Westwood in the 1970s

Kim Bunje
Kim Bunje
Norm Neal
Norm Neal
Bill Gabel
Bill Gabel
Bill Koegler
Bill Koegler
Jay Jennings
Jay Jennings
Bobby Cole
Bobby Cole
Arnold Freeman
Arnold Freeman

On Facebook (of course) there is a group called “Westwood Village in the 70s and 80s.”

Photos used in this post come from that page and are duly credited.

I wasn’t there back then, so I cannot attest to the apparent excitement, vibrancy, energy and entertainment that existed in that district forty years ago. All I know is that many say Westwood is in decline.

Los Angeles is a faddish city. Nobody in the 1970s would have thought Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Atwater Village, Downtown Los Angeles or Third Street Santa Monica to be cool. They were dead places back then, not yet discovered or annointed as the haven for young consumerism.

And remember Melrose and its heyday in the 1980s? That street has largely been forgotten, its stores a seedy and tacky collection of crap.

But Westwood, and its empty stores, its empty sidewalks, is more of a mystery since it is surrounded by afffluence, and set in a historic, climate- controlled pleasantness with a veneer of historic architecture.  One would think that walkable Westwood would still draw in the crowds.

Will the new subway along Wilshire help? Transit and new development have revitalized Hollywood, brought it up from its fifty year slump, and turned it into a crowded destination again. Who, even twenty years ago, would have imagined Hollywood as it is today with gleaming tall buildings, many restaurants, clubs, bars and packed with crowds day and night?

The cyclical nature of Los Angeles, its glib and shifting tastes and shallow urbanism is also a reason for hope. What is down and out today can become the new destination of up and coming tomorrow.

Van Nuys anybody?

The DePauk Family in Van Nuys.




Gilmore studio


Phil DePauk, who now lives in Virginia, has been a follower of this blog for a few years
and he graciously sent me some new (old) photos from his family archives. He is the young boy in these photos.

Phil DePauk and his extended family lived in Van Nuys in the 1940s and 50s and operated a well-known local photo studio located at Gilmore and Van Nuys Bl. It closed in the early 1960s.


One of the other addresses that pops up is: 14204 Haynes St. a block located just west of Hazeltine. Phil either lived or spent time here.

A recent Google Maps view shows that the neighborhood is still single-family residential, but now many of the once plain and friendly houses are sheathed in ironwork and other embellishments of modern paranoia.


There are many cars in these photos. Phil’s father worked at Wray Brothers Ford which was located near the intersection of Calvert and VNB, two blocks n. of Oxnard.

I wrote to Phil this morning to clarify some family facts and here are his words:

“My Dad worked as a mechanic at Wray Brothers Ford from 1948 to 1958.

After Ford, my Dad worked at Pacific Tire and Battery Co. on Sylvan St. across from the old library.

My Uncle Ed (now age 83, sharp as a tack and living in Canoga Park) started working at California Bank (Sylvan and VN Blvd) after his discharge from the Army.

He subsequently worked at numerous other banks before retiring as a Vice President. My Uncle Dan was the manager of the McMahans used furniture store before his transfer to Marysville. My Uncle Bill started his own photo studio in North Hollywood. My Uncle Ed lives in Canoga Park and always enjoys reliving memories and making new friends if you have an interest.”

1981: Burbank Boulevard at Fulton Ave – SP 2658

Terry Guy has an excellent collection of photos on his Flickr page chronicling North Hollywood and the old Southern Pacific line which ran along today’s Metro Orange Line Busway.

Photo above (near Valley College) is the intersection now converted into a landscaped bike/bus transit line.

Life has improved (sporadically and unevenly) in parts of Los Angeles, due in large part to investment in public transportation, which has lead to greater vitality and revitalization in formerly neglected parts of the city. One can see evidence of that in Mr. Guy’s historic North Hollywood images.

“It Was So Much Better Back Then…”


There is a virtual place online where middle-aged mourners can gather to express their memories of a locale where towheaded youngsters, Brycreamed dads, and aproned moms drove in $4,000 Caddies along spotless streets and empty freeways and sent their kids to brand-new schools and inexpensive colleges, swam in sunny swimming pools, consumed burgers in drive-thrus, and went to happy factories in Van Nuys where cars popped off the assembly line like cookies in a bakery.

Valley Relics was started by Burbank native Tommy Gelinas and, in his words, “is a personal collection of rare photos, yearbooks, documents, postcards, toys, photo negatives, vintage signs, books, antiques, and artifacts from the 1800′s to present, from the San Fernando Valley.”

His Facebook page mirrors the website with daily updates and photos and comments on long gone places that once dotted the San Fernando Valley.

One of their most recent additions is from Gregg and Davida Symonds of Agoura. Gregg’s father, Bob Symonds, owned Sunset Farms in Sylmar and was the developer of Valley Plaza in North Hollywood.


Valley Relics seems to be enormously successful with 27,185 likes on FB.

It preserves the past and shows us what the San Fernando Valley looked like at one point in time.