, I can only find a few pictures, but I would be able to eat lunch from the Parasol on Saturday's when I would stay at the shop with my mom.
Also the original Lindburg Nutrition, they had a bar where you could buy protein drinks, my mom would stop there after her trip to Gloria Marhsalls, which was also in Del Amo. Such wonderful memories

Anonymous said...

How'bout these.... remember Pioneer Chicken/on anza or Latitude 20 bar/ across from the mcdonalds near walteria park or the velvet turtle in the riveria or Pup N Taco on pch and Market Basket/ calle mayor-pch. Or super old was the All American burger on Torrance and Hawthorne. The Red onion, Blue Moon Saloon,Pier 52 in Hermosa in the dark biker days of H.B.

The 70's rocked in south torrance!

Jamin Jim said...

I lived in Palos Verdes 1961 - 1963 and we would come into Torrance all the time. I now live in the "Village" and often wonder what happened to a few land marks.

Plush Horse Inn (seems like that should still be popular).
There was a tall pillar (like 30') with purple neon tubes.

Michael Rummel said...

i lived there for the first 12 years of my life...i grew up in the house on the corner of Artesia and Wilkie (the one with the sound barrier, my grandfather built that)...when did they take the zipline down at Delthorne Park...my grandmother and grandfather used to live in a mock Tudor style house on Madrona, now two houses take up that whole space where it used to be. i'm actually old enough to remember when there was a McD's on the corner of Artesia and Crenshaw...then someone got stabbed to death at Wilson Park on July 4, 1983...the Mobil fires of '79 and '88...Steve's Char Burger...Aladdin's Castle at the Del Amo Mall...

Mike said...

What memories. I worked at both Zodys (one on Hawthorne and the one on Sepulveda across from Tiny Naylors (where my future wife was receptionist). Zodys was conglomorate of many retailers (Major appliances dept was Major L.A. which became Circuit City when the Zodys closed), record dept was Pickwick records, snack bar was Topsy's, etc.) Whole company was bought out by Pia Zadora's husband.

Future wife was teller at bank in downtown torrance which started out as United California Bank then changed to Wells Fargo. Anyone remember Ding How's on Sartori and Carson st. I remember going to Woolworth's in Del Amo mall when it was still an open mall. it was the first store after you came out the back door of Sears. I would buy chocolate cigarettes. The downstairs toy dept at Sears at Christmas time was majical! Remember the separate building to the side of sears where they sold tools and motorcycles along with lawn mowers!! How about JoJo's on Hawthorne? And I sure remember the Akron on Hawthorne. Loved it all!

Anonymous said...

Funny you'd mention Tommy's Coffee Shop. My Father has a business down the street in Old Town Torrance and I remember eating there as a kid. When Tommy died and the place closed, Tommy's wife, Annie, opened a restaurant in Carson (on Carson St. and Vermont) called 'Annie Z's,' (Annie Zaharra.) My Mother knew Her very well and She still cooked the same stuff from Tommy's throughout the early 80's. I still remember Her marinated steak. I have yet to taste anything like it, since... It was the best I've ever had. If anyone has the recipe, please share on this post :?)

Anonymous said...

BTW... Does anyone remember the Southbay Swim Club near the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Lomita Blvd? It was kind of tucked away from Street view, but for a Quarter, it was like walking into heaven... It had a kid's wading pool, an Olympic sided lap pool and a 9" pool with a high diving board... It was truly a great memory.

Anonymous said...

Leonards Department store at PCH and Crebshaw behind the UA theaters.Oh and you forgot the United Artists theater too lol

ben said...

Lafayette Electronics on Torrance Blvd ( http://goo.gl/maps/ojmu6 ) is where I'd buy broken tape recorders for $10 or less, take them home and fix them. Made a whole studio from them. The salesman there kindly let me play with his Teac 4-track mini studio there. Great fun... That was 1973 and I was mobile! Not car, bus.

Anonymous said...

What about Marcy's candy and ice cream store which was across the street from the swim school.

Anonymous said...

I've been here since the Watt's riots and seen lot's. All the post do bring back images from my childhood. Vistoria Staion actually first set up there train cars on the north-west corner of Kingsdale & Artesia BLVD in the 60's. They move later to Hawthorne, near the Torrance airport in the 80's, and then became Seafood BRoiler, then South Bay Grill--- which is now gone! Also, Orange Julius stand at the Galleria location, as well as Sunset House and the GIANT slides on the south parking lot area. Millie Riera's Seafood GRotto I miss and so much more. Does anybody remember Alfie's at the Spires TOrrance location?

