Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Oh Say Can You See's A New Cultural-Historic Monument



Altadena archivist Charlene Nichols and her husband, friend of Franklin Avenue/Los Angeles mag staffer/preservationist Chris Nichols, have their sights on saving a new landmark: The birthplace of See's Candies.

Charlene, an archivist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, nominated the original home of See's as a Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument. The City's Cultural Heritage Commission will decide whether to grant that status this Thursday, Feb. 5, at City Hall, room 1010. (Info here.)

Details, from Charlene and Chris:
Eighty-eight years ago this fall, Canadian immigrant Charles A. See and his mother Mary See opened their very first candy shop and kitchen in a charming Renaissance Revival building at 135 N. Western Avenue in what is now Koreatown. See’s current Los Angeles candy factory opened on La Cienega Blvd. in 1946.

The building now sits empty and plans call for the destruction of it’s classical fa├žade for a new mini-mall shopping center. The City Office of Historic Preservation gave a staff report supporting the nomination and the city has received support letters from neighborhood associations as well as the Vice President of See’s Candies who wrote “See’s has survived some of the most dramatic decades in American history and we are extremely proud of its heritage. See’s has maintained the classic look of the 1920s and Mary See’s image will always be the symbol on See’s Candy boxes...We hope the Commission will honor Charles See and the history of See’s with a Historic-Cultural Monument designation of store No. 1.”

Charlene once "took a summer job wearing the famous white dress and giving out samples in the hopes that she could tour the famous See’s candy factory."

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