Saturday, October 19, 2013

Valley Relics

Before there was Woodland Hills there was Girard

As much as I resist going "over the hill" for anything these days, I can't deny that the San Fernando Valley played a huge role in my young life. In fact, it was practically the center of the postwar L.A. universe when my sister and I were kids: aerospace, ranch house developments, and a burgeoning film industry. If we couldn't find what we needed in Burbank, our hometown, we'd head into The Valley to shop at Valley Plaza, grab a slice of Mike's pizza on Van Nuys Blvd. or see a movie in Panorama City. My sister and I even graduated from what was then called Valley Junior College before moving on to university. 

But little did I suspect that I'd end up marrying a Val! Having grown-up in Canoga Park, Tim's Valley roots run much deeper than mine. No surprise, then, that he's been following the San Fernando Valley Relics blog since it began a couple of years ago. The blog features the extensive collection of Valley native Tommy Gelinas, who has spent much of his adulthood saving historic artifacts of the places we all knew and loved as kids. Last week, Gelinas opened the privately-funded San Fernando Valley Relics Cultural Museum, so he could share some of his vast collection with the world. Located on the north end of The Valley, we made a pilgrimage to the museum this morning to admire and reminisce. Here are just a few of the more interesting items we saw (click on images to enlarge):

An entire room dedicated to cow-boys and -girls
and the man who dressed them, Nudie Cohn

When gas was cheap

The Pep Boys: Manny, Moe and Jack

Saved from the wrecking ball: Henry's,
The Valley's favorite taco stand

Oldies but Goodies radio: Art Laboe

Paper ephemera

Neon signs and Nudie's cars

Before there was Target: Gemco membership
card and Zody's potholder

The San Fernando Valley Relics Cultural Museum is located at 21630 Marilla St., Chatsworth, CA. Hours of operation: every Saturday 10AM-3PM.

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