Anonymous said...

I still live in torrance and love all the memories posted here.Do you remember Pacific Coast little league?The Walteria businessman s club? I remember going to the Rodeo at the Torrance airport, and eating at Freddies on PCH.Than going to Marcy' s Candies, 10 cent ice creams at Thrifties. The Palms resteraunt on Carson st. In front of the Pussycat theater.The man coming by the house with a pony to take kids pictures...great times!

Anonymous said...

I still live in torrance and love all the memories posted here.Do you remember Pacific Coast little league?The Walteria businessman s club? I remember going to the Rodeo at the Torrance airport, and eating at Freddies on PCH.Than going to Marcy' s Candies, 10 cent ice creams at Thrifties. The Palms resteraunt on Carson st. In front of the Pussycat theater.The man coming by the house with a pony to take kids pictures...great times!

Dana Davis said...

I remember most of those places. Used to shop at Orbachs then it became Stor. Still have my Stor bathroom scale. I bought a variety of stuff at Woolworths back in the day. Once my niece was born, I would buy her stuff at KayBee Toys. They've been gone a long time too. I miss Orange Julius too!

I get lost in old downtown now that Pussycat and Torrance Community theaters are gone. At least Fosters Freeze is still there. Thanks for the memories!

PMcD said...

@JTalbert - When did you work at Kingdom of Oz? I started going there in 1978 and started working there in 1980. I still remember most of the people there.

I realize your post is from 2009, but just happened upon this blog.

Anonymous said...

The clientele at Del Conte's didn't die off. They were always busy. The owner Jerry Del Conte was terminally ill and they had to close down. He later passed away.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for the name of the Burger place at the NW corner of Torrance Blvd & Hawthorne. It was a 50s style drive-up place, there in the 60s & early 70s. One commenter calls is "All American Burger" in the thread, but I think I remember a different name. It wasn't a chain, as far as I know. Thanks for the great blogs (and additions from all).

Gary Fox said...

Marcys' Sweet Shop Exceptionale! I'm very surprised there has not been a posting on this one. THE BEST!Scents of peppermint and hot fudge were always wafting through the store. Betty, one of the finest women I ever knew, was almost always running the shop which was on Hawthorne Blvd. in Walteria. The 60's were their heyday. Mr. Pinske, a teacher at P. V. High opened the place in the 50s' Gary Fox remembers
















SusanC said...

Does anyone remember the name of the Fabric Shop that was on PCH & Hawthorne next to Supreme Paint?

Love all the remembrances on here

Lisa Toler said...

Wasn't the name of the drive up/car hop burger place at Torrance and Hawthorne something like "Country Burger"?
I grew up in Torrance the 60's through the 80's. I remember much of all these places posted and appreciate the memories stirred by all these posts.
Does anyone remember the name of the little coffee shop that was on the corner of Arlington and Torrance Blvd?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great memories, I wish people had pictures of these places, that would really blow my mind..anyone.

Anonymous said...

Licorice Pizza - need I say more. I always grabbed a few purple on the way out.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was Country Burger at Torrance and Hawthorne. It is featured in a scene in the 1975 fim "Lifeguard" with Sam Elliot

Anonymous said...

Every single place mentioned on this post rings a bell. I'm so glad I stumbled across it. For as long as a live the smell of peanuts (especially cashews) will remind me of Sears. My dad would let us all pick a snack there, then we'd walk over to the gardening section and look at the fountains while my mother finished her shopping. If it was back to school time we'd stop at Woolworth and get our supplies. I loved those Christmas decorations between Sears and Woolworth. Especially the giant kangaroo rocking back on it's tail. Man, how can it seem like yesterday, but be 40+ years ago. *SIGH*

Robert said...

Would anyone happen to remember the name of that old medieval restaurant in del amo mall? My grandparents used to take me there when my sister and I were kids. All I can remember was that it was on the same side as outback steakhouse.

Anonymous said...

Before Country Burger it was A&W Drive Up with the car hops bringing the food up to the cars on skates :)

Anonymous said...

..wait I think A&W was on Carson and Western and the Armco steel refinery was across the way.

Anonymous said...

