Saturday, April 26, 2014

silent Los Angeles history

Sometimes, you think that it's going to be easy excavating a little piece of local history, and it's not - at least, not without going down to the Public Library and reading City Directories, which just isn't going to happen on a Saturday night.  We were on La Brea, just south of Olympic, in a futile search for a lampshade (Moth having destroyed one - and don't even ask how a small cat can murder a lampshade) - and a building under considerable reconstruction had laid its front bare.  Look at that rising sun!  But as one or two other people on line have noted, there's at first glance very little available on the internet that tells us anything about this.  Back in 1940, in The Progressive Grocer, W. J. Warren of Caler's Food Center wrote "Experience has taught me that the public prefers nationally advertised products.  That's why our shopping bags carry the slogan, 'Nationally Advertised brands at the lowest prices,'" but that's it.  And who was W. J. Warren?  I can find someone of that name who was involved in the LA oil industry in the 1920s - who wasn't? - but no guarantee that it was the same one.  I thought that it might not have been open all that long - the couple of dozen references to it in the LA Times are all from 1940-41, and mostly these refer to their bowling team.  But back in 1932, there was an advertisement for Caler's Grocery Department, attached to the Beverly Farms Market, on Crenshaw ... so chasing down Caler's Grocery, I eventually found that this La Brea establishment was certainly in operation by 1934, for in that year Don Caler, head of the Food Center, purchased an additional large market on N. Vine.  So I don't know its subsequent history ... but I felt quite proud of an evening's sleuthing when at first I thought there was nothing ...

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