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Kona Pali, Granada Hills, CA (apartments)

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Name:Kona Pali
Street:10520 Balboa Boulevard
City:Granada Hills

The Kona Pali is the sister property to the Kona Kai Apartments in San Gabriel. While all of the tikis at the Kona Kai are tan, all of the tikis at the Kona Pali are green.

I visited the Kona Pali Apartments today.

Luckily, someone had left the front door slightly ajar.

They have the same tile mosaic as the Kona Kai, but the water beneath appears to be chlorinated.

Every tiki on the property is indeed green. They almost blend into the walls.

There were a few notable differences between the two complexes. First, the tiki at the end of the entryway.

Next, the Kona Pali has this lovely structure near the pool.

Here are some of the tikis on the exterior of the building. (My mouse is cranky, so I'll upload the rest later.)

Glad to see the Tikis are all still there, even if in that green coat. The brown color the Tikis had in the early 90s was a little more natural:

I am also glad you got into the place, as I remember it wasn't easy. I never knew that Bug Tiki was holding a bowl (and that it was ...female ?), it was so overgrown ! There used to be a freestanding, elongated face Moai in the courtyard too, the slide I took of it is unfortunately missing in action. But if there were two freestanding Tikis in the 90s, there must have been a few more originally! I also had forgotten that the entrance panel Tikis had one more member than at the Kona Kai. :)

And I wonder if that fantastic naive mural in the rec room got painted over in the course of the Northridge earthquake renovations (likely), you can see it on the Kona Pali page in the BOT.

And again, just like the Kona Kai, this place is a great archive for incredibly creative Tiki Modern designs, even if some are not as successful as others, the artist apparently had free hand in trying all kinds of extreme stylizations. I wonder if he just whipped them up as he went along carving. These Tikis are a perfect example why I felt that mainland Tiki style needed to be established as an art form in its own right.

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-05-12 09:42 ]

Girl...you revisted this place before I got to it...

Too many places are getting torn down or worse yet turned into shapeless boxes with no personality (like the Aku Aku Motel in Woodland Hills)

Here are the rest of the tikis from the exterior of the Kona Pali. The more I look at these and the tikis from the Kona Kai, the more I enjoy them. I'd love to know the source of the carver's inspiration.

Great to see them all. They must have cleared some of the foliage away, I remember it being really hard to get a clear shot of some of them. Also, I was shooting on film, and somehow was more frugal with its use. Now in the age of digital photography, one can just click away until all is recorded in the right exposure and angle, a definite asset. These should be an inspiration for all.

It looks good! I grew up in Granada Hills about 1 mile east of the apt. building & about 2 miles west of the Safari Room. When I was a very young child the building was Brown, Yellow & some splashes of orange it was fabulous. There are a couple books published on Granada Hills & the Valley one is written by a guy I went to Jr. High & High School with, Jim Hier, "Granada Hills (CA) (Images of America)" I'm going to get it & see if there are any other old pic's we may not have seen in the BOT (doubt it). My Boss lived in the apt. in 1980 it looked ok in'80... not horrible as I remember but not the "place to be". Great to see NEW photos & I'm happy it still there!

Granada Hills also has a fantastic track of Joseph Eichler Homes if your into Modern located North of Rinaldi. Not to mention a town with great High School athletic stars such as John Elway & everyone's favorite school chum, Valerie Bertinelli & Cuba Gooding Jr. The Brady Bunch used my High School for filming. Other Filming locations:

The actual location of the cul-de-sac in the primetime soap opera Knots Landing was on Crystalaire Place in the Knollwood Country Club Estates area of Granada Hills and the Knollwood Country Club
In the fifth episode of season 6 of the television show 24, Jack Bauer visits Granada Hills and rescues a man from a crashed helicopter.
Many locations along Chatsworth Street in Granada Hills were filmed in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and in My Tutor.
My Name Is Earl is frequently filmed in Granada Hills.
The high school scenes from Hannah Montana are filmed at Granada Hills High School.
Several scenes from the movie E.T. were filmed in Granada Hills.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin's final musical segment was shot near O'Melveny Park, located in Granada Hills.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granada_Hills,_California

Thanks Kate...

Again great job Kate, you are correct Sven there are Tiki's missing from there, I was working right near there after the Northridge quake it was between our job site and the only Home Depot in the area. I had met Sven the year before he had told me about the Kona Pali so I was looking forward to locating the place and as it turned out the first day we got there I drove past it.
That whole part of the valley looked like a war zone, construction guys sleeping in cars (hotels were full) piles of rubble in front of every house many condemned buildings were still standing.
The Kona Pali had been damaged in the earthquake and the apartments looked like they were undergoing a huge remodel but every time I tried to get in it was locked. I finally gained entry and the inside of the place looked very much like ancient ruins, Tikis laying around, construction trash, over grown plants, etc… I wandered around for a while before I found the one guy who could communicate with me, he confirmed it was going to remain in the Tiki style, so I had to put any thoughts of saving artifacts away. There was a lava carved Tiki and several other carvings laying around (that I could find), the rec room was being used for tools and material storage it was locked but thru a dusty window the mural still looked to be there.

My very best Alohas


Back to make a up-date to this post, A great post my our missed friend Tiki Kate.
I grew up within walking distance of the Kona Pali as I stated above. If you were to be lucky enough to live in the Kona Pali Apartments in my home town of Granada Hills most likely you shopped at the Ralphs Market just across the street located at 17020 Chatsworth Street, at the Balboa Boulevard intersection.(now a Walgreen's)
Here is a look at the fabulous Super Market I'm sure you would have conveniently crossed the street to shop at. This location Ralphs Market opened in November 1959. The below Images range from 1959-1970
Next door to the Kona Pali Apartments, a very short walking distance away was the Drive-Thru Peter Pan Dairy, basically fast dairy products, some alcohol and cigarettes. These business were a staple in my childhood, my stay at home Mom shopped all of these businesses. Twenty feet from the dairy was Tinkerbell Drive-Thru Dry Cleaners who also delivered. They were beautiful mid century Googie buildings. The Dariy used the Disney Peter Pan character image as part of it's logo I have no idea if they were licensed to do so, I'll bet not. I believe the Tinkerbell Cleaners is still in business in the same location however it was remodeled and is unrecognizable to me today.
Enjoy these great Mid Century photos please,

To see more of these great on line vintage images and more check it out, it's tons of fun.


[ Edited by: Hiphipahula 2012-04-26 15:09 ]

Great imagery to let you imagine the neighborhood this apartment building was once in, Kelly!

It took me a while to decide where to post this, my 10 000 st Tiki Central post. I didn't want to do it with its own thread, remembering the b.s. the mention of my 5000th post had generated. This might not be the case nowadays, because TC is much less active, but I just don't want to be accused of boasting with numbers - as if I myself would not know that it is not about the quantity, but the quality of posts. Well, I believe that most of the time, I have delivered both.

With appreciation I look back at the golden days of TC, when active Tiki archeologists like puamana, Sabu and Tiki Kate posted great finds and images here. As this generation has faded into the background, many of the newer members have no reference other than what Tiki is most prominently featured as on the internet today: To many, TIKI is now represented by mermaids, mixology, fezzes, burlesque, and assorted other retro genres, all thrown into the mix and shaken up make up a colorful party culture. As discussed many times here before, these are all wonderful worthy subjects on their own, and they indubitably are now part of the Tiki REVIVAL. Which is a "retro lifestyle", similar but different than its mid-century inspiration. And which I, like many here, enjoy greatly. :) I am merely differentiating here.

I had no inkling that any of it would evolve to the degree it has when I was cruising the San Fernando Valley in 1993, looking for tall palm trees in hopes of finding an intact Tiki village at the end of the rainbow. When I came upon the Kona Pali, I knew I had struck gold. I had found the Kona Kai apts on Rosemead Blvd 6 months before, and was amazed that a sister apartment existed, one that was even bigger and quite a bit more elaborate.

One reason I decided to set my big numba post here is that many folks might not realize that it was the proliferation of Tiki APARTMENT BUILDINGS that made Tiki Style graduate from a mere restaurant genre to its own art form. There are numerous other theme restaurant concepts that proliferated in the mid-century, but none other had its concepts applied to residential architecture to such a degree.

So I returned to the Kona Pali last weekend and was happy to find it had survived the tides of time splendidly, with its palm trees that much taller:

Granted, the new green paint job applied after the '94 Northridge Earthquake is not my favorite, but it could have been worse:

Also gone are the long outrigger beams and the resin flower lamp...


...and nothing remains of the faint traces of stencilled Tiki masks on the cork "shields" that I was lucky to capture at the Kona Kai before they disappeared forever:

But what is still there is the other reason to post the big 10 here: The stylization and creativity which the Tikis of the Kona Pali (and the Kona Kai) exhibit, to me perfectly embodies what makes mid-century Tiki style so cool: The perfect balance of authentic Polynesian, midcentury modern, and cartoonish elements, creating a new art form.

The entrance boasts FIVE Tikis instead of the four at the Kona Kai apts, here are the four that are similar to the ones there:

They to some degree are examples of the various Tiki forms found in the Polynesian Triangle: Hawaiian, Marquesan, Maori. The fifth one is as fine an example of American Tiki style as one can imagine:

So are the Tikis on the pool hut:

The door of which still has its name sign !:

And then there is this strange never before and since seen Tiki !:

...and this classy Moai:

Plus, seen for the first time this visit, this great rock carving:

For further details of the Kona Pali and Kona Kai, please see the Book of Tiki pages 222-223
Maybe this is as good a time as any to pre-announce that Taschen is planning to reprint the Book of Tiki in their 25 Year anniversary series in 2013 :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2012-07-26 17:05 ]

On 2012-07-26 10:53, bigbrotiki wrote:

Maybe this is a good time as any to pre-announce that Taschen is planning to reprint the book of Tiki in their 25 Year anniversary series in 2013 :)

Now that is some fantastic news!


A fitting post for 10,000. Congratulations on the Book of Tiki reprint, now I can finally replace my well-used, dog-eared soft cover copy with a nice new hard cover edition.



A more than worthy post for the big 10K! Also glad to hear about the BOT reprint! I hope it is in the semi-hard cover, as I only have a paperback version left. I left the original hardcover version I had with my carver friend in Banaue, Philippines at his request for inspiration and it was lost in a great mudslide that swept through his house! =-0


I too wondered where that 10,000th post would end up. Why of course, Locating Tiki! Great to hear BOT will be available for more of the masses to discover the history of TIKI Sven!!

[ Edited by: A Frame 2012-07-26 16:35 ]

Good news on the reprinting, Sven.

It's time for a drive over to Granada Hills as a reminder to stop and look at my surroundings.

Thanks Sven and the rest of the regular contributors to the Locating Tiki threads. I don't post in those threads much myself, but they're among my favorites to read.


Congratulations Sven on your 10k post and the Book of Tiki reprint that is very exciting, BIG news! I'm so happy you chose this, Tiki Kate's thread to post upon, rather bittersweet, I know how pleased Kate would be. I too miss straight up, pure "Tiki Topics" such as yours Kate's, Sabu's and others. I asked Sabu recently to post some topics and/or to resurrect some old topics as I feel there is plenty of interest and learning by old and new tikiphiles to be learned and enjoyed. Knowlage is power in that it makes this culture so fun. Congratulations again Sven and I'm looking forward to all things Tiki to come. Keep on teachin' on! -Kelly

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