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Harvey's Broiler Razed Illegally!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Cyclone Kevin, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,201

    John B
    Member

    My emails pointed out that this wasn't just a local news story and that thousands of people from around the nation were following this with much interest. I asked if there would be justice or a slap on the wrist. Anyone have any other email addresses that might help?
     
  2. hatch
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 3,668

    hatch
    Member
    from house

    If we had built pyramids in the fifties, they would still be around....but we built things out of wood, and wood has a very short lifespan compared to stone. Quit your pissin and moanin.....what a bunch of girls.
     
  3. chitbox dodge
    Joined: Apr 25, 2005
    Posts: 598

    chitbox dodge
    Member
    from dunlap tn

    and therein lies the true problem. ive seen many properties around my home town that need rescuing and yes id love to make a go at it myself on some. the trouble starts when you try to deal with these unreasonable assholes who think even though their place may be a total deathtrap that they should get at least a million for it, just because someone else on the other side of town that they knew got a million for their similarly sized building.
    my friend and i actually looked at starting up a diner at this one particular place that hasnt seen ANY occupants since the early nineties when it used to be a hair parlor. i believe its actually on the roadside site that was posted earlier, it has a classic late fifties early sixties swoopy roof and feel to it, but its in rather good condition for its age. it originally started life as a diner even. when we contacted the owners, he said hed love to sell but wouldnt take a penny less than two million! and he wasnt at all interested in leasing. so now it still sits to this day with a realty sign on the front door.
    i liken these same people as to the cranky old guy with the vintage car thats slowly letting it die under his lean-to. just remember if you havent done anything with it in years you probably wont, youd be money ahead and better respected if you knew your real limitations and be realistic for a change. nobody wants you to be a greedy asshole just because you think you can.
     
  4. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,507

    Nads
    Member
    from Hypocrisy

    This is exactly it. I live in an historic neighborhood, Lake Eola Heights, it was the first such area designated in Orlando. It was once a blighted area full of bums and miscreants, I bought my house when it was still affordable but the area was changing. You cannot alter or demolish a building without a permit in this neighborhood but a guy did. He knew full well that the $16,000 fine was a drop in the bucket compared to the $1,000,000 fake McMansion he was going to build on the lot.
     
  5. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,065

    NoSurf
    Member

    I disagree.

    Any building will last a long time if it is properly maintained. Why are there 300 yr old WOOD houses in New England? Or even older ones in Europe? Because they have good foundations and they have kept moisture out. Stone buildings have the same problems as wood, moisture and poor foundations.

    You are comparing dried figs to oranges.

    I will say it again- the main culprit in these situations is GREED. It's that simple. The owners cheap out in the buildings lifetime and don't perform correct maintainance, and it gets rundown to the point that demolition and rebuild is the cheapest alternative.

    But what the fuck do I know? I am just an Architectural/Structural Engineer.
     
  6. Theo Douglas
    Joined: Nov 20, 2002
    Posts: 807

    Theo Douglas
    Member

    I am going to the city council meeting tonight--but then it's my job. I write for OC Weekly.

    You guys should go too. Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers at Downey City Hall, which is on First Street just east of Downey Avenue (go north on Downey Ave., turn right on First, and the street deadends at city hall). If I remember correctly how they do these things (I used to cover Downey) we might have to wait through much of the meeting for the fireworks, but ... .

    This whole thing just makes me sick. I can't believe, with people like LA Conservancy--and even the national historic registry--this is the best we can do. Axle is right: Americans don't like Americana. Well, really they do--if it means a crappy reproduction Coca-Cola clock from China, something to buy. But if it means missing reruns of "Hero" or college football to do something--forget it. That's too much work.





     
  7. 42hotrod
    Joined: Nov 3, 2005
    Posts: 811

    42hotrod
    Member
    from S.E. Idaho

    Here is my email to councilman Guerra:

    The problem here is that the owner of this property is expecting to pay a fine, get the permits, then complete the razing of an american landmark. This should not be allowed!! It just promotes the behavior. He is a very wealthy man, as I understand it he owns a good portion of the block around there and has used car lots on them.

    Make the example!

