Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Los Angeles's Programmatic Architecture

California

Back in the nineteen twenties, as the automobile more and more became the default way to get around Los Angeles, buildings and structures in the area became more unique, often resembling the merchandise or services they hawked. Giant sized versions of things were the most popular of these structures as the Pup Cafe in the shape of a giant dog sprung up in 1928 and the Brown Derby, a giant hat, opened in 1926. Called programmatic or mimetic architecture, these giant versions of things were a new form of advertising, specifically geared towards bringing in the car driving motorist as they arrived in town.

Their heyday was certainly from the twenties to the thirties, but several still occasionally popped up post World War II. Most now have been torn down, replaced by less interesting structures.

Here's a list of notable Los Angeles Roadside Architecture, many of which are now long gone. Most were built from that by gone era of the twenties and thirties, although there are a few more modern ones appearing. Ones in italics and underlined are still standing in some form or another:

Airplane Cafe
Airplane Cafe
Barkie's Sandwich Shop
Barkie's Sandwich Shop
Betsy Ann
Betsy Ann
Randy's Donuts
Randy's Donuts
Venice Giant Binoculars
Venice Giant Binoculars
Bono's Historic Orange
Bono's Historic Orange
The Brown Derby
The Brown Derby
The Brown Derby
The Brown Derby
The Brown Derby Today
The Brown Derby Today
Bulldog Cafe
Bulldog Cafe
California Piano
California Piano
The Chili Bowl
The Chili Bowl
Former Chili Bowl on Pico
Former Chili Bowl on Pico
The Darkroom Then
The Darkroom Then
The Darkroom Now
The Darkroom Now
The Donut Hole
The Donut Hole
The Dugout
The Dugout
Fleetwood Square
Fleetwood Square
The Freezer
The Freezer
Flower Pot
Flower Pot
Castle Real Estate
Castle Real Estate
Hoot Hoot I Scream
Hoot Hoot I Scream
The Igloo
The Igloo
The Jail Cafe
The Jail Cafe
Mother Goose Pantry
Mother Goose Pantry
Mount Baldy Inn
Mount Baldy Inn
Mushroom Cafe
Mushroom Cafe
The Oil Can
The Oil Can
Pig Cafe
Pig Cafe
Pup Cafe
Pup Cafe
Ship Cafe
Ship Cafe
Shutter Shak Then
Shutter Shak Then
Shutter Shak 2015
Shutter Shak 2015
Sphinx Realty Company
Sphinx Realty Company
Sushi Maru Seafood
Sushi Maru Seafood
Tail o' the Pup
Tail o' the Pup
The Tamale
The Tamale
The Tamale 2014
The Tamale 2014
Teepee Barbecue Company
Teepee Barbecue Company
Teepee Barbecue Company Interior
Teepee Barbecue Company Interior
Toed Inn
Toed Inn
Toed Inn
Toed Inn
The Wigwam Motel
The Wigwam Motel
Wilshire Coffee Pot
Wilshire Coffee Pot
The Witch's House
The Witch's House
Zep Diner
Zep Diner
Zep Diner
Zep Diner

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Last Edited: 2016-04-17