Country Burger?

Anonymous said...

Before the Pussycat Theater was the Pussycat, it was a nice family theater called The Stadium...right down the same street was another nice theater called The Grand. Both circa 1950's. Also, everyone in the 50's shopped at Ross a Market. I saw Gidget on the big screen at The Stadium! :)

Anonymous said...

The bird farm is where I got my first pet it was a teddy bear hamster. Walteria died when the begonia farm sold out for condos and Marcys closed up shop. Kaseys gym lives!

Anonymous said...

Its now the palos verdes inn and a bristol farms on the corner

Mark Kinder said...

Nancy's Food Cellar next to Lucky Supermarket at PCH and PV Drive. Best breakfast in the South Bay in its day.

Anonymous said...

In Del Amo mall, who remembers the AllTime-Timex watch store and service center near Ohrbach's?

Anonymous said...

Wow, some great memories. I grew up in the south bay area as well and I am so grateful for the unique childhood I had living there. I also remember having grilled cheese sandwiches at the counter with my mom over at Woolworth's when Del Amo was open. Also a cool toy store there as well. Does anyone remember where the original Vans shoe store was? I totally blanked that out but remember it was at a white house. I also loved Shakey's pizza and wish I could taste that once again. Had many b-day's there. I live out of state now and went back once and the pizza was totally off. I also loved the Schwinn bike store on Sepulveda where I bought my first Stingray. Perry's pizza on the strand in Hermosa, Pastrami at Ynot burgers, Top Value, poster shop in Old Town and the toy model shop where they sold import models from Japan and those huge funny cars and dragsters that where like 2 feet long. Love's BBQ, toy dept downstairs at Sears and the tuxedo rental next to the escalators! warm cashews at Sears and buying 45's in the record dept after I got my $5 allowance on Fridays, watching Herby at Rolling Hills theatre and the skateboard shop in the same mall. I had a Shlitz fiberglass skateboard with stokers I bought there. My next door neighbor's dad was the butcher over at Alpine Village and I still crave those sausages he would bring home. We used to ride our bikes to the batting cages at Alpine and play the football game where you rolled a ball to make your running back move, going to Velvet Turtle with mom and dad wearing my Mork rainbow suspenders ordering lobster for the first time. It's all good.! Great blog.

Anonymous said...

Florence fabric

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember Stacys Department Store in the city of Carson , I know this is a Torrance site , but it meant a lot to me , it was on the corner of Carson and Main st , next to Luckys

Anonymous said...

Fun read!

Anyone see presidential nominee John F. Kennedy give a speech at the old South Bay Shopping Center? If I remember correctly, Perry Elementary excused us older students from school to witness it.

My mother worked at the May Co. when it first opened. Best friend and I loved to spend weekends and a lot of the summer at the shopping center...for some reason it was really cool to walk around barefooted. No shoe laws back then!

Helen Grace, a chocolate & ice cream shop located a few doors down from See's Candies, sold a cute snack called an "upside-down ice cream cone".

Cherry cokes and yummy hot french fries were consumed at the counter/restaurant at May Co's basement eatery.

Green Rivers (a drink) were enjoyed at the counter at Thrifty Drug Store. The drug store had a small restaurant with counter service and booths. The special Delmonico steak dinner was a popular, inexpensive meal for a family outing. Unfortunately, Thrifty's dining area was flanked by huge picture windows so shoppers and passersby could witness the family chowing down. We teenagers were embarrassed to be seen eating a meal with our parents back in those days.

JJ Newberry's had a super cool St. Christopher medal sales display and we'd spend way too long deciding on which color charm to buy with allowance money. I remember buying the first Beatles 45 downstairs in the record department.

Anyone remember Clancy's? Loved their burgers as a kid. Or the Ontra Cafeteria in the Del Amo shopping center - delicious roast beef au jus or baked halibut, small bowls of mac & cheese, cole slaw, amazing blueberry muffins, etc. Great place.

Saw the Beach Boys perform outside Wallach's Music City. Wallach's also had listening booths so you could listen to an album before purchase.

Loved Tijuana Inn in Gardena. Also miss Meiji Market's lunch plates - used to pick them up for lunch when I worked in the area.

Gosh most of my memories have to do with food... There was a tiny chicken taco stand off a main road in Gardena that served wonderful tacos, so cheap.

The South Bay in the 50's & 60's was a fantastic place to grow up!

