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Paradise Island , Pico Rivera, CA (apartments)

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Name:Paradise Island
Street:5430 Rosemead blvd.
City:Pico RiveraState:CA

I did a search, and this complex did not come up.

So here goes...

I was driving home from a job in Long Beach along Rosemead Blvd and caught a glimpse of a series a frame style buidlings on the south side of Rosemead.

I caught the name Paradise Island, and made a mental note.

So I got the chance to go back today, and heres what I found.

The Western most A frame is truly majestic!

Another shot, the school bus gives you the scale of this thing!

A closer look at the entry to this monster.

The middle building has the buildings marquee sign.

One and two bedrooms folks!

If my memory serves me correctly, this is the entrance to the second A-frame.

I love the moai carving at the top of the a-frame. He has (Probably) non functional Tiki Torch on his head.

The third a frame was the most non descript, but the only building to have any tikis.

This poor guy sits on the left side of the buildings entrance, and appears to be held up by wires from an old light fixture.

And this forlorn fellow is on the rightside wall.

A close up.

The buildings have seen better days, with many adhoc patch jobs, and junction boxes with cables sticking out.

I didn't see any Tikis in the rather expansive courtyards. But the sound of songbirds was a nice accent. At least the birds appreciate this place!

A massive complex, with a large open tract between the buildings, which makes me think there may have been a fourth buidling that came to an earlier demise.


Yahoo Map

[ Edited by: tikigardener on 2005-01-25 22:19 ]

This is actually a string of apartment complexes you were seeing, The Aloha Arms, Paradise Island, and the Kapu Tiki apartments. The one that's now called Paradise Island used to be the Samoa Apartments. TCer ZuluMagoo has provided some fantastic photos that are in Critiki:

Aloha Arms
Paradise Island
Kapu Tiki

These have been discussed before on TC, but right now I can't find anything much more detailed than "where is that string of apartments near Bahooka?" If you search for "apartments rosemead" some of the threads will come up, and then you can search on each of the individual apartment building names.

Great photos Gardener. The expression on the mask sums up the whole sad situation.

...not to mention the Book of Tiki :wink: :
I am glad I caught these when the Kapu Tiki font was still up (p. 224), the ball shaped lamps were still hanging, and the Moai outrigger beams on the entrance were not sawed off (text on p.225). The Kapu Tiki is also where my favourite Tiki concept, the "sunken Tiki" from chapter one (p. 10) hails from, it was in the courtyard.

The sign was actually for the big A-frame, the Aloha Arms (p.63), and stands right on the property line to the SAMOA Apts, which used to have a really cool typeface (p.218). The sign post was wrapped by two decrepid Tiki halves when I shot it.

I wondered about that empty lot too, but it looks so clean, I am more inclined to think that it was slated for another develpment which never happened. Boy, I sure like to find the architect's renderings for these islands!

Tragic to see how much dissappeared between my first photos in September '93 and now.

This is a postcard for the Samoa apartments that was on eBay a few weeks ago. I didn't know this card existed and had never seen it before. Like a dumbass, I forgot to bid on the item. However, the winner of the auction ( a non-tiki collector) emailed me a high-res scan of the card after he received it (that was really cool of him to do so).

Lavish, most unusual lounge room? Looks like it may have been that brown room behind the pool with the exterior lamps hanging down

What a difference a few decades makes!!

[ Edited by: ZuluMagoo 2006-11-27 20:43 ]

Wow! How cool! Any printed material from apartments is really rare!
I would have thought that the developers would have advertised all three buildings (Kapu Tiki, Samoa and Aloha Arms) together, not just one.

That Tiki around the post was still there when I found the complex, although in sad shape. So it was the sign post for the Samoa after all. All three apartment complexes must have had nice courtyard features, judging by the remnants that I found back then, too.

It is fun to see that the stylized design of the outrigger Moais of the Kapu Tiki (done by O.A.) was recently imported to Hawaii, in Thor's shop.


It just so happens that I have a postcard (of sorts) of the Kapu Tiki Apartments. It is a small card and looks like it was meant to provide information to contact the manager. Now that's what I call off-street parking.

(Donde es Sabu?)

Very cool find. Like I mentioned above, while Tiki apartments are better than Tiki restaurants in regards to their longevity, paper ephemera from them are harder to find, they never had the need for menus/matchbooks/postcards....though some did have brochures.

The first thing that struck me, having been to these particular apartments several times over the past years, was exactly what I just mentioned earlier in the Royal Tahitian thread:

On 2008-03-28 12:17, bigbrotiki wrote:
Finding photos of Tiki Temples just after construction is always a trade off, because though you can see all the original fixtures in place, the plantings are mostly all new and scraggly, and not lushly grown in yet to frame the architecture and provide that desired tropical touch.

The place actually looks kind of barren compared to.... Jeez, now I have to post photos on this thread, too...

The next thing is the cars, none being older/younger than 1956/57. One would not show "outdated" models for a publicity shot, so this means that these apartments were fairly early examples of the style, most others having been built in the early 60s.


A Game room...awesome. Back then, people actually got together and did things like Play Pool or Ping pong, or cards....

I bet they had some great Luaus there too.


A version of Paradise islands was featured on the first episode of "Highway to heaven" if memory serves me right. If I remember right it was called "Heavencrest" in the show. It's been a while since I last watched highway to heaven.

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