What A Picture Can Do

November 2, 2011

During the summer, I wrote a post urgently requesting anyone with early pictures of Commercial Drive and Grandview to make them available for study by historians and those interested in heritage issues.

I wasn’t talking about art studies by famous photographers, either, but rather snapshots by locals.  If your Aunt Gertrude was visiting in 1940 to see cousin Billy’s hardware store and a picture was taken, that would be great.  Historians may not be so interested in Gertrude and Billy themselves, but what we might get to see behind them and beside them can add vital historical information not otherwise available. I’ll give you an example:

At the very beginning of 1936, the former Odlum property on the east side of the 1500-block Commercial, to the intersection with Grant, was being developed as a gas station for Signal Oil. On the other side of the street, local developer Angus Campbell had bought the two virtually-vacant lots on the corner with Grant. On pages 86-87 of “The Drive” I described these building projects which were completed by May 1936.   And I included a current photograph of the Campbell properties:

I had no reason to think the building had been altered since 1936.  However, we now have a wonderful image previously unseen from November 1937 that shows both the layout of the Signal Station on the east side but also, at the very right edge, a slice of the Blue Bird Beauty Salon on the west side:

This photograph shows that those stores were originally built as single-storey structures and the building was modified and enlarged sometime later: something I might not have known without this image. I’m sure that when Edward Odlum took the picture he was primarily interested in the developlment of the Odlum lots on the east side, but his snapshot has also helped illuminate the history of the west side.

So, do you or your family have a collection of pictures that might be of interest?   If you do, email me.  Thanks in advance!

Changes On The Drive #3

November 2, 2011

Time for another sweep along the Drive to see what’s been going on.

The old Leira Cafe site, Deja Vu (1840) and Soha (1830), Dairy Queen, the Sumo Teppanake place at Graveley, the two storefronts of the old Alpha Video store, and the former La Goulete are still vacant; but 1832 Commercial has now been taken by Expedia Cruise Ship Centers.

The old Falcone Bros. storefront hasn’t yet opened as the Falcone’s deli, but a lot of work has been done to the interior to get it ready. Similarly, the Pasture to Plate butchershop at 1420 Commercial seems about ready to open after  a long delay. Liberty Wines at the old Wazzubee site appears to be still awaiting licensing approval or some such as not much work is evident at this time.  That’s not the case at the old Renzo’s store on the corner opposite Grandview Park where work is progressing.

I have written elsewhere about the current troubles at the Brandon Block.

The building just to the south of Santa Barbara is for sale.  Back in 1946, local entrepreneur Clarence Webber purchased the lot and demolished the older buildings. By the spring of 1947 he had built a new structure:

When the building was almost complete, the Highland Echo described this as Grandview’s “most substantial building project since the outbreak of war.”  The two-storey frame and concrete structure was to be known as the Medical-Dental Building with its six upstairs suites “arranged for the use of doctors and dentists.” The building must have met a need because it quickly filled up with medical professionals.  Downstairs, Webber and his son Billy outfitted their brand new Webber’s Hardware store selling “builders and household hardware, tools, appliances, radios, stoves and other lines in demand in a busy and progressive suburb such as Grandview.”

Hopefully a new owner will appreciate the history attached to the building.

See previous Changes To Commercial Drive posts.

Diner #1

November 2, 2011