Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Ode to Anaheim

ANAHEIM - We know this city where the Mouse calls home has had its share of disturbing problems in recent years, and after some rioting, protesting and court battles these issues are slowly being addressed. Beside Mickey Mouse riots there are some other things unique about Anaheim, and in a tribute to the fair town where this publication has called home for many years we present to you, "Ten Signs You Know You're From Anaheim" right after the jump.

A 1922 photograph of downtown Anaheim, which, sans for a few more buildings, looked the same for many years until the "development bomb." You know you are from Anaheim if you know exactly what that means. No copyright infringement intended; shown for historical and educational purposes only.

1. Here Comes The Train!

When that train goes by it could be a sad sound or a happy sound, because no matter where you are in Anaheim, be it downtown or the tony Anaheim Hills, you always hear the distant (and sometimes not so distant) whistle of a train. Perhaps it all began when Jack Benny announced, "Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga."


While driving along Harbor Boulevard, Ball Road or Katella Avenue you hit every freakin' single red light and mumble to yourself, or yell, "why can't Anaheim program their traffic signals!" An Anaheim traffic programmer once said, off the record, the city believes people driving in the "Resort District" area will want to stop and shop at other places along the way to Disneyland if they have a moment to see it. In reality, while being stopped at every single red-light, you feel like screaming to whoever makes the city engineers do this, "Families with a bunch of hyper kids in the car who just spent a hour or two driving here aren't gonna want to stop at some other business on the way to Disneyland, get over it!"

3. A City With A Culture and Winning Sports Teams

When friends and family from outside of Orange County think Anaheim is just another bland, uninspiring homogeneous housing-tract city in "The OC" with no culture you gladly take them along Brookhurst Street, then to the revived downtown Anaheim and exploring amazing homes in The Colony, and that is just for starters. Then you kindly mention to the too-good-for-Anaheim naysayers we have a baseball and hockey team that has actually won a World Series and Stanley Cup, respectfully, in the new century. Finally, when talk turns to their family from around the country and/or world wanting to visit them and do all the super tourist stuff remind them, "Where is that one place they always insist on going when they come out to visit you?"

4. Somebody Was Once Good Friends With Her In High School

Somebody knows somebody who once attended Loara High School with Gwen Stefani and were "super good friends with her," and was a big No Doubt fan, years before they became big.

5. You Cannot Believe Another Anaheim Resident Actually Paid To Get Into Disneyland

You try to contain your laughter, or utter shock, when some fellow Anaheim resident tells you they actually paid full-price to get into Disneyland. People in Anaheim always know somebody who can get them in for free, or at the very least find them a very cheap ticket.

6. We Have a Haunted K-Mart

Not many places in the world have this claim to fame: Local lore has it that the K-Mart on Katella Ave. is haunted, which has to make you wonder, "Ghosts haunting a K-Mart in Anaheim? Those are some pretty damn boring ghosts." 

7. Best Bowling Alley Ever!

You know we have one of the best bowling alleys in the country with the best bowling alley signage in the country, Linbrook Bowl. In addition to 24-hour bowling there is a dimly lit bar with cheap drinks and karaoke. Oh, and going bowling here is pretty cheap too! 

 photo Bowling1.jpg
Linbrook Bowl sign. No copyright infringement intended; shown for historical and educational purposes only.

8. You Remember...

You remember when the Anaheim Plaza was an actually mall complete with The Broadway Department Store. You remember when Chain Reaction was called Public Storage. You remember when Anaheim had its own radio station, KEZY. You remember when Anaheim had an actual downtown with movie theaters and its very own department store, S-Q-R Store.

 photo SQR.jpg 
A 1978 photograph S.Q.R. Store, located at 202 West Center Street in Anaheim. Built in 1925 and demolished in 1978 as it was a victim of the "development bomb." Photograph source, Calisphere - University of California. No copyright infringement intended; shown for historical and educational purposes only.

9. You Still Can't Believe What They Did!

Thanks in part to businesses like The Lab and Rothick art haus life in today's downtown Anaheim has finally been brought back. Yet, when you are there maybe during Art Crawl Experience or having something to eat at Healthy Junk, you still cannot believe some overpaid bureaucrat thought it was a good idea to wipe out most of old downtown Anaheim, and worse yet, you are baffled that the centerpiece of the "new" 1978 downtown Anaheim is a bland, run-of-the-mill, typical Southern California strip-mall. 

10. The Best View In All Of Southern California

Sometimes you have to find the good in the bad, and the 1978 downtown Anaheim redevelopment had a lot of bad things, but there was a silver-lining in parking structures. You know the best view in all of Orange County, and Southern California, is atop parking structures in downtown Anaheim. From the top on a clear day in one long turn of the head you can view The San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, downtown Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Mountains (if you focus your eyes you can make out the Griffith Observatory and Hollywood sign), Santa Catalina Island and the curve of the earth in south county. Indeed in just one turn of the head it is one majestic view, and makes good viewing for the fireworks, both legal and illegal.

1 comment:

  1. Also remember, we had our own TV station, too. KDOC has since moved to Irvine, and now Santa Ana (at the OC Register bldg.) The original studio still stands on Clementine, across from the Anaheim Gardenwalk, but its days are numbered. If you stand in the parking lot, you may still hear the faint echoes of "Wally, Wally, Wally".