October 14, 2013

Photo Essay: Relics from The Valley (Updated for 2018)

Ed 12/30/18: In 2018, Valley Relics Museum moved from Chatsworth to a new location at Van Nuys Airport. You can read about it in my post here

For archival purposes, I'm keeping this post up as-is. - Sandi

This weekend marked the grand opening of Valley Relics, the new museum devoted to archived ephemera (matchbooks, etc.) and salvaged signage and other glorious gems of commercial archaeology, all centered around defunct and extant businesses of the San Fernando Valley, up over the hill from what most of us think of as LA.

Former Valley Girls and Guys - now into their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond - lined up under the hot sun, in the Saturday Valley heat, to catch a glimpse of their own past, the signs they used to drive by, the businesses they used to frequent after school.

So what was I doing there, never a resident of the Valley, and only a recent transplant to LA?

I guess I can't get enough of commercial archaeology. I love to see those signs get saved and put on display.

I'd first heard of Valley Relics earlier this year, when local news reported that the Googie-style signs from recently-closed Henry's Tacos, apparently a Valley institution, would be added to their collection.

I've never been to Henry's Tacos, or Chez Nous, or many of the establishments represented here...

...but they are in good company with Bob's Big Boy (a personal obsession)...

...with many signs still lit...

...(though not all)...

...and other signs, familiar enough to those of us who love roadside architecture, though we may not have driven past this particular one.

The back warehouse of the museum does have the feeling of a boneyard, and to its credit, many of the signs have actually been purchased by a private collector and now, finally, put on display for the public.

I drive by Dimples all the time in Burbank.

I listen to Art Laboe on Hot 92.3.

Who hasn't enjoyed a Dairy Queen at least once in their life?

Amidst the neon are also some nice backlit plastic signs...

...and a Schlitz stained glass...

...and other rescued Americana artifacts, from foodstuffs... music... icons of our childhood...

...TV and film...

...and car culture.

And, of course, the collection wouldn't be complete...

...without Big Boy himself.

What a great collection, nicely displayed and not just for those on the other side of the hill.

Related Posts:
The Neon of LA, and Its One Darkened Dragon
Photo Essay: Neon Boneyard at Night
Photo Essay: Neon Boneyard, Vegas
Photo Essay: Valley Relics Version 2.0, Van Nuys Edition

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