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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Islander, Gardena, CA (apartments)

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Street:1120 W. 155th street
Phone:310 327 3543

Huge A-frame, well kept grounds, tikis and nautical decor abound. Obviously, the tenants and ground keepers take a lot of pride in their residence and keep it looking very nice.

Sabu referenced the Islander in this thread, but the pictures have vanished:

I thought there was a thread about The Islander, but I couldn't find it. If there is, please merge or delete this thread as needed.

A few years back, I was exiting my new dentists office with some clean teeth, hopped in the car drove a block and stumbled on this place. I'm still amazed everytime I come across a polynesian theamed apartment complex. Out of hum-drum LA apartment hell areas, comes a shining beacon of architechtual beauty (or oddity - depending on your perspective. Either way, it's different and that's a good thing). I find myself sometimes driving a little out of my way just to pass by some of them, so I can smile.

Anyway, I took these photos about 2 years ago, and it was one of the only rainy days that year. subsequent visits to the dentist have been without camera, but the complex looks exactly like these pictures - very well maintained. Also, the photo of the lava rock waterfall was taken on a day it was off. It is fully functional. I'd love to see this place at night - I bet it has some cool lights on the tikis.

Here they are:

The new Islander sign. Sven has a picture of the old sign on page 218 of BOT. Though not as cool as the other sign, they did try and incorporate a "beachcomber" feel to it with warn looking wood and the font:

Everytime I've passed by there I remember there being a place for rent. anyone want to call and see if they still have anything available? :)

View of a-frame entrance and a frames of the side apartments from the street:

side view to show how far out the a-frame comes, good view of the well maintained grounds (I like mine a little more lush, but you can tell these grounds are adored):

A close up of the guardian tiki. He's been painted and moved onto lava rocks (you can see his left leg has rotted away and the top of his head too). I'm guessing the paint was a protective measure, or to hid the rot. At least it's a solid color and he doesn't look like a clown:

View from the other side, showing the entrance way tikis and anchor chain railings and the bridge over water:

Close up of the two entrance way guardians on either side of the bridge. Though a very simplistic style, I love how these tikis look. Note: the anchor chain attached to them:

IN the background of the previous pictures you can see a carving no the bridge, here's a close up. I also like how the bridge wood isn't straight, but torn and weathered looking. I'm guessing it looked more "aged" and has since had a repainting

The rock wall waterfall (not working that day, but I have seen it running):

Cool aged bamboo fence hiding electrical boxes or gas company stuff:

roof close up:

Anchor (details! still there!)

I was unable to enter the complex, but I did shoot a shot into the interior which also looks very well looked after. There really isn't anything too exciting that I could see (no lush gardens or massive tikis), but I do like the spear shaped awning holders over the apartment doors. If you look down in the back of the picture you can make out a building (might be a rec center?) behind a safety fence, which would lead me to believe there is a pool there. Maybe more tikis around the pool?:

extra pic:

Of all the apartment complexes I have hunted down in SoCal, this place is by far my favorite. Here are some shots I took back in 2003 before they changed the color scheme.

The spectacular clubhouse!

Notice it says 'Tiki Hut' on the sliding glass doors.

Waterall is running

Great update on the place, Thanks! You can see the original sign in the apartment collage in the BOT, and the entrance in the A-frame collage in Tiki Modern. Since then they must have had another L.A. danger to Tiki atmosphere visit the place: Mexican "Slash and Burn" gardening crews! Their idea of "trimming" is cutting plants down to their stumps, so this Tiki temple has been denuded of much of its lush jungle foliage since I saw it last. There is a very cool rec room in the courtyard, too.

Hey Mike, we just parallel-posted from two different continents! YESSSS! That's how I remember the place! Thanks for the thorough documentation!

WOW! in the couple of years since we took our pictures, they really did tone down the tiki quite a bit. I'm glad there is (was) a cool rec center at the back, I'm curious to get in there now and see if it's still looks that cool. Seems the muted colors are the way to go now...

I love the bamboo covering for the metal poles on the a-frame. They look more like beachcombed ships masts giving the building more of a flotsam & jetsam feel.

thanks for reposting those images!

I found some old Southern California Edison photos of the Islander when it was new (Oct 1962). These are in one of the Huntington Library's archives, and you can order copies online:


The photographer was Joseph Fadler, and these were taken on 10/17/1962. No indication who people are in the photos, but considering the source of the archive and the fact that they are holding up a "Live Better Electrically, Gold Medallion Home" placard, I assume they are probably the developer and some Southern California Edison VIPs.


Some nice finds at the Huntington Library archives, thanks for posting.


Great clasic photos!

On 2011-09-21 22:00, abstractiki wrote:
Great clasic photos!

Yes, they are excellent!

Time capsule!!! I'm guessing that this pic:
is probably of the cooking area inside the clubhouse.


Howlinowl - I'm sure you're right. I seem to remember a kitchenette inside the clubhouse last time I explored there.

This apartment complex holds a special place for me because it was the first one I "discovered" and explored on my own after joining Tiki Central back in 2002, (though I had photographed a few others back in 1999/2000). I had just bought a rattan sofa at an estate sale 2 blocks away, and loading it into my truck I could hear the faint sound of a babbling brook or a stream, a sound so at odds with the suburban neighborhood around me, that I immediately thought there must be a tiki apartment complex nearby. Sure enough, the slot-waterfall and stream were running in the middle of the day, creating such a pleasing, soothing sound for the surrounding neighborhood. The condition of the complex was so pristine compared to other ones I had seen, that you could tell the owners took pride in the place. I drove home, got my camera, drove back, and took a bunch of photos. Of course when I checked the "Book of Tiki", I could see that Sven had been there before me. Still, it was all new to me, and I definitely felt the thrill of discovery. Some months later, Doctor Z and I did some more exploration and met the manager of the apartments, who gave us a little tour of the gardens and showed us the lava rock nests where previous tikis had stood before before they rotted away.

That main tiki in the front is almost completely rotted away in the back. It would be nice if it could be stabilized and preserved.

You should also notice that the tiki in the front bears a striking resemblance to the one that used to be in front of the Tiki Tabu in Torrance:


... as well as the ones at the Kala Kai in Lomita:


That's because they're the work of the same mystery artist who carved tikis for dozens of places all over the South Bay. I even know of a few of his tikis at private residences. No one seems to remember who he was. His style is unique, but Bob and Leroy at Oceanic Arts came up empty as well. I'll have to start a thread devoted solely his work, so that maybe someone can I identify him in the future.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2011-09-22 14:10 ]

Excellent thread!

I visited the Islander this past weekend and I'm happy to report it's doing very well. The waterfalls were running and everything looked well cared for. I submitted some photos from my visit to Critiki. I won't post them here too because they look much the same as Polynesiac's 2008 photos. I've only noticed one difference -- the A-frame supports.

ZuluMagoo (2003) Note the V-shaped supports.

Polynesiac (2008) The supports lost their tropical decoration, but they are still present.

My picture (2014) The V-shaped supports have been replaced with vertical columns.

The big concrete pads at the bottom are ugly but I believe that is code now. This is just something I noticed and I don't want it to sound negative. Relatively speaking, this is still a very well-preserved tiki apartment complex. It's worth visiting.

Aaaah - Good news for once! Alone the fact that the A-frame is still there, and that the entrance bridge still has Tiki posts with anchor-chain railing is of precious rarity!

I came of age in the mid sixties and I was fortunate to be invited to several parties at the “tiki apt’s on Rosemead Blvd. in Pico-Rivera. They’re pretty run down now but they were awesome back than, a lot like the pix in this thread. Last week I noticed one of the complexes still has a tiki mounted on a 2nd floor corner out front. Tanks for the memories!
Btw, no one knew how to make “tropical “ drinks at the parties that I attended but an awful lot of Bud was consumed.

We got a page-turner again…I just deleted mine from the Tiki Tabu Apts post….

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