Friday, May 14, 2010

Hobby City, Before & After (Part 2)

Another thing that's now missing from Hobby City is the Dugout -- a sports card and collectibles shop. The building itself was pretty nondescript (see the before and after pictures below). But click to enlarge the image above and see what the mural on the back of the building looked like. It may have been the most 1980s-ish spot in all of Orange County.
The mural was painted by K.G. Farrah in 1985, one year after the official Cabbage Patch Kid Adoption Center opened immediately across the walkway. Demand in America was so high for these weird little dolls that Hobby City staff actually flew to Europe and other parts of the world to buy more of them and have them shipped back. It was actually worth the cost of the plane tickets and shipping! During the Christmas season, the starting price for Cabbage Patch Kids was $70 each. In 1985, the shop expanded and added “nurses,” a “viewing room,” and “incubators.”
The before and after photos below show the view from the Starr St. entrance to Hobby City in 2006 and today. The buildings that once housed the watch shop, the wildlife museum, Radical Reptiles, and other businesses are now long gone, replaced by additional parking for the White House Events Center.
If anyone knows how I can contact Kevin Dunn or Chris Rayburn, who I believe ran the Radical Reptiles store, I'd appreciate a lead (via email, please: cjepsen at socal dot rr dot com). No, they don't owe me money or an iguana or anything. I just want to ask them a couple things about the building their shop was in.
This last photo shows another building that disappeared from the Hobby City property in the last year or two. I'd figure this to be a 1920s-ish house, and I've always wanted to know more about it. One of the neat things about Hobby City was that it was chock-full of little urban archaeological mysteries like this.
It's slightly less chock-full of them now, but still interesting. I'm sure I'll write something resembling an actual history of the place sometime in the future -- Maybe for a future issue of Orange Countiana?


giddy girlie said...

I loved taking my dolls to the Cabbage Patch Kid shop for a "check up"! The doctor would examine your Kid and you could use the stethoscope to listen to the heartbeat and everything. It was awesome.

One of the places that I miss the most is the miniatures store. It was fascinating and also where I bought my first miniature dollhouse that I built with my dad. Lots of good memories of that place!

Let's Talk Knott's said...

Great posts Chris. I loved Hobby City as a kid. You wouldn't happen to have any old pictures of the train before it was absorbed into Adventure city would you?

Chris Jepsen said...

LTK: I wish I did

mymy10 said...

Was the cabbage patch adoption center in the white building next to the yellow house looking shop? or was it always in front facing beach blvd?

Bonny Morgan said...

HiThere! I want to get in on the Hobby City conversation! I worked there over a three year period when I was in high school. I worked in the White House Doll Museum with Bea, Linda, and Esther. I worked at the Yellow house Doll Shop, I worked at the Antique shop, and the Bear Tree. I have many fond memories of the whole family. They treated me like their family, and Bea was a remarkable woman! She showed me extraordinary kindness while I worked there. I moved to another country and have not been back for years! Returned there last week to find that hardly anyone who works there now has even heard of Bea. The doll museum is an events center. I will always have my memories though! Thanks for your memory of Hobby City too!

Gordon Ledgerwood said...

I just took drove through Hobby City yesterday and the only shops left are a sports card store, party supply and a hobby shop. I have a picture of the Children's Nature Museum which I took a few years back here Adventure City is still looking good however the area is looking even more run down than ever. The Piano store next to Adventure City is boarded up and there seem to be quite a few ladies of the night strolling nearby Beach Blvd.

Chaz Clover said...

Back in the early 70s I worked at the Aquarium At Hobby City. It was a nice, well stocked tropical fish shop run my a lady named Jacky Welsh. Good times and Hobby City was so cool.

Gordon Ledgerwood said...

A little update the piano store has been rebuilt.

Adventure City is in the process of building a new 2 million dollar coaster, replacing the wild mouse coaster.

There lots of of hookers and homeless roaming that area of Beach Blvd. Some things never change.

Amanda Vallin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda Vallin said...

What year did the Cabbage Patch adoption center close? I remember my granny taking me there as a child whenever I went to visit her! I loved it there!