306 W. Valencia Ave. Burbank, CA, 1979


 

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Last week, I ventured along Victory Boulevard in Burbank.

And I came across a one-story stucco building at 306 W. Valencia Ave. built in 1940, with round porthole windows and horizontally striped overhangs.

I posted photos of the structure on this blog which Dwayne Baldridge saw.

Mr. Baldridge was connected to 306 W. Valencia Ave. and had spent time there in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He sent me photos some of that era which I am posting below.

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“My new (now ex) wife leaning against our 1970 Mustang in front of our apartment looking east, just a couple of days after our wedding, taken 7/2/81″

 

 

"My Mother, Father, younger Brother, Maternal Grandfather and Grandmother at a simple party to celebrate my Grandparents Anniversary taken in late 1979."

“My Mother, Father, younger Brother, Maternal Grandfather and Grandmother at a simple party to celebrate my Grandparents Anniversary taken in late 1979.”

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“Me with my girlfriend on our first official date around June 1979″

Speaking at the Van Nuys Planning Summit


On March 26, 2015, I was invited to address the opening of a new Van Nuys Planning Summit held at the Marvin Braude Center. The event was created and sponsored by Quirino De La Cuesta and the Van Nuys Community Council.

Here I am in the beginning of the tape, delivering remarks.

Charm’s End.


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If one were seeking calmness, emptiness, and quiet, a strange but real place to find it might be found on Victory Boulevard, north of Alameda in Burbank.

Here, after 6pm, on a Friday evening, between the close of business and the setting of the sun, I walked, with a friend and a camera, along this stretch.

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Back here, in the shadow of the mountains, somewhere east of the Golden State Freeway, the old Burbank hangs on, consistent in its ethos of cleanliness, orderliness, workaday business and enterprise, un-self conscious, without irony, quietly fixing cars; selling donuts, batteries, oil and lube jobs.

One-story buildings are occasionally broken up by 1970s English style castles and 1990s glass block offices. But the silent majority of style remains firmly in Dwight D. Eisenhower’s hands. There is no litter, no graffiti, no people selling things on the sidewalk, no people laying on the sidewalk or sleeping on benches, no dog shit on the grass.

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But some people are suffering behind the tidiness.

At the very beginning of our walk, a middle-aged man was smoking a cigarette outside of a motel near Frank’s Restaurant. He told us he was an animator and had two sons, ages 13 and 15. He had lost his job, and later his home, and was evicted and now living in temporary housing room with his kids. He was white, and perhaps a little younger than me, friendly and well-spoken.

Yet, he too embodied something old and old time in his friendliness, as if he had stepped out of the Great Depression and into one of Dorothea Lange’s photographs.

I didn’t take his picture but his words are seared into me.

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Mostly Wholesome Van Nuys


Valley Times (1946-70) once published in the San Fernando Valley until it went bankrupt.

45,000 of its images are now being digitized and will be available online at the LA Public Library. To search for the images you must go here. Then enter “Valley Times and Van Nuys” in the “Keywords” box. Over 1,700 images will come up. Unfortunately, that is about the best search advice I can give. 

The booming Valley back then, seemingly a more wholesome and happier place, also includes many images of Van Nuys, some of which I’ve posted down below.

New boys and girls music groups at Van Nuys Junior High School, 5453 Vesper Av.  1/23/65

New boys and girls music groups at Van Nuys Junior High School, 5453 Vesper Av. 1/23/65

2/19/65: Motion Picture Club Camera's Dancers at Valley College.

2/19/65: Motion Picture Club Camera’s Dancers at Valley College.

2/23/65: Kids protest new anti-skateboard ordinance at Van Nuys City Hall.

2/23/65: Kids protest new anti-skateboard ordinance at Van Nuys City Hall.

10/8/64: Actress daughter sentenced to 30 days in jail for drunk charge.

10/8/64: Actress daughter sentenced to 30 days in jail for drunk charge.

8/27/64: Registration at Valley College.

8/27/64: Registration at Valley College.

11/16/64: Nazi gear found in trunk of man arrested for possession of tear gas.

11/16/64: Nazi gear found in trunk of man arrested for possession of tear gas.

11/20/64: Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Van Nuys, CA. Out patient clinic.

11/20/64: Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Van Nuys, CA. Out patient clinic.

3/4/64: New road signs in Los Angeles?

3/4/64: New road signs in Los Angeles?

5/24/63: Cesspool Protest at Valley Municipal Building, Van Nuys, CA.

5/24/63: Cesspool Protest at Valley Municipal Building, Van Nuys, CA.

12/3/63: New Fiat 1500 Spyder Convertibles arrive.

12/3/63: New Fiat 1500 Spyder Convertibles arrive.

Yesterday was CicLAvia


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Yesterday, Sunday, March 22nd, was CicLAvia in the San Fernando Valley.

Lankershim Boulevard, from Chandler to Ventura, and Ventura to Coldwater Canyon, was closed to cars.

I rode from my house near Sepulveda and Victory to the starting line at North Hollywood Station.

It was foggy.

Mayor Eric Garcetti: articulate, young and progressive, spoke before the opening.

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It was a perfect San Francisco day to ride bikes in Los Angeles.

Cool, overcast, gentle.

And the sometimes indifferent people were seemingly transformed into better ones.

A cop saw me inflating my bike tire before the race and said, “Let me walk you down to where they have a bike repair station.”

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Shopkeepers along the route waved and handed out chapstick, water, and energy bars.

In Studio City, I stopped and ate a Belgian waffle at Waffles DeLiege food truck.

Fortified and energized I turned around and rode the route back to the starting point in North Hollywood. And continued down Chandler.  Making my way home, under trees and cloudy skies, along deserted streets .

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Alma Imogene Payne Waters (1922 – 2014) at 14336 Gilmore St., 1952


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Don Waters (b. 1954), who grew up in Van Nuys and now lives in Missouri, has been a longtime reader of this blog.

After seeing my recent photos of Gilmore Street, he recognized one particular bungalow court at 14336.

His parents, Donald (1929-2007) and Alma (1922-2014) had lived there in the early 1950s.

A 2007 obituary provides some family biography.

Don, very considerately, sent me a 1952 photograph of his mother, standing in the courtyard of the complex.

It must have been a quite pleasant neighborhood to live in: schools, government offices, stores, and churches, within walking distance.

In 1952, the San Fernando Valley was on the precipice of speeding into the future full throttle.

And now, in 2015, we look back and wonder what went so very wrong.

Nobody wears skirts in Van Nuys anymore.

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Gilmore St.- Diptychs


Here are six diptychs I created from yesterday’s walk down Gilmore St. between Kester and Tyrone.

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“You write a blog to improve Van Nuys? That’s good cause this place needs a lot of improvement.”-Man at Central Lutheran Church

 

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