Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another helping of Anaheim & a dash of Torrance

I'm continuing the Anaheim theme today, beginning with another photo of Downtown Anaheim from June 1956. Again, click on the smaller inset image to zoom in on the details.
Recently, Anaheim's historical folks were responsible for another preservation victory -- And this time it didn't even take place in Anaheim. Cynthia Ward writes,
"Another victory, sort of Anaheim related, comes from Torrance. Some preservationists who live in the Old Olmstead Districts of Torrance contacted [the Anaheim Historical Society] a few years back, asking how Anaheim had stopped the bulldozers and developed [historical] districts. While that was done before my time, I met with them, and plugged them in with some of the people who had been involved. These poor people were literally where Anaheim was 20 years ago. The properties not being scraped by their redevelopment agency were upzoned to encourage private development. A driving tour of Torrance showed condo construction everywhere, with signs on the jobs saying, 'We buy empty lots and old houses' ...makes the blood boil. Anyway, thanks to all those folks who have given [Save Historic Old Torrance] some advice, because they are beginning to win the fight for preservation. They recently won the life of a little Spanish casita kit house at the Planning Commission level, and last night their City Council voted to not rehear the case. This in an environment where preservation was a joke for years!"
Term limits force preservationists to constantly educate new city officials. And it's no small victory when you discover that one or more of the bigwigs finally "get it." Recently, on the Anaheim Colony listserv, local realtor Barbara Gonzalez praised Anaheim's mayor, Curt Pringle for having a clue:
"He elaborated (off the cuff)... on the success of the Mills Act and Historic Preservation Programs in Anaheim and even asked Lisa Stipkovich when we would be moving from 3rd to 2nd place in California with the number of Mills Act Agreements. He is becoming very conversant about preservation and restoration efforts in Anaheim. When the Lemon/Water Phase 3 Project came up for approval, he described in detail the significance of these kinds of projects to our neighborhoods."
Tim at Vintage Disneyland Tickets just posted the entire Summer 1966 issue of Vacationland magazine (including a nice cover image of it's a small world). Go and bask in its Mid-Century Anaheim-y goodness.


Anonymous said...

Chris, they didn't save old Anaheim, at least not the downtown. Instead, they tore town most of the good old buildings and downtown shopping area with its well-laid-out parking lots (where we used to shop at the fine old hardware store and others in the mid 1960s), and built brand new tall 'modern' structures that completely changed the town. Residents protested to no avail, but at least were able to work hard to save their downtown homes and the park, which are still treasured today.
It's sad to see Torrance doing something similar. Don't people have eyes? Can't they see how peaceful the old streets are with trees and grassy lawn? (On the other hand, parts of Torrance were pretty run down and ugly for years, so it depends where the new townhouses are going - a good new building is preferable to one that's dirty and falling apart!) Some progress works well -- but not if it destroys fine old things. J. Moon

Chris Jepsen said...

Oh, I know most of old Anaheim was lost to the bulldozers. (In fact, about four or five different iterations of Downtown Anaheim have been built and destroyed over the years.) But eventually the locals DID manage to save some of the downtown neighborhoods and the park, and have really done a lot to improve the area. Rather than being demoralized by all the loss, people stood up and saved what they could of what was left.