Twin Palms Motel

Saturday, November 2, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

Vintage Postcard – Twin Palms Motel

Twin Palms Motel

Twin Palms Motel
18 Bath St.  Santa Barbara, Calif.
Phone: 965-2045

QUIET — OFF THE HIGHWAY. Spacious, sound-proofed units with shower or tub and shower. Some kitchenettes. Most units have mountain and ocean view. Free TV. Only half-block to excellent ocean beach. Good restaurants within walking distance. Owned and managed by Carl and Betty Garms.

Hi-Fi Color Reproductions
Printed by Robert W. Moline  Santa Barbara, California

You are in luck! This motel is still open for business, operating as Casa Del Mar Inn. And it is even MORE gorgeous than in the above postcard. It gets excellent reviews on Yelp! and Trip Advisor.

Update 11/11/13
Woot! Casa Del Mar Inn owner Yun Kim has sent some additional information about the Twin Palms! The Inn had an unexpected visitor in this week who was able to provide some history. Robert Hall and his dad, Charles Hall purchased the motel in 1969 and changed the name to Twin Palms Motel.  They kept it for about 6 or 7 years and sold it someone who changed the name to Sand Castle Motor Lodge. Here are the dates provided:

1944: Original building permit for 18 Bath Street Parcel. Was originally a 7 unit residential apartments.

1944-1962: More units were added over time

1962: Became a 21 room motel, called Del Mar Motel & Apts, Owner Fred Fey

1969: Purchased by Charles Hall and changed to Twin Palms Motel

1976: Purchased by unknown and changed to Sand Castle Motor Lodge

1983: Purchased by unknown and became Sandman at the Beached

1992: Purchased by Mike & Becky Montgomery and became Casa Del Mar

12/1/97: Purchased by Yun Kim, became Casa Del Mar Inn.

Thank you SO MUCH Yun Kim for providing the additional history! What a fantastic place. Friends, I highly encourage you to check out the Casa Del Mar Inn next time you’re in Santa Barbara.

Starlight Room

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

Starlight Room, San Francisco

Starlite Roof
Night View of
San Francisco from the Starlite Roof
Sir Francis Drake Hotel
“Twenty-one stories high in the sky
Between the stars and the Cable Cars”
is the world-famous Starlight Roof, the most beautiful cocktail lounge in the world, known for its breath-taking view of San Francisco and the bay, luxurious decor, and delightful refreshments.
Color photo by Cal-Pictures

Pub. by Smith News Cor., 1338 Mission St., S.F.Calif.
Mirro-Krome Card by H.S. Crocker Co., Inc., San Francisco 1, Calif.

This lovely vintage postcard is unused.

The beautiful Starlight Room (aka Starlite Roof) is still wowing the crowds at the Sir Francis Drake. The room was remodeled in 2011 (read about it here). However, it seems like maybe what I pictured as refined quietness in the postcard above is no more. John Compisi writes in an article “Make no doubt about it, this is a retro Night Club scene and is not for the faint of heart. The music is loud and current with a throbbing disco beat and DJs who are capable of doing on the fly mixes.”

Yelp! reviews are so-so. Some people love it. Some people feel a bit intimidated by the minimum drink purchases (and the prices, at $12 for your basic drink – check out the menu). There’s also a $50 per swipe hold fee on credit cards, it seems…plan accordingly.

The website has a bit of history on the Sir Francis Drake Hotel: “Built for the princely sum of $5 million [opened in 1928] by Midwestern hotel developers, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel offered impressive innovations like an indoor golf course, ice water on tap, and radios in every guest room. The window panes were made of Vitaglass, so-called because it let even the healthful ultra-violet rays into each room, making it possible, according to early advertisements, to suntan without going outside. Another feature was the Servidor, a handy panel in the guest room doors, which allowed staff to discreetly deliver dry cleaning or other items without disturbing guests.”

Lew Ellen’s Coffee Shop

Saturday, September 28, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

Vintage Postcard – Lew Ellen’s Coffee Shop

Lew Ellen's Coffee Shop

Lew Ellen’s Coffee Shop
32 John Street
Salinas, California

Lew Ellen’s Coffee Shop located on U.S. 101 in the heart of Salinas “The Salad Bowl of the World.” Excellent Cuisine. Large off-street parking area.
Phone HArrison 2-1925
Owned and operated by George & Lucille Comeau

Color photo by Ray Foster
Natural Color by Mike Roberts
Berkeley 2, Calif.

Color Sales Company, 931 Addison St., Berkeley 2, Calif.

This lovely vintage postcard is unused.

