Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vintage Postcards, Balboa, California - Part Two

Here is part TWO featuring Steve Stuart's scans and excellent text featuring some beautiful beaches and high-priced real estate (today, anyway). I love these postcards because they are so "California" to me. Here's Steve:


Here are two views of the Balboa Pier, which unlike the views seen in the previous post, sits upon the Pacific Ocean – the first view from 1956, followed by a more panoramic view of the area, taken in the early 1960’s.  Just look at all those happy ‘anglers’ hoping for the occasional nibble.  Hey – just as on Tom Sawyer Island-!

The large island “behind” the pier is Balboa Island, and the small island to its left is the ‘tony’ Lido Isle – one of its former residents being John Wayne.  And in the distance, we can see both the Lower & Upper Newport Bay.  Back to the pier, the location where the little building is sitting at its end, now houses a Ruby’s Diner.

Looking southwest, and with Lido Isle as a backdrop, The Balboa Bay Club sits prominently down front.  Today the ‘Club’ has grown to astronomical proportions, enlarging just about everything on its property, including their rental and long-term residences.

Here are three views from 1956/57 showing the ‘main drag’ on Balboa Island:  Marine Avenue.  

This first image from 1956 was taken, looking north at the intersection of Marine & Park Avenues.  The Market Spot [featuring Van de Kamp’s baked goods-!], originally owned by Tony and Mina Hirshi (later changed to Hershey) is now named after them [Hershey’s], and although not operated by the Hershey family, the property is still owned by them, by gum-!

Howdy – moving a little bit farther north down Marine Avenue, we see a slightly different view.  Of special note is the blue, two-toned 1956 Studebaker down front, next to that red, 1956 Chevrolet.

And finally, we move even farther north down Marine Avenue to the intersection of Balboa Avenue.  Boardman’s, on the left, now houses several shops, including Balboa Candy on the corner.  The Cottage Waffle Shop next store now appears to be Barolo By the Sea Fine Italian Cuisine.  In the distance, we can just see the bridge connecting the island to the mainland.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip back to Balboa.  It certainly brought back some great memories for me.

Many thanks to Steve for all of the scans and all of the great info. I sure wish I could go back in time and see Balboa the way it was 50 or 60 years ago!


K. Martinez said...

Marine Avenue looks quite nice. So many cool looking cars too. The postcard of visitors on the pier reminds me of the days spent fishing off the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf with my dad when I was a youngster. Out of curiosity, I was looking at current pics of Balboa Island. Definitely high priced real estate. Thanks for sharing, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve and Major for posting these.

From childhood, I remember once taking the ferry across, but can't recall which way.

I recently had a business meeting in Corona Del Mar and we drove down the street in today's post, looking for dinner. It looks very much the same today, although the surrounding areas have been heavily developed. I can't recall where we ended up, but it was good.

Also, there is a pretty cool tiki bar over on the other shore, "Billy's at the Beach", whose MaiTais are a sure bet.

Lido is an Italian word for beach and conjures up associations with the Lido island in the Venice lagoon, a destination for sophisticated travelers for over a thousand years.

Now, thanks to GDB and Steve, we can all qualify.


Melissa said...

Oh, my gorillas, what a post! Big thanks to Steve & the Maj for the bounty!

#1 So much peoplewatching potential! I think my favorite may be the lady front and center in the red trousers and matching red shoes. People don't wear enough red shoes.
I wonder if the man standing on one foot stepped in something - stray bait? He doesn't look like he's in the right position for tying a loose shoe lace.

#3 Dig that Balboa Bay Club sign! Now THAT'S how you create an atmosphere before you even get in the building.

#4 DRUGS! DRUGS! DRUGS! You want 'em! We got 'em!
How adorable is that little blue windmill on the former Van de Kamp’s sign?!?
And that sweet little red car parked in front of The Market Spot! It looks like a VW beetle to me, of our time by but I'm not the vintage car identifier around here. Any little red car reminds me of my Grandma.

#5 Sweeeeeet rides.

#6 The fourth little pig built his cottage out of waffles. The big bad wolf ate him out of house and home.

Nanook said...

@ Ken-
I suppose you could say Marine Ave. is the little main street of Balboa Island. And you're welcome..

@ JG-
I love foreign travel by mere association. I feel so continental, all of a sudden. Olé-!

