Certainly not J.J. Newberry’s. This national chain of dime stores left downtown Los Angeles in 1998. Are there any left anywhere? Doubt it, but I happened to catch this one being dismantled including the neon signage. Are these fine huge letters currently on the wall of some rich fiend? Probably cut up for scrape metal long ago.
Some old friends from Berkeley days were in town and wanted to reconnect with our 1930s Union Train Station. It’s a time capsule classic, beautifully preserved with little of the reconstitution work seen in many revived historic sites. One member of our troupe had read the biography of Mary Colter, the woman who designed the station’s adjacent Fred Harvey restaurant and bar. We looked at her work through locked glass doors and also wondered what other work she might have contributed to the interior of station such as the magnificent tiles, stenciled ceilings, floor design and acoustic siding that effectively quiets reverb in airplane sized structure. Meanwhile, I recalled a color slide I took of a pair of blue ceramic drinking fountains set against a backsplash of magnificent train station tile and was determined to show off my memory to my pals. Unfortunately, the fountains were no where to be found except on my old slide which I had miraculously saved from a trash heap of accumulated history I’ve been weeding through these past several years. Long live ceramic blue fountains and their four armed handles for all to drink from.
The Pig ‘N Whistle – renovated on Hollywood Blvd or rather reconstituted a few years back into something resembling what it looked like back in the 1920’s when it was neighbor to the Egyptian Theater – itself now reconstituted into something resembling what it looked like back in the 1920s. But one day in 1998 – years before both reconstitutions had taken place, I was walking Broadway Blvd in downtown Los Angeles when I saw an old Pig ‘N Whistle sign fighting to reassert itself behind a coverup job by KFC. I like to think that for a moment the pig was stronger than the chicken and pushed the half-baked bird off its perch, showing off to anyone who might have noticed the location of one of the many old & long deceased P ‘N W restaurants.
For more details on the history and locations of this chain of pig joints – which apparently started in downtown San Fran – check out this blog: http://restaurant-ingthroughhistory.com/2011/05/26/famous-in-its-day-pign-whistle/