Holy cow, the building is still there, and it’s still a restaurant according to Google StreetView:



It’s part of a small chain called Norma’s Family Restaurants. According to Yelp! people either really hate or really like Norma’s.

George Comeau passed away at the end of 2012 at age 97. His obituary is here. He married Lucille in 1939 (she passed in 1999). They ran the restaurant ten years.

Ambassador Hotel Palm Springs

Thursday, August 1, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

Vintage Postcard – Ambassador Hotel

Ambassador Hotel

640 No. Indian Ave., Palm Springs, Calif.

Phone: 32-5-2285
Luxurious hotel rooms, suites and apartments – all with telephones. Switchboard. Heated Pool. Poolside Coffee Shop. Four blocks to down-town shopping district.
“Your Winter Home in the Sun”

Plastichorome by Colourpicture, Boston 15, Mass.

This postcard is unmailed, but it does seem to have a list of books and titles handwritten on the back of it. Maybe a winter reading list? Honestly, I’d type it out but the writing hurts my eyes and gives me a headache trying to decipher it. I can see Faulkner and Steinbeck.

This is one of those cards you pick up on ebay that falls short when you get it. I love – LOVE – writing on the back of the cards. But only if it’s helpful to date or is an actual note so someone. A grocery list of books just doesn’t cut it. I’d rather have had it blank.

In this posting, I chatted a bit about why I became a deltiologist. I get most of my postcards on ebay, and I don’t spend a lot of money of them. For one, I like chrome cards, not real photo cards. But as more people get into collecting chrome cards, you really have to watch what you get. There are some nefarious people out there who are hawking what are either photos of postcards (really?) or some reproduction cards that have historic scenes on them but were printed 1990s or later. Also, buying a bulk group of cards is likely to get you a stack with several (many) duplicates – which were strangely not in the photos of the bulk of cards or in the card descriptions. Gone are the days when you could see a card and know exactly what you were getting.

There are some fantastic card sellers out there though, folks I wind up buying from again and again. If you’re interested in postcards, check out these sellers:



Anyhow, back to the Ambassador. It was built in 1939. This article, written in 1987, talks a bit about the history (at that time, the Ambassador was known as Alan Ladd’s Spanish Inn). It was up on the market again around a year ago (check out the details at loopnet). Fantastic news, though. The project is under development by Britanny West. The project consists of the renovation, restoration and addition to the 80 year old Palm Springs Landmark hotel.The project consists of the renovation, restoration and addition to the 80 year old Palm Springs Landmark hotel. Check out the details and images here.

Holiday Lodge

Monday, March 11, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

Holiday Lodge retro postcardHoliday Lodge
Deluxe Motor Hotel
811 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles 26, Calif.
Close to Sporting Events and all Freeways

  • Refrigerated Air-Conditioning
  • Swimming Pool Available
  • Personal Television
  • Private Telephones
  • Unit Heat
  • Adjacent Parking

(Immediate to Downtown L.A.)
Phone DUnkirk 1-1165

Pub. by Mellinger Studios, 2089 Brigden Rd., Pasadena, Calif.
Made by Dexter, West Nyack N.Y.

You’ll never believe it, but the Holiday Lodge is still in business as an America’s Best Value Inn.

America's Best Value Inn

Photo courtesy of

“Free continental breakfast is available daily. Stay connected with free wireless high-speed Internet access available throughout our hotel and guest rooms. Our front desk and lobby are open 24 hours/day. Step into our guest rooms and experience absolute relaxation with amenities including a microwave, mini-fridge, cable TV with HBO, hairdryer, iron with ironing board, alarm clock, and free local calls. At Americas Best Value Inn Los Angeles/Hollywood, We’ve Got You Covered from the time you hit the road until your head hits the pillow.” At least, that’s according to the America’s Best Values website.

Don’t believe it’s the same place? This angle shows it a little better. You can see where the original marquee is, and notice how they’ve put a new roof over the awning.

America's Best Value Hotel

Photo Courtesy of

How is it to stay there? Trip Advisor ranks it 145 our of 301 hotels in Los Angeles. That’s not too bad, right? A reviewer who stayed in April of 2010 found something…difficult to identify? “The brown thing. We find an approx. 1 inch roundish clump of a brown unidentified substance on the floor next to the bed. It looks somewhere between a dessicated poo and a clump of coffee grounds. There is no coffee maker in the room. I can’t prove that it was poo, but it sure wasn’t pleasant.”

