Monday, March 19, 2007

Sites to visit in O.C. before they disappear

I’m starting a list of places in Orange County that are endangered or on their way out. These are places worth visiting and possibly photographing if you’re interested in Orange County and its history. Feel free to post additions to the list by clicking the “comments” link at the bottom of this post.

  1. Hobby City, Beach Blvd, Stanton/Anaheim: Many of the shops have already closed their doors. But there’s still time to see the Doll Museum, housed in a replica of the White House. Also see the model shop, the Cabbage Patch mural, tikis carved by Milan Guanko, the coin and stamp shop, the rock and gem store, and (if you have kids) the Adventure City amusement park.

  2. Movieland Wax Museum, Beach Blvd., Buena Park: It’s already closed and empty, but you can still visit the footprintsand signatures of the stars in the front courtyard, as well as replicas of Michelangelo’s David and the façade of Mann’s Chinese Theater. (See photo above.)

  3. The Book Baron, Anaheim: The 800 lb. gorilla of O.C. used book stores has announced it will be closing soon unless they find a buyer. This is so sad.

  4. San Juan Creek Bridge, Ortega Hwy, above San Juan Hot Springs: This historic landmark seems a likely victim as the highway undergoes major changes.

  5. Sam’s Seafood, PCH, Sunset Beach: One of the last of the Polynesian-style restaurants and tiki bars. The doors are closed now, but you can still take pictures of the place and its iconic swordfish-shaped sign.

  6. The old County Hospital building, Orange: Now part of the UCI Medical Center. This was originally known as the Orange County Hospital and Poor Farm. No rumors are circulating about this place (that I know of), but with all the building and changes going on around there, I can't help but be pessimistic about its odds of long-term survival.

  7. The Reuben E. Lee, Newport Harbor: It doesn’t look good for the faux-steamboat. The Newport Harbor Nautical Museum moved out of this old restaurant, but they don’t seem to be able to find a buyer. The overall push seems to be toward making it disappear.

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