Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dearden's: A Century Old

The original Dearden's at 7th and Main has been in business--as Dearden's--for 100 years. How many other businesses in Los Angeles can say that? The Los Angeles Times listed five: Philippe's, Cole's, the Alexandria Hotel, and "a couple of law firms."

(If I were one of those law firms, I'd demand a little more respect.)

The Times published a story about Dearden's last week, with a great photo collection that includes the mural on the side wall: "Generacion tras generacion" by Eloy Torres, 1988. (This picture is from PublicArtInLA.) Torres' mural replaced a 1970's one that featured the pyramid at Chichen-Itza and other icons of Mexican history. That's Torres' wife, Margaret, holding the birthday cake. He also stuck in the pyramid (in a painting over the mantel) and a portrait of Frieda Kahlo, over on the right.

Another story from the Times' Daily Mirror blog details the whole corner (7th and Main) and the hunt for an elusive, 50-year-old plaque that supposedly commemorated the birth of the film industry. "Supposedly" because the fabled plaque has disappeared. It was on a corner of Dearden's--once. I do not know why 7th and Main is the place to commemorate the birth of LA's film industry, and I suppose that's a topic for another day. The blog has nice pictures, though.

According to the Times, Dearden's is keeping the celebrations very low-key, because "we've never seen anything that's as bad as this." Meaning the economy, of course.

Dearden's Operations Director is the great-grandson of the founder, Edgar Dearden. Couldn't find anything in the historical Times about the opening of the store, but I did find a building permit issued to E. Dearden in January 1909--for a six-room cottage on Budlong Ave.

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