@ Melissa-
Red has most-definitely fallen out of favor as a fashion go-to color. Unlike in the 1950's, were it seemed to be a staple in everyone's wardrobe. I was wondering if that pile of 'white something' on the "counter" where our red-clad lady is standing was a pile of newspapers, or a pile of crushed ice-? (One can only imagine the 'delightful odor' around that area from all the fish being cleaned, etc.)

The man standing on one foot was merely struggling to attain a proper Vrikshasana pose, but as we can see, he has failed miserably.

Van de Kamp's Bakery, for those unacquainted with this old southern California tradition, was a bakery whose products were carried in local supermarkets, in addition to many stand-alone restaurants that also featured their baked goods and later frozen foods. In 1938, Lawrence Frank & Walter Van de Kamp opened Lawry's - the Prime Rib. Lawry's is also known for their famous Seasoned Salt, spices and salad dressings.

That "little red car" parked in front of Allen's Pharmacy - perhaps making a Miltown run-? - is in actuality a 1950 Ford. And the brown convertible parked in front of the Market Spot is also a Ford - I believe a 1951 (could be a 1950 - just not enough resolution for a positive ID).

Hmmmm - and I thought waffles were the prefect wolf repellant-?

Matthew said...

Too funny. This post is all about Newport Beach... right where I work. I work at the big hospital on the hill... it could be mistaken for a hotel... Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. Opened in 1952... and just last week we celebrated our 65th anniversary. Well I guess I should go outside and enjoy the view... looks pretty similar to card #3.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...

@ Matthew-

Yes, but how can you see past [around- through] the Balboa Bay Club-??

Anonymous said...

@Nanook, for guys like me, with no class of my own, aspirations to others' sophistication is the only achievable substitute.

I'm glad Melissa called out the VanDeKamps sign, that was a favorite stop on our Disney visits. They had a restaurant in Buena Park that must have been an easy drive from Disney, I recall it as the breakfast of choice on the morning after, before the long drive. The folded plate roof design made these buildings landmarks of Googie architecture and the nightmare of roofing and waterproofing installers simultaneously.

Thanks for the tip about the Lawry's connection to VanDeKamps. Did not know that. Lawry's, another long-standing Southland classic business that survives to this day. The Beverly Hills location features in the Philip Marlowe novels by Raymond Chandler.


Anonymous said...

Here's a link to a story about the last surviving Van De Kamp restaurant with a windmill on the roof. Originally a pale blue, like the sign in today's GDB post.



Melissa said...

"...featured their baked goods and later frozen foods."

I *wondered* if they had anything to do with Van de Kamp's fish sticks! I always thought they were better than Gorton's of Gloughcester.

Nanook said...

@ JG-

No class-??!! Oh, please-! You're on this site, aren't you-? That's 'class-enough' for most folks.

Well - I never thought I'd have much to say in the positive-direction when it comes to Denny's, but if for no other reason than the folks "in-charge" @ Denny's thought it would be "good publicity" to maintain the classic Van de Kamp's windmill - even if in "non decorator-approved" colors of orange and yellow-? - I tip my chapeau. (Does anyone else remember one of their slogans from the 1960's, which simply stated: Denny's - Always Pleases. I believe it was the precursor on their signage to 'Always Open'. Probably fewer lawsuits that way).

@ Melissa-

They are one and the same - Van de Kamp's & the sticks, that is.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, what a neat little town! I've only driven through it once and it was late at night, so I didn't really get to see much of anything. Are those eucalyptus trees lining the street and are they still standing today? Oh, and that Ruby's Diner that you mentioned is the very first Ruby's and it is celebrating it's 35th anniversary this year.

JG, you beat me to the info about the last standing Van de Kamp's Restaurant in Arcadia. Thanks for that link! I had no idea that they fixed the windmill last year so that it would turn again. That makes me very happy. So they actually don't ruin EVERYTHING.....just almost everything!

Melissa, I remember those little Van de Kamp's signs outside of grocery stores. The little windmills on them turned as well. And don't you "trust the Gorton's fisherman"?

JG said...

@Tokyo, you are welcome!

Now that you mention it, I do recall the little signs outside grocery markets in the Central Valley, not sure which stores though. We could buy Van De Kamp baked goods in those markets. But all the restaurants were in the Southland as far as I know. Back then there were lots of products that we couldn't get at home, only in LA area, or even Bakersfield. That's mostly changed now.

Re: the eucalyptus, yes, those were standing as of my last visit in 2015, trimmed up a bit. Street looked much the same as Nanook's pics except for car models.