Monday, February 25, 2008

Buffalo Ranch, OutsideTheBerm, Orange County Ice

"Texas Tiny" downs a buffalo burger at Newport Beach's old Buffalo Ranch in today's image. In this March 1955 photo, Buffalo Ranch head-honcho Gene Clark points and laughs at the enormous... sandwich.
Speaking of old Southern California tourist attractions, one of the better blogs dedicated to that subject is going into semi-retirement. OutsideTheBerm has provided us with some great images and interesting discussion-fodder since it went online. However, I understand that OTB's blogger-in-chief has some amazing real-world projects in the offing which we'll all enjoy. Stay tuned.
Warning: There's a little profanity and crudeness in the last segment of today's blog entry. If you're one of the rare squeemish readers who actually made it past the photo of Texas Tiny, this would be a good time to put on your peril-sensitive sunglasses.
Orange County Ice, at Claudina and Santa Ana St. in Anaheim, has been making ice since the 1920s when they packed it into citrus box cars for shipping. Unfortunately, the building is almost completely rotted out, making preservation impossible. Before we knew about the physical condition of the building, Keith Olson wrote an email that rode the line between rant and poetry. It illustrates how attached we become to buildings that remind us of an age before Walmart and mobile phones.
THIS SUCKS. I MEAN REALLY, REALLY SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"There are very few things I cherish (and the number is dwindling)

"There are very few things that are reliable, dependable, and consistent (and the number is dwindling)

"There are very few things that near perfection. Things that do one thing and do it very very very well. (and, yes, the number is dwindling).

"One thing that fits in all the above categories (and other similarly wonderful categories) is the ice house (or company if you wish) on Claudina and Santa Ana Streets. Orange County Ice, but we've always called it The Ice House. They make ice. A plain, square, ivy covered non descript building where they make ice. They've been there forever doing one thing and doing it perfectly. They're always there. They always have ice. You walk up the steps, hand the guy $8 and he goes into the giant freezer and brings you a big assed 50 lb bag of ice. Perfect. I always go there for ice. I love that place. I went there today with Charlie. We got ice. We got our $2 change from a ten. And a notice. They're moving to SANTAGODDAMNANA and will be gone at the end of March. Shit.

"The city bought the building. Gee I wonder what will happen to it.

"I hate everything about this. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the pubic regions of anyone even remotely involved in this despicable undertaking."


colony rabble said...

Always nice to see the poetic offerings of Keith. A crying shame the building is so far gone. The Anaheim Historical Society was prepared to write a Nat Register on it to stop RDA. but I got to see inside. 80 years of water has done its job to the massive timbers of the building. Yes, I cried, nearly as hard as Keith apparently. Could it be saved? Well as we all know, with enough time and money anything can be done. But in light of fighting hard to get ANYBODY to rescue the Packing House, I am having a hard time justifying asking them to take such a huge loss on the ice house too! But if we can find a NEW LOCATION for the ice company to keep them in Anaheim, that would be awesome! Somebody find us a warehouse. Quick. I am pretty fried with RDA for not relocating them locally. I buy my ice there too, and my kids are going to be plenty POed at Halloween when that block of dry ice is not right around the corner.

Chris Jepsen said...

Thanks for the additional information, CR. Clearly you and Keith weren't the only ones who felt strongly about the ice house. As a non-Anaheim-resident, I never knew about this place until now. But I've certainly received some impassioned emails about it in the past week or so.

KeithO said...

A brief comment on the comments on my comment. Nothing is "impossible" in the world of preservation, lest of all some rotted wood, with the possible exception of even having the concept embraced by government or the development community with the same passion with which they embrace D-10's and the color beige. In Anaheim, a city with very few (until recently) preservation efforts and decades of lost opportunities to it's credit, one need only to look at the 5 points building which would easily fit into the same "impossible" category, yet was reduced to a frame of petrified 2x4's, moved, and is in the process of being restored to make this arguement. The only thing missing here is desire. Add to that the fact that the business is being relocated to another city. A business that existed in Anaheim, employeed people, and generated tax revenues for nearly 90 years. Aparently there are no available light industrial vacancies in Anaheim and we have all the revenue we need. No, the fact of the matter is that this building and this business just didn't fit into the new image. We don't need a centry old thriving business, we need some more condos.

Chris Jepsen said...

Keith: If you don't like "impossible," how about "mind-bogglingly difficult and super-duper unlikely?"

For starters, I don't think that tearing something down to a few studs and starting over counts as "restoration." (Just as I don't think that saving one wall and a chimney on a house and then rebuilding is a "remodel.") It may be a fine idea, but it's more of a replica than a restoration.

But I agree with you on everything else you said here. Most SoCal cities are more than happy to eradicate their character, personality, and heritage if they think they can squeeze in a few more beige stucco condos.

outsidetheberm said...

Well, on a lighter note, 'Texas Tiny' is a real hoot! Thanks for sharing that (I think).

Thank you also for the kind words about our blog, 'Outsidetheberm'. We won't be retiring any time soon, but current (very exciting)projects have us 'tied down' for a little while. Keep checking the blog - we'll be back!

Thanks again.

itsnotaplace said...

That is a really funny picture of 'Texas Tiny'! Was that totally staged or did they really make buns that big (I mean... on the burger) for the buffalo burgers?

Gustavo Arellano said...

My grandpa used to pack oranges at that building back when they packed oranges there, and we still buy ice there to this day.

By the way, Chris, you never did link to my cover story a couple of weeks ago about Emilio Martinez, Orange County's Woody Guthrie. You really should read the Weekly every week (and our blog every day), as we're the only MSM publication left that treats history as living and breathing instead of an artifact.

Chris Jepsen said...

Gustavo: I’m mildly amazed/amused that you call the Weekly a MSM (mainstream media) publication. I thought they prided themselves on being O.C.’s “alternative” publication. (Which means they have lots of ads for tattoo parlors.) :-)

You're right about the article on Martinez. It's interesting and worthy of discussion on several levels. I'll add it to my list of things to post.