Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa, Mission Viejo, the Evangeline Hotel, etc.

Young Henry Gonzales sits on Santa's lap at the White Front Store at 2222 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, in this photo from 1962. (Photo courtesy Anaheim Public Library.) You can tell it's the early '60s, because even Santa has an aluminum Christmas tree.
This color photo shows Santa and his elves in their workshop at,... Mission Viejo. (Thought I was gonna say the North Pole, didn'tcha?) This photo was taken just two years after the Mission Viejo Company -- which developed the entire area -- was taken over by cigarette-pimping Philip Morris Inc. I thought the photo (which comes to us courtesy the Mission Viejo Library) might have been taken at the Mission Viejo Mall, but the mall didn't open until 1979.
Our search for "historic parking lots" in Orange County continues, and comments continue to roll in. Phil Brigandi writes, "If the Orange Crush is ever ruled an official parking lot (as opposed to its current status as a de facto one), that will open up many possibilities for historic sites buried under concrete. First on my list would be the West Orange [Southern Pacific] depot."
Good news and bad news on the historic Evangeline Hotel (1906) at 421 8th St., Huntington Beach.
First, the bad news: The original carriage house was badly damaged in this last big storm. The roof collapsed due to what one knowledgeable observer called "water weight and wood rot caused by neglect" by the property's various owners over the years. Another pointed out that the barn was only still standing "because the termites were holding hands." The new owners have requested a demolition permit.
Now the good news: The Evangeline's new owners are a group of several developers from out of the area (I know this sounds like bad news, but stick with me) who want to restore the building and turn each floor into a condo-type vacation home for their own families. If the plans that were described to me are followed, it could be an very positive step for this important property.
As someone who wants to preserve what little remains of H.B.'s important historic structures, I'm unsure whether to come down on the side of saving the carriage barn, or whether to simply see it as the price that must be paid to see the Evangeline itself restored. Sometimes you have to compromise.

1 comment:

Connie Moreno said...

Aw, I actually miss White Front!