However, I really love the Yelp! reviews. A visitor in September of 2010 wrote “…the only room available was a queen/smoking room…so I already knew the grossest things had taken place in the bed, done by the grossest people. Even the shower curtain had a cigarette burn in it. 🙁 I was expecting bedbugs and crabs, but at least they had a pool I could kill them in later in the morning, right? The pool had even more bugs. 🙁 it looked like Caligula hosted a pool party earlier in the night… but that doesn’t explain the amount of feathers floating at the top.”

The motel does have one more listing, and it’s not a list you’d like to be on.

Chinatown at Night

Thursday, March 7, 2013 0 No tags Permalink

Chinatown at Night retro postcard

Chinatown at Night
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest outside of the Orient. Oriental customs rub elbows with the thoroughly American and quaint Chinese patter is heard everywhere you go. Shops and bazaars bring all the glamour of the Orient with their gorgeous silks, lacquers, teak, porcelain and rare and exotic foods and perfumes.

Pub. by Smith News Co., 75 Williams Ave., San Francisco 24 Calif

“Plastichrome” by Colourpicture, Boston 15, Mass., U.S.A.
P4676 (mid-1950s)

Note: the language on this card is certainly seen as politically incorrect today. Items are oriental. Individuals, and descriptions thereof including their customs, are Asian. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Wikipedia notes that the change in the term started in the 1970s. Now, of course, the entire discussion makes me think of that song from Avenue Q. Which is now stuck in my mind, an earworm, thank you very much.

As you can imagine, San Francisco’s Chinatown is still very much in existence today. They even have a website. Wikipedia says  San Francisco’s is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia.

Awhile back I read a book on the plague in San Francisco, by Marilyn Chase, entitled The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco (here on You all know how much I love reading about a good old fashioned plague! I think I actually had that book stashed from when I was in the graduate public history program at Western Michigan University. It’s an interesting story, as cultural norms played into some of the disease transmission. In areas of high (recent or new) immigrant concentration, there is always the potential for misunderstanding. Lack of understanding and trust goes a long way to allow for disease and fear to spread. In fact, now that I think about it, nearly every horrible thing suffered by the human race stems from a basic lack of understanding and/or lack of trust.

San Francisco Chinatown

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco Sightseeing Tour website

Interested in visiting San Francisco’s Chinatown? Don’t feel like walking? The above image is from Airport Commuter’s San Francisco Sightseeing Tour website.

Hotel Tioga

Monday, June 18, 2012 2 No tags Permalink

Hotel Tioga
Merced, California

This modern hotel, located in the center of the Business District of Merced, caters not only to local people but to thousands of tourists en route to Yosemite National Park. Merced, at the crossroads of highways 99 and 140, is a rich diversified farming area. Our facilities include a modern Cocktail Lounge and Coffee Shop.

Phone 723-3254

Good news, friends! The Hotel Tioga is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (#80000821 ), and now operates as the Tioga Apartments.

La Casa Del Mar Motel

Thursday, January 5, 2012 0 No tags Permalink

La Casa Del Mar Motel

28 West Cabrillo Blvd.
Santa Barbara, California
Phone WOodland 6-6337

New Heated Pool, Shuffleboard, Ping Pong, Free TV all rooms. Only Motel on Beach with garages – Sun Patio – Steam Heat. Thirty-Seven Units.

AAA Approved

Dr. and Mrs. F.R. Braune
Mr. and Mrs. C.O. Hahn
Managing Owners

Pub. by Clair Wood, Santa Barbara, Calif.


This postcard is postally unused.

This motel is now the Harbor View Inn and is still in business! The facility was greatly expanded and made into a spa (completed in 2009).

(photo courtesy of

Hody’s Coffee Shop

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 0 No tags Permalink

5242 Lakewood Blvd., Lakewood, California
Dining Room – Coffee Shop – Car Service
Banquet Rooms – Cocktail Lounge
Ample Parking

“Plastichrome” by Colourpicture, Boston 15, Mass. – Box 392, Northridge, Cal.

Designed by architect Wayne McAllister, Hody’s no longer stands.

Carolina Pines, Jr

Monday, February 7, 2011 0 No tags Permalink

For a Sandwich, a Meal, or just “Coffee and…You”
La Brea at Sunset
In the Heart of Hollywood
Unique 24 hour Coffee Shop and Enclosed Patio serving a wide selection of choice foods – in a beautiful and charming atmosphere – backed by CAROLINA PINES’ 30 years reputation for unexcelled cuisine.

Architects Armet and Davis designed over 4,000 buildings across Southern California, including Carolina Pines Jr #1 (postcard above) and #2. Armet and Davis represent the very best of “Googie” architecture. If you are looking for an outstanding read, check out Alan Hess’ book Googie Redux. Built in 1955, Carolina Pines Jr #1 has long since demolished.