    Require him to return the building to its previous condition, replacing the areas that were demolished. He broke the law, and that is the only way that he will learn, is by NOT letting him get his way by fining him and giving him the permits to finish. Anytime someone does this, they should be required to return it to its previous condition before the damage was done.





    Thank you for your time,

    Scot

    Idaho Falls, idaho



    Thats my .02 cents, make the bastard fix the building. I'd bet others would think twice before ever pulling a stunt like that again if he had to fix the building to code compliant.
     


  8. i agree wholeheartedly!!!
     
  9. Since when is the HAMB a babysitter?:mad:
     
  10. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,802

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

     
  11. It would be helpful if a bunch of HAMBers wrote to the Downey council. The fact that Harvey's/Johnnie's was so widely regarded should be expressed. Hit them with emails from the whole damned world. Be polite and business like in your message. But don't skimp on details about how important the Harvey's Broiler cruise was to the history of the American hot rod and custom scene in So Cal.

    And a helpful tip to CrAlt. As the new guy in the garage, you should keep your hands in your pockets and your mouth shut. Unless you bring mad skills or history to the mix, you just add drama. We're not fond of drama when we discuss important things. Don't get angry at me. I just wanted to point it out to a FNG. Dig?
     
  12. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,802

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    you out of state guys want to know whats really sickening?
    so many southern california towns are starting to tear down original historic buildings then re build putting "retro style" buildings in its place! where's the thinking in that!?!?!?!?
    i've seen it all over orange county and now riverside is thinking about doing the same thing.

    for some reason the only southern california city that acknowledges all of the vintage signage,architecture, & americana is BURBANK. don't know why but its true. everything is clean and well maintained.

    not everything old is a low income, high crime area like someone said.

    the previous owners should of sold this place to someone who respected the structure and agreed with a written contract to never demo it.
     
  13. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,201

    John B
    Member

    In my opinion all towns should have an ordinance in place to keep land owners from letting their vacant buildings run down. In our town they have torn down more then a few old buildings in the last few years. Buildings that the owners wouldn't sell at a fair market price or even do basic maintenance on. Seems like the same thing happens all over the country. I'd like to see a ordinance that fines the property owners for letting their buildings become unsafe and run down. Say a fine equal to the cost of the repairs and then a court order requiring them to make the repairs anyway. Make it an incentive to do the repairs in the first place.

    But then again, no politician would let that happen to his wealthy buddies.
     
  14. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,256

    Mike
    Member

     
  15. I posted the mayors and pro-tem mayors email early in this thread!.write them please:cool:
     
  16. cruzr
    Joined: Jan 19, 2006
    Posts: 3,126

    cruzr
    Member

    Man thats sad, i cruised Harveys as a kid. Fond memories. Christ we used to wait for an hour just to get a spot to park. It was the place to be seen.
     
  17. Silhouettes 57
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 2,793

    Silhouettes 57
    Member

    So now that the A&W in Paso Robles is not the A&W any longer will they tear it down??? We've been cruising there with West Coast Kustoms since 1982. I hope not but hang on to those old pictures you've got!
     
  18. On a driving trip to California in June of 1964 my best friend Harry (driving his '54 Chevy) and I visited as many car-related places as we could. Harvey's Broiler was a destination stop for us, it was a legend then and a must-see for two kids from Chicago, fresh out of high school.:(
     
  19. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,065

    NoSurf
    Member

    Here's another article that sheds a little more light on the situation (if it's true):

    Johnie's Broiler is cooked, to longtime fans' dismay

    In Downey, the former drive-in restaurant, one of the few remaining examples of Googie architecture, falls victim to an illegal demolition.
    By Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
    January 9, 2007


    [​IMG] Memories
    [​IMG] click to enlarge



    Helen Burns got word Sunday that something seemed fishy at Johnie's Broiler, the iconic roadside 1950s drive-in where she had cruised her green metallic Ford perhaps thousands of times in her youth.

    It didn't matter that the landmark — whose soaring neon rooftop sign and midcentury glass-and-stone facade helped spawn a new architectural style called Googie — had been selling used cars instead of burgers and malts since 2002.