Can't understand how I was so skinny back then. Maybe all that walking around with bare feet - walking, bike riding and skating were the mode of transportation.

Fun times.

Anonymous said...

I remember a small 9 hole golf course on Sepulveda just east of Crenshaw called Hackers Haven. In old Torrance on Van Ness there used to be a store called Certi-Bond. I remember the Plush Horse restaurant on PCH near Prospect. McGowan's Market in San Pedro off 1st Street and Bandini. Foods Co. on Avalon near Sepulveda in what is now Carson. Thrifty's, Grants Store, & The Boys Market all in plaza strip mall at Normandie and Carson street. Also National Lumber in Carson. Of course White Front and Gemco, Montgomery Wards. But here's one for you> Remember the open air shopping mall right next to Sears Roebucks? A few stores down there was a smorgasborg restaurant called The ONTRA CAFE !!!

Sandy said...

Great trip down memory lane. Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant on PCH in Redondo Beach. It's now Rock & Brews, but before that, it was Oliver's Cafe, Chicago for Ribs, Tony Roma's and then what?!? Thanks for your help!

Anonymous said...

That drive in restaurant was A&W Root Beer.

HeyJuday said...

Ohrbachs and Judy's were my faves as a teenager. Also loved Swensen's bubble gum ice cream (on Crenshaw and 166th St.)

HeyJuday said...

Well, before Builder's Emporium, it was Homeowners Emporium.

Fred Gehrer said...

JK and Rick at Lafayette Electronics! Awesome guys. Me and a buddy used to hang out there also around the same time you are talking about. I bought my 1st electric guitar there and my 1st new CB there. And a lot of other stuff I didn't need but wanted just because it was cool and new. We probably crossed paths there a few times Ben.

Terry Jackson said...

Does anyone remember the name of the dive bar
that was on Prairie Ave just south of Artesia, where a Chevron station is now?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the name of the dive bar
that was on Prairie Ave just south of Artesia, where a Chevron station is now?

Anonymous said...

we've been racking our brains trying to recall the name of the restaurant from the 80's that is where the El Torito Grill is now. We also miss the real old towne mall, the carousel and the rides, there was nothing quite like it.

Sam Wa said...

Yes, I well remember Tijuana Inn. You are the first person I have heard of who remembers it. Exactly where was it? I was so young. Best Mexican I remember.

Sam Wa said...

Yes, Tijuana Inn was great. Can't remember the exact location.

The Ontra was wonderful.

Sam Wa said...

Yes, I well remember Tijuana Inn. You are the first person I have heard of who remembers it. Exactly where was it? I was so young. Best Mexican I remember.

The Ontra was wonderful.

Sam Wa said...

We grew up, only a block from either White Front, or Treasury. The Treasury was a fine store, unlike anything in its day, very large, and comprehensive. The grocery department was decent.

Does anyone remember Magic Chef?

What a great supermarket it was. Full, in store bakery, plus deli, and little restaurant, and an actual Winchells donut store inside.

It was there, at the deli, in 1966, that I remember seeing the headlines of a newspaper, that Walt had gone on.

Then, Zodys, was another, and quite nice.

Sam Wa said...

How about this one: Tarzan Land?
Only a real local would remember this. It was located where Souplantation, etc., is now. The entire land, from Torrance Blvd., to Carson Street, Ocean Ave., to Hawthorne Blvd., was an entire field. The section closest to Torrance Blvd., was known as Tarzan Land. A real rugged area, with huge boulders, tar, ponds, wilderness, for children to explore.
The entire field was rumored to be owned by Jackie Kennedy. I thoroughly checked that out, and it seems to be true.
The banking plaza went in, 1969, and the rest of the field existed to about 1981.

Sam Wa said...

Hi. Do you mean, the Velvet Turtle?

Sam Wa said...

The Thrifty near Magic Chef, was great. Seems like only yesterday. They had a restaurant, in the back of the Thrifty. An ice cream was only 5 cents, until 1970. I remember an older man, always served us cones. I could not understand why his name badge said Mr. ( his name ), instead of just his first name.

Sam Wa said...

God, how we all wanted to be paper boys, for the Breeze, 1970. Almost no chance, due to many applicants.

Sam Wa said...

