Saturday, January 23, 2016

Laguna Pottery Shack, 1950's

Laguna Beach is a beautiful community in California's Orange County; besides the lovely bluffs, coves and the beach, it is known today as having a thriving artist community. It includes the famous "Pageant of the Masters", as well as the not-quite-as-famous "Sawdust Festival". 

Today's photos feature the Pottery Shack, once located along South Coast Highway. As you can see, the Pottery Shack had a slightly funky vibe, resembling the front yard of a crazy neighbor who loves loves loves whirligigs, garden gnomes, plastic flamingos, bowling balls on sticks (yes, that's a thing), gazing balls, sundials, and so on. How about those awesome old cars? I am drawn to that little red number.

Here's a Google Maps "street view" screen cap showing the corner as it looks today. Notice the statue of the old man on the corner, a landmark of what is now known as "The Old Pottery Place". The cars? Not so great.

I love this closeup, with two ladies taking it all in. How can a person possibly choose?! I can't help wondering if the shop carried some of the beautiful Disney character figures made by the Brayton Laguna. Some of them now go for many hundreds of dollars today! 


Nanook said...


And "save up to 50%". Oh man - the bargains-!

And now to those fabulous 50's autos...
At the very, very far left - it could be a 1952 or '53 Oldsmobile. Next, I think we have a 1951 Pontiac Streamliner (Woody). Then a 1954 convertible Cadillac. On the corner, a black & white, 1954 Chevrolet. Then, Major - the car of your dreams - a 1953 red & white Plymouth. Behind it I'm gonna say a 1954 blue & white Dodge. Behind it we have a (I think a 1951 or '52 Buick - but we should be able to discern the "portholes" running along the upper front fender, and I don't see 'em). Then a light blue 1953 Pontiac. (Could be a 1953, but...). And beyond that, it's just too hard to discern.

Thanks, Major for sharing these wonderful moments from Laguna Beach.

walterworld said...

That statue at the site today is a likeness of this guy:

...who used to stand along the highway and call out for folks to drive in and see the Pottery Shack.

Nice detour Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Generic Bambi! Or is that Generic Bambi's Dad? I wonder if perhaps that is a tile mural on the second story of the one building that appears to have a flat roof in both of the vintage images, but now has a pitched roof in the modern day pic?

Scott Lane said...

I was gonna ask if that was an honest-to-god Woodie on the far left, but Nookie already answered that so I'll just say I love the detours, Maj. This stuff, along with the aerial shots of the DLH, are great. It's nice to get outta the park for a little while.

Unknown said...

I came in to mention the Laguna Beach greeter, or the "waver", as my memory would have recalled him. I think Interstate 5 must have been completed by the time I'm remembering ('62 or '63) but for some reason we went by the coast route when going North at least a few times.

K. Martinez said...

The Pottery Shack looks awesome. I am one of those crazy neighbors who has whirligigs, garden gnomes, gazing balls, statues, sculptures and water fountains in their yard and I love it! Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

@ Kenneth Lane-

By 1951 "the look of real wood is achieved through the use of..." in this case, probably DI-NOC, Architecural Finishes, from 3M. I should have been more specific.

Anonymous said...

The community lost something special with the closure of the Pottery Shack. So much fun to experience. They don't make them like that anymore! KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I noticed that, and wondered how much a large glazed pot would have gone for back then… I wanted to buy one for my mom a few years back, and the ones I liked were well over $100. Thanks for the car info, as always!

walterworld, thanks for the link to that article! I knew just a little about the greeter, but the Times article really went in depth. He sold butter in czarist Siberia!?!

TokyoMagic!, it is Bambi’s evil twin, Bumbi! If you could see the other side of his face, you’d notice the eyepatch, which is always a dead “evil twin” giveaway.

Kenneth Lane, ha ha, “Nookie”, I am going to have to resist using that moniker from now on!

Patrick Devlin, it sounds like your family explored the sights of SoCal in a similar way to my family, mostly at the encouragement of my grandparents. My grandfather was born in L.A., and he loved it!

K. Martinez, but you don’t have bowling balls on sticks, do you?!

Nanook, I always thought it was funny that once wood was deemed unnecessary (hard to care for, and there was plenty of post-war steel), people still wanted the look of wood, even if it was just a simulation. We had a blue Buick station wagon with “wood” paneling.

KS, part of the fun (and possibly heartbreak) of looking at vintage photos of places like this is to see the way they have changed. I always like the older photos best!

K. Martinez said...

@Major, No I don't! Bowling balls are hard on the toes when they break free off the stick.