    When Burns, 66, learned that the used cars had moved to the far side of the lot, she suspected that something was afoot with the site. Her worst fears were realized when she found bulldozers demolishing the place when she arrived at 5 p.m. The original kitchen and back of the coffee shop had already been turned into debris, and the rest of the place wouldn't take long to follow suit.

    " 'They're going fast, they're ripping this place down,' " she recalled telling police as she urged them to intervene.

    Then she got on the phone with fellow preservationists and car buffs — who had battled alongside her in 2002 to designate the drive-in restaurant a state historic landmark — and urged them to call police as well.

    By the time Burns returned to the scene half an hour later, police had halted the illegal demolition: required permits had not been obtained, Downey Police Capt. Jim McCulloch said, nor the proper precautions taken.

    But it was too late. Little remained beyond the huge red-neon "JOHNIE'S broiler" sign — "broiler" spelled out in larger cursive — still suspended above the remains of the original restaurant. Just below, on its other sign, a flat blue plastic, cartoon-like fat boy was still hoisting his cheeseburger to his lips. Burns said she had held out hope that "someday, somebody might come in and restore the place, maybe not to its former glory, but at least we'd have the architecture."

    Plenty of others felt the same way. All day Monday, cars honked as they drove by the yellow tape surrounding the debris, as armed security guards kept watch around the establishment, where on some nights in its 1960s and 1970s heyday, up to 3,000 young people would come to cruise their hot rods and Kustom Kars — as customized cars were sometimes called. A typical cruising route might start at Grissinger's in Long Beach, up through Hawthorne to Holly's, the Wich Stand on Slauson and then on to Johnie's in Downey. It was also a popular location for movies, including the fight scene between Ike and Tina Turner in 1993's "What's Love Got to Do With It," and 1994's "Reality Bites," with Winona Rider and Ethan Hawke.

    The structure, believed to be among the last and largest intact drive-in restaurants, "stands as an icon of roadside architecture, car culture and midcentury modern lifestyle," the preservationists said on their website.

    It helped inspire a type of modern architecture known as "Googie," in which entire buildings were designed to essentially be signs to attract customers, with strong lines, gigantic signs, glass walls and brightly lighted interiors.

    "It's outrageous, incredibly sad," said Jay Platt, a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy, who was surveying the wreckage Monday morning.

    Adriene Biondo, who led the preservation campaign that drew thousands of signatures, agreed: "There's an outpouring for the building…. Last night, it was like a deathwatch." Several classic car buffs called or stopped by with their condolences; commiserations had come in from as far away as the Netherlands.

    Downey City Councilman Mario Guerra vowed to bring the matter up at a council meeting tonight. "People could have been injured or killed; the electrical was live."

    City officials said longtime owner Christos "Johnie" Smyrniotis had asked city planning officials in October for permission to demolish the building and build a small retail complex on the site. In November, the city said the application wasn't complete and requested more information about how the new plans would affect the historic aspects of the property.

    The 2002 preservation campaign succeeded. The property would have been included in the state Register of Historic Places after the nine-member state Historic Resources Commission unanimously approved its listing in late 2002 — except that Smyrniotis had objected (on economic grounds, he told the commission). Owner approval is required for inclusion.

    Smyrniotis did not return phone calls Monday.

    Originally known as Harvey's Broiler, the restaurant was founded in 1958 by Harvey Ortner, who went from building cars at Ford and General Motors to serving those who arrived in them. It was renamed Johnie's Broiler in 1966 after Smyrniotis purchased it. Legend has it that the restaurant's sign could only fit one "N," thus the unusual spelling of "Johnie."

    The restaurant closed in late 2001, then morphed into a used car dealership in 2002 — but that enterprise drew criticism when some of the original interior was gutted.

    valerie.reitman@latimes.com

    Times photographer Spencer Weiner contributed to this report.

     
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  20. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,065

    NoSurf
    Member

    I guess you guys who don't give a shit didn't see the movie "Cars" this summer. Or comprehend the message behind it.
     
  21. Bumpstick
    Joined: Sep 10, 2002
    Posts: 1,372

    Bumpstick
    Member

    GONE!!!
     