It was an excellent arcade.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed reading about all those old Torrance places I remember so well. Lived near Crenshaw & Artesia. Walked BARE FOOT across the street to Foods Co. market, Hot & Tot restaurant,dry cleaners, Security Pacific National Bank. Scotty's, where you could buy anything, ice cream, penny candy, clothes, toys, jewelry, you name it. Gas stations on three corners, the old tiny post office, Winchell's donut shop, Mr. Jess hairdressers. Evans upholstery is still there. I still remember the smell of walking in to Patterson's hardware store. Down the street was the big hole of Higgins brick yard and across from there was the Higgins brick yard meeting house, where we held our Girl Scout meetings. Then there was the old open South Bay shopping center, before the Galleria. May Co, fabric store, shoe stores, camera store, Thrifty, buying fabric in the basement of Newberry's with my grandma. Oh, and the Blue Chip stamp store on Torrance Bl. I loved my childhood in Torrance!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for the name of the tea room that was located in Rolling Hills Plaza in the late 90s when I came across this site. They had the best chicken salad. Reading these posts was like wrapping myself in a warm cozy blanket. The South Bay was a magical place to grow up. Every other Saturday morning we would go to Tommy's for breakfast then over to Certi-Bond which, as I recall, had two separate buildings you went into to shop. We would have lunch at Ding How's or the counter at Newberry's. My Dad would then take us to Shamrock skating rink while my Mom strolled around in Sam Levy's, picked up a few things at Fox Drugs and then we'd catch a show at the Stadium. Great times.

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap!!! All of these places bring back soooo many memories. I was wondering if anyone remembers the old A&W Root Beer on Redondo Beach Blvd. near Yukon. I also remember an old dairy/farmers-type market there along with a full service gas station where the gas pump jockeys still wore their white caps and white uniforms. This would have been circa 1968.

Anonymous said...

The restaurant at PCH and PV Blvd that is now Rock & Brews was Woodys Smorgasbord. No one has mentioned Nancy's Food Cellar. Great 24 hour diner.

Tony Harvey said...

Fun stuff looking at all the comments. One I did not see was Quinn's Dairy. They delivered milk to your door step and it was always a special treat. Another favorite my dad would share moments with my siblings and I was Stellino's Deli.
That or if they need a drink down to Seafarer in Hermosa.

Rod Mitchell said...

Hi there, I am doing a freelance research of Downtown Torrance from 1930 to 1980 can you help me; especially interested in the establishments that were built to accommodate the steel industry workers in town: theaters, bars, gas stations, liquor stores and redlight district. Thanks Ron Mitchell - http://www.NewPerceptionGraphics.com

Ron@NewPerceptionGraphics.com

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember an Italian/Pizza place on PCH called Giovanni's? It closed down a few years before we left CA in the mid 90's, but they had the best pizza I have ever had, before or since. I have spent the last 25 years searching for something close. Thanks for this thread--brought back many memories.

Sam Wa said...

Was it Sir George's?

FLFF said...

Does anyone remember the Tom Cat on 190th & Hawthorne. ... which started out as United California Bank then changed to Wells Fargo.

MomofSJTM C. said...

Total walk down memory lane... reminded of things I hadn't thought about in years. I grew up near PCH and Crenshaw and my little retail world consisted of Lucky's, a big fabric store which before it was a fabric store was a Lee's Bars Stools and Dinettes, Stellino's Italian Deli, a Big Bank, Parasol! Loved! UA Theater, Leonards and when I was really really little (like 1964ish) there was a walk-up Orange Julius on PCH near Mandarin Gardens mini-golf. Before the super slide. Oh and there was a drive in on the corner of PCH and Crenshaw called Clancy's and mom used to buy me grilled cheese sandwiches there.

Lenita said...



Wow! You guys really came up with some good ones! We moved to Rolling Hills from Wilmington in 1952. My Father own a pharmacy at Crenshaw and Artesia, but you guys are really up with some ones. Del Conte's lost their lease and they knew they would have to close long before the owner died. I remember miniture golfing with my brother across the street from Del Conte's and yes there was a go carts nearby too! Clancys was on the corner. Pup N Taco Redondo Beach best icee's ever. A and w in Walteria! Root Beer freezes! Blum's restaurant was next to our Pharmacy and before that is was called Archies! They had a lollipop tree! Marcy's held on to the bare end. They just were not doing any business. So Sad.And in High school we would come home from a big party. then push a car quietly out the driveway and head the Parasol and order Bumbershoots (patty melts) and Malts. Torrance is and was a very nice City.I remeber the stip mall behind the Parasol. There was a Barbershop there too, where Dad would get his hair cut. Thank goodness the old Hot N Tot is still there!

Anonymous said...

No one's mentioned Woody's at S. PCH and PV Blvd. I can't remember its full name. Nowadays I think the spot is Rock N Brews (and was Tony Roma's for a long time). But Woody's was a great family place. They had a do-it-yourself sundae machine that us kids went nuts over.

Sam Wa said...

I believe you mean Sir George's Smorgasbord.

Anonymous said...

RG

I will always remember swimming at the Torrance plundge, then going across the street to ANGIE'S PIZZA and eating a slice of peanut butter pizza. Angie's was next door to the liquor store at the strip mall on madrona & torrance blvd. great memories.

Anonymous said...

I will always remember swimming at the Torrance plundge, then going across the street to ANGIE'S PIZZA and eating a slice of peanut butter pizza. Angie's was next door to the liquor store at the strip mall on madrona & torrance blvd. great memories.

Margaret said...

I remember most of these things, too. I was in Girl Scouts and we got to participate in "The Marriage of the Malls" when the Fashion Square Mall and Del Amo were officially joined by an enclosed bridge. I remember we handed out boxed slices of "wedding cake" with "wedding rings" attached.
I vaguely remember Pixieland (?) It had kiddie rides and was near an old fashioned McDonald's and a park, but can't remember where it was. I also remember walking to an old fashioned Foster Freeze at the corner of President Ave and PCH.
Someone mentioned the Southbay Swim Club on Lomita Blvd, that was a favorite place to hang out. Also, the snack bar on the sand at Torrance Beach served hot, greasy french fries. There was Russell's Burgers in the Lucky Market parking lot at Western and Lomita. Pat's Toy Store was in that shopping center too. Anyone remember the tiny Lomita Library that was near Dutch Boy Paint and across from Hall's Five and Dime (?) Also, the old fashioned Taco Bell on Lomita Blvd with the fire pit on the patio?

Chuck Semonian said...

Yes, and real a&w glass mugs--some very small. Their root beer floats were spectacular in those frosted glass mugs.

Chuck Semonian said...

I think it was on Redondo not far from the Roadium. And I think at least a couple of the owner's daughters went to school at North High. Very nice people as I recall. There also was one of the first Sizzler restaurants near the Roadium--extremely limited menu with a steak, a salad with one cherry tomato & blue cheese dressing, and I think a baked potato. Not much else. It was delicious. AND they always had sawdust on the floor.

Chuck Semonian said...

Yes, and there was a restaurant ant,near Gemco,called the Fortune Room where you grilled your own steaks. Fantastic!

Chuck Semonian said...

There was a McDonald's at Crenshaw and Artesia. I remember when they closed in the 60's and I thought they were just going to remodel. Then I saw a handwritten note on the window saying, "we're closing and never reopening." Very sad. I also remember Scott's or Scotty's burgers at the South Bay Mall. They were about 11 cents each.The bakery nearby made the most delicious chocolate chip whipped cream cake.

Chuck Semonian said...

The Helms man bringing donuts,etc down the street in those spiffy vans. What a trip.

Chuck Semonian said...

And Farrell's had a big production if it was your birthday, with drums and horns.

Chuck Semonian said...

I do remember the Van de Kamp bakery. Damn, it was like going to Solvang.

Chuck Semonian said...

I worked at the Marineland gift store as a teen and met great kids also working there. Our supervisor, Mr Safady, was a sweetheart and quite a character, God Bless him.

Chuck Semonian said...

Also worked at the Palos Verdes post office with a lot of great people. Our supervisors were May Iverson and Mr Amoroso

Chuck Semonian said...

Sears had,byfar,the best spice drops at that candy counter

Chuck Semonian said...

Okay. We came from a hick town in Connecticut in the 60's and when we went to the Velvet Turtle and were served chilled forks with our salads,we felt like Beverly Hills movie stars.

Chuck Semonian said...

Remember all those African wood carvings at Akron? Masks, animals, and tribesmen. Very exotic. Great buys

Chuck Semonian said...

I think on the north side of Redondo Blvd, east of Crenshaw. They had a cactus on their sign, as I recall. Lovely family business