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Yesterday I finally achieved one of my silliest personal goals ever. I completed Zulu Magoo’s Tiki Tour of Southern California. Back in 2005, Mike published a list of tiki locations in and around Orange and Los Angeles Counties which he gave out at Oasis V. The list consisted of more than 50 sites.

Earlier this year, I found a matchbook from the Royal Tahitian in Ontario. I thought, “What an amazing place this must have been,” and I wondered if any of the bones were left. I went home and did a TC search and found Johnnie velour’s post from 2003 stating that the building was about to be torn down. I don’t know why I felt the need to see it for myself. I swung by one day on my way home and found the building still standing. I also met an employee who told me some great old stories about the place.

That seemed to have sparked something in me. I got out my copy of the Tiki Tour to see how many places I had already visited. 16. Yes. 16 out of more than 50. Lame. I’ve spent the past five months hitting the other 36 locations. I live out toward Palm Springs, so I’m over an hour away from most of these locations. This project got much tougher as the price of gas continued to rise.

I really wish I had started sooner because so many of these places have disappeared. :(

Here is what I did find.

Aloha Arms Apartments - Pico Rivera

Beautiful, but also scary and gang-ridden. Going here alone was a very bad idea.

Paradise island Apartments - Pico Rivera

Kapu Tiki Apartments - Pico Rivera

Bahooka Restaurant - Rosemead

I try to make it out to Bahooka at least once a month for my pile of ribs. I’ve been doing this for several years now, and this is the only picture I could find. We’re at Bahooka. I swear.

Kahlua Apartments - Rosemead


Kona Kai Apartments - San Gabriel


Outrigger Apartments - Pasadena


Kona Kai Apartments - Torrance

Eli Kai Apartments - Torrance

Tiki Apartments - Torrance

Samoan Sea Apartments - San Pedro

Islander Apartments - Santa Ana

Hanakiki Apartments - Santa Ana

Kona Luanii Apartments - Anaheim

Oceanic Arts - Whittier

I visit Oceanic Arts once a month without fail. I make one purchase, and it is always something that you can only buy at OA. I spend a lot of time admiring all of the flotsam and jetsam that fills the place. This is my favorite lamp.

Islander Apartments - Gardena

Tiki Apartments - Los Angeles

Gone. They are now nameless box apartments.

Purple Orchid - El Segundo

Tiki Aloha Apartments - Torrance

Exotic Isle Apartments - Alhambra

Now the Jade Gardens. No tikis remain.

Tahitian Village Apartments - Reseda


Tonga Hut - North Hollywood

This is another one of those places that I visit frequently but could only find one usable picture. These are Tiki Diablo’s mugs.

Island Village Apartments - Fullerton

Hawaiian Village Apartments - Norwalk

Kona Gardens Apartments - Anaheim

Now the Hidden Village Apartments. No signs of tiki anywhere.

Kona Gardens Apartments - Garden Grove

Kona Kai Apartments - Westminster

Kona Kai Village Apartments - Glendora

Now the Valley Glen. Boo.

Hale Hawaii - Torrance

Tony’s on the Pier - Redondo Beach

I’ve been to Tony’s and yet could not find a single picture. I was there last month and took this shot of another building on the pier.

Hurricane Room - Lawndale

I could not find any evidence that the Hurricane Room still exists. I followed the directions in the guide, but all I found was La Bamba.

Trader Vic’s - Beverly Hills


Islander Motel - Eagle Rock

Royal Hawaiian Motel - Hollywood

Java Lanes - Long Beach

I had to scan this one. I took it before I owned a digital camera. The Java Lanes is long gone.

Tiki Apartments - Los Angeles

Gone. Another nameless box apartment.

Mauna Loa Gardens Apartments - West Covina

Maui Apartments - West Covina

Now the Atrium. Serious boo.

Pacific Isle Apartments - West Covina

Now the Oasis Apartments. Still stunning.

Aku Aku Motor Inn - Woodland hills

Now a Best Western. Boo again.

Tiki-Ti - Hollywood

Sam’s Seafood - Huntington Beach

Now Kona.

The Warehouse - Marina Del Rey

Don the Beachcomber - Marina Del Rey

No longer operational, but still a swell building.

Horace Heidt’s Magnolia Estates - Sherman Oaks

Shangri-La Apartments - Sherman Oaks

Kona Pali Apartments - Granada Hills


Caliente Tropics Hotel - Palm Springs


Royal Hawaiian - Laguna Beach

Islander Apartments - Inglewood

Unnamed Tiki Apartments - Duarte


Lucky Tiki - Mission Hills

I never made it to the Lucky Tiki while it was open. Here are the remains.

I could not seem to find any pictures of the places that I frequent most often. I know that I take them. I just have no clue where they are. (I borrowed the photos of Sam's, Tiki-Ti and the Purple Orchid.)

Thanks again for the guide, Mike. This was so much fun.

4

Epic post, Kate! Thank you!

Thanks Kate,now i need a cigarette,and i don't smoke.

Very nice...how I wish we had some big A-Frames in Sacramento...they are so beautiful. Your hard work is much appreciated...the pictures and narratives are great. :)

Excellent work Kate!!! You are the only person, other than myself, that I know has visited all of these places. You have truly earned your Urban Archeology merit badge.

Now for the good news/bad news. I probably have at least another 30ish places to add to that tour since I gave away the copies back in 2005. Time to publish the revised second edition I guess. And then there is always the Tiki Tour of San Diego that I put together online back for the first year that Oasis moved to the Hanalei ( I think there are about 18ish listed in that tour).

And to think, I don't even live in Southern California and have complied all of this research, think what a hardcore local could do (Boris???...) This is the booklet that I gave away at Tiki Oasis 2005, I think I gave away about 30 copies.

This is an old version of the map that was included.

Zulu

[ Edited by: ZuluMagoo 2008-08-31 21:06 ]

Amazing job Kate

Bosko

Aaaah, what a wonderful injection of Urban archeology eye candy! Kate definitely deserves that badge. Here is all I can ad at this moment, from where I am:

St. Petersburg Tikis...

..of a different scale, and time period.

RH

Incredible pics. Musta' been a hell of an experience, thanks for sharing.

This post is a call to all (specially L.A. area) Tikiphiles: Do not just be Tiki CONSUMERS, be urban EXPLORERS, find and visit these places and the remnants yourselves, they are still out there. Just the other day Boris and Kate took me to a mysterious site (any progress on that?).....But for how long...just because some of these are documented in my books does not mean they are protected, they are vanishing more and more. Go while you can!

On 2008-08-31 20:39, ZuluMagoo wrote:
And then there is always the Tiki Tour of San Diego that I put together online back for the first year that Oasis moved to the Hanalei ( I think there are about 18ish listed in that tour).

I did the Tiki Tour of San Diego that year. There were 16 locations on it. Based on the pictures that I found, it looks like I made it to 11 of them.


I'd like to thank the friends who tolerated me while I was utterly obsessed with this. Boris was my co-pilot on several trips, and a few other TCers enabled me to indulge in this particular passion of mine. The company was much appreciated.

• Nice work Tiki-Kate,
I'm glad that you never took "Oh that place is gone." for an answer and insisted on kicking the corpses yourself to make sure they were dead.

• Zulu, thanks for publishing your guide in the first place and I look forward to an expanded update. If there's anything I can do from here in L.A. let me know and I'd be happy to do it. Do you have any more copies of the original guide? Every time I try to look at Kate's copy I can only glance at a page and half before she snatches it back.

• Bigbro, Kate has a good story about the secret location from a great source.

• Everyone else get off your ass and find and take pictures of the place you know of which might still be there that you used to ride your bike past on the way to piano lessons or the Orthodontist but you're not 100% sure because you haven't seen it since last week! Jeez!

• Tiki-Kate when are you going to post the results of the Palm Springs guide?

Does anybody have the list of places for San Diego?

Thank you Kate!! I really enjoyed your post. I also want to thank Zulu Magoo for making the guide. I belive I gotmy guide from you maybe 4 or 5 years ago and I still have and love it!!

V

Wow, thanks for that great post.

ZM, I wish I had your guide when I did my south california tiki tour in 2003. But thanks to the tiki road trip that helped me at least get to the bars and restaurants.

T
TikiG posted on Mon, Sep 1, 2008 12:43 PM

Thanks Kate for posting this. This is something I want to do as well..I've seen a small percentage of these places myself but it does take time and money to do it - and before long sometimes they disappear like a fresh Mai Tai during the dog days of summer. What an accomplishment. I hope to speak to you about these locations next time our paths cross. Aloha!

Great work Kate,
that really is quite an accomplishment being that you live a good ways away from LA area.
and the Suadi gas Moguls thank you.
:wink:

I really need to take my digital camera with me all the time, while driving around for work or play.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

B

Wow - Great collection of pics Kate! I was born and raised in So Cal until I moved off to Maui about 19 yrs ago.. I remember a couple of those apt buildings from back in the day(Tahitian Village and Kona Pali in the valley), I really wasn't much into collecting tiki then but really admired it all.. One of the reason's I moved to the islands I guess...
Mahalo's

T

On 2008-09-01 06:08, bigbrotiki wrote:
This post is a call to all (specially L.A. area) Tikiphiles: Do not just be Tiki CONSUMERS, be urban EXPLORERS, find and visit these places and the remnants yourselves, they are still out there. Just the other day Boris and Kate took me to a mysterious site (any progress on that?).....But for how long...just because some of these are documented in my books does not mean they are protected, they are vanishing more and more. Go while you can!

BigBro, please see this post.

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=29671&forum=1&0

:(

C
Cammo posted on Tue, Sep 2, 2008 7:14 AM

"Does anybody have the list of places for San Diego?"

I did a San Diego Tiki Club Guidebook in 2006, there are something like 63 entries, but about 1/3 of the places are gone now. (In two years!) It lists not just Tiki places, but nautical, Hawaiian and Polynesian locales too. I think you can still get a copy at "Bamboo Source" in Oceanside fer 5 clams. Kate has one.

Otherwise, I don't get the point of Kate's thread. Kate, you don't give addresses for these so its kind of hard to use as a tour for yourself, there's only a few photos of each (and you've done a great job at shooting tons of photos of a single place, which is way more informative). These places are already documented, they're from a guidebook that is published and admittedly sparse. And you don't give any helpful hints on visiting them or how accessable they all are. And I still don't get if this is a conglomeration of past visits, then recent ones, then back to old ones, etc.

And surely you saw some other Tiki stuff along the way? I bump into Tiki Apartments everywhere.

On 2008-09-02 07:14, Cammo wrote:
And surely you saw some other Tiki stuff along the way? I bump into Tiki Apartments everywhere.

Why dontcha post some nice photos of them, then? :) That's what Tiki Central is good for. Everything else is just theory and allegation. I cannot repeat it often enough: Tiki is a visual medium, and every picture speaks a thousand words.

Kate's photos are meant to inspire, to move others to investigate and find these places by themselves. I did not publish any addresses and place names with my images in the Book of Tiki, and I think it worked pretty well that way.

BigBro, please see this post.

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=29671&forum=1&0

:(

What a bummer! That was the famous "urban archeology" example Tiki in the opening pages of the BOT, from which Jeff Berry's hands are parting the foliage to reveal its eyeball!

T

Yea. tell me about. I was PISSED when I drove by expecting to see it, and.... Nothing.

Now I want to know who has it.

Wow it always find it amazing that these places are still in the USA and apartments like those Kate found are still in existence and lived in; I'm very envious.

I suppose its ironic that I envy Kate being an hour away from Tiki Apartments but always shock my head at the American tourists swarming around the Castle's close to where I lived. I spent my youth playing around one Castle "Castle Coch" in South Wales and did rather more mature things in the grounds of Caerphilly Castle.

But I have several burning desires in relation to Tiki and one ambition / obsession is to build an A frame and hope to fulfil this when I can find some realistic dimentions to make a smaller version (any help guys)

The USA has some great history and its a shame this important part of it gets swamped in commercial interest and lack of knowledge but a big thanks to you guys that make the effort to record or preserve it.

I applaud youre efforts keep up the good work your photos mean alot to me I cant drive past this on my way home or take an hours trip to take a photo so enjoy it while its still there and fight hard to keep it if you can.

Kate -- GREAT WORK! Thanks so much for sharing these with us. Now I'm itching for a roadtrip!!!

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