  22. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,065

    NoSurf
    Member

    http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_4975912

    [​IMG]

    Phil Cox, 60, of Lakewood stands at the hood of his classic 1949 Oldsmobile as he takes in the scene of Johnie's Broiler Monday in Downey. A member of the car club "Vipers," Cox and his friends use to hang out here every weekend during the mid- to late 1960s. (Kevin Chang / Press-Telegram)
     
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  23. hanginlow58
    Joined: Sep 16, 2003
    Posts: 364

    hanginlow58
    Member

    this really sucks, that same afternoon I stopped by mearles drive in that opened up in 1940 and just closed this last summer, the city rushed to make it a historical building so the owners wouldnt tear it down because they dont give a shit, but now they dont want to sell it to people wanting to restore it and now its being vandalized and I am afraid that it will be set on fire, this place was hopping in the 50's. this picture was taken probably the same time harveys was going down.
     

    Attached Files:

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  24. HeyMang
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 124

    HeyMang
    Member

    Chili Phill's pic of him and his car from the Press Telegram is also on the front page of the paper.

    Its freaking awesome to see you guys from Kansas and Idaho email our council members: Im sure it will remind them how much this travesty has impacted ALL OF AMERICA so that they find the proper punishment for this ass clown.

    Hate to say it though, but I dont expect much to happen- an insignificant fine and a stern "bad! bad landowner!!" is all he will see. He will then have the Ok to finish the fucking job. Fucking cocksucker.
     
  25. 42hotrod
    Joined: Nov 3, 2005
    Posts: 811

    42hotrod
    Member
    from S.E. Idaho

    Here is the councilmans reply:

    Scot,



    We have started a criminal investigation and those responsible will be punished. This is wrong and it will not go un-punished. Thank you for your concern and thoughts.



    Dn. Mario A. Guerra

    Councilman

    City of Downey

    11111 Brookshire Ave.

    Downey, Ca. 90241

    562-904-7274

    mguerra@downeyca.org




    AKA
    We will fine him and he will finish tearing the building down...
    blah blah...I just wish they would make him fix the building.

    Scot
     
  26. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,201

    John B
    Member

    I've made a point in every email that I sent to tell the reciepients that the eyes of the nation are upon this episode and that everyone is waiting to see if they handle it in a fitting manner.
     
  27. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,507

    Nads
    Member
    from Hypocrisy

    And our hot rodding women enjoy cussing.
     
  28. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 3,719

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    John,
    I know that you & I are in totally different leagues financially. There may be a reason for that. I invest into the past as well as the future on a very ltd scale:D.
    You have a roadster that someone who had a vision had restored.
    It has a history and that is what you sought when making the purchase for it as a driver as well as an investment.
    When you write about buildings being too far gone for a proper financial return in their current run down state, I beg to differ.
    You need to be introduced to a gentleman named Mark Bowlin.

    This guy buys older buildings in Whittier as well as in Idaho and guts them to the point of damage,wear & rot and brings them back up to code but does it with slavaged and antique items.(He is the former owner of the Antique Mall on Whittier Bl.) He is very similar to you carwise and is doing very well fianacially. On every purchase he makes 3-4 times his investment in leases and still retains ownership to boot.

    Harveys/Johnies is not beyond restoration even @ this stage.
    An appreciation style for this arhitecture would be needed.
    You have the kind of money as well as people on the payroll who can restore a building of this type (Think Mels Drive-In). I don't think Steve(Mel's owner) Weise is in any kind of financial trouble. Infact he's involved in converting the Parasol in Seal Beach into a Mel's.

    I ask you this, If there wasn't any money in this type of business, why would Steve invest into it.?
    This wasn't some ramshackle lil hut, it was a marginally in good shape restorable"joint". Think about what I have written here when you walk out the that Deuce, It was @ one point beyond saving, but someone had the vision to return it to a truly stunning "Piece of History" which is celebrating it's 75th this year. Imagine if it would have ended up as scrap. Remember,there were many 32 Fords produced but only one Harvey's Broiler.
    Just something for you to think about.

    Kevin









     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  29. Ummmm, since mine seems to cuss at ME only, I don't see where that's such a benefit.
     
  30. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,802

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    lets change the subject...a tad.

    WHO ON HERE ARE ATTENDING TONIGHTS COUNCIL MEETING?

    WHO ARE BRINGING CARS OUT?
     
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