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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Lanai Gardens, Bakersfield, CA (apartments)

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Name:Lanai Gardens
Street:3833 (?) Union Street

This is a Polynesian inspired circa 1960's apartment building with a 5 foot Tiki out front. As I was taking pictures of the front, a resident came out and asked "is 'BOB' in trouble again?". I assumed that 'Bob' (can't remember actual name) is the owner. Hmmm-- does "bob" get into trouble often??

Hmmm...a quick perusal of the phone book didn't turn up a "Lanai Gardens" but I will investigate.
By the way, when were you here?

I drove out to the aforementioned address (actually 3883 Union Avenue), about five minutes from my house, and got some pictures. I never knew it was there, but the Tiki out front blends in well with its surroundings.

Here's the sign in front:

The front of the building (Tiki hiding behind bush from this angle):

The entryway (sorry, the sun was setting behind the building):

The Tiki guarding the complex:

Closeup showing nasal decay:

Side view with wood rot:

I spotted a friendly tenant who allowed me inside the gates to take some more photos. Her daughter said "Make sure you turn the owner in," to which her mother said, "Now honey, he's fixing things up." Guess they thought I was a reporter.

The complex has a small courtyard outside the fenced-in swimming pool, where I found this sad-looking fellow. He was the only other wooden resident and had obviously seen better days:

The place looked about half occupied, and some of the tenants keep their apartments nice:

Looks like the Lanai Gardens was a pretty decent complex in its day, but definitely could use some TLC.

Patrick McNeal,
Lurker Extraordinaire

[ Edited by: Biotron2000 on 2004-05-28 22:00 ]

[ Edited by: Biotron2000 on 2004-05-28 22:01 ]

Fine Urban Archeology, friends, and such classic example of Tiki Decay.
The "off-set eyes" concept reminds me of those young carvers in Huntington Beach who used to work for Trader Luke in San Pedro and then opened their own shop, I believe they did the "Tiki Apts." in Hollywood Riviera (BOT p.221) