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Pitcairn Motel, Garden Grove, CA (motel)

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Name:Pitcairn Motel
Street:11715 Harbor Blvd
City:Garden Grove


The Pitcairn Motel was located at 11751 Harbor Boulevard near Disneyland. It sported one of the "Best Ever" Tiki motel signs out there that lasted until it was demolished in 1998. I have seen very little paper ephemera from this place, occasionally spotting this matchbook on ebay.

There are a few nice photos of the sign and the A-Frame lobby building to be found on the web (and the Book of Tiki).

Near the end

The OC Tiki exhibit from Kevin and Jodie had a photo with info on the sign.

There was also a restaurant building located next door that had a bit of an A-frame/Poly Pop look to it. It was originally called the East Wind as shown in this photos

It later changed names to Yoshis's Japanese restaurant as shown here.

The sign has inspired a few artists.

Including some from TC

Sure would love to track down a postcard or brochure from this place.


This temple has developed a special kind of popularity in the tiki world. I'm surprised it didn't already have it's own thread. Thanks DC for finding all those images and putting them all together in this much needed thread.

Nice post, for a spectacular sign! I have also been tracking the sign in contemporary works, since most were inspired by its full page photo in the BOT. It has also appeared in a video game...

...as a CD cover, and on boxer shorts. This one is my favorite though...

...since it unites TWO images form the BOT, that sign and the Leroy Tiki. :)

What Cd cover Sven?
and can you post a pic of it please?


It was such an iconic Tiki sign, you can see why people where "drawn" to copy the image!

The CD cover was BJ Cole's Trouble in Paradise.

Never seen a pic of the Pitcairn boxers.


For completionists, here's the boxers :) :

...altered quite a bit, but nevertheless:

The music of the previous CD has nothing to do with Tiki, or surf, or anything mid-century. The sign was just chosen by a graphic designer as a cool visual. The same goes for this CD for the Japanese pop group The High-Lows, which used parts of the sign, and helped itself to several other elements from the BOT:

The title of the CD also comes from the BOT, and is a funny insider joke. :D

thanks guys,


Another view of the sign, from the video game Grand Theft Auto


Another artist inspiration from the Pitcairn Motel - This one entitled Tiki Palms.

By George Thomas, you can purchase a print here


Nicely done. And here, its death sentence, from my upcoming publication "Tiki Pop":

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2014-05-18 15:37 ]

And they called it "redevelopment"!

Picked up Another match-cover design from The Pitcairn Motor Hotel.

With the great sign logo

and that 1950s space area font.


Go Dc!

Got this message from Palmer Utterback, some history of the Pitcairn Motel:

My father, James P. Utterback, was the builder of the Pitcairn Motel. He came up with the Tiki concept for the neon sign and motel. My uncle, his younger brother, was in Tahiti on the sound crew filming Mutiny on the Bounty at the time. This led him to the idea of basing the motel theme on the Pitcairn Island. I remember him showing our family the preliminary drawings for the Tiki sign. I don't know what happened to those drawings. I have a photo of my father on the job site with his architecture plans draped over the hood of his car in discussion with the building foreman. This was during the early framing phase of the project before the sign was installed.

More info and some pics from Palmer. The pics are labeled as 1960

"Below are two photos. One of the Pitcairn under construction. The other is my father on the job site going over the plans with the contractor. I was about 9 years old and went out to the site with him a number of times during the construction. Our family went out there shortly after the sing went up. I wish I had a photo, but I don't. My uncle ended up marrying a sweet lady from Tahiti. She worked as dancer in the Tiki room at Disneyland.

See the tree on the right of the top photo? My father hated that tree because it was going to block the view to his beautiful neon Tiki sign. The property owner was refusing to allow the tree to be removed. My father would throw a few choice cuss words at the tree every time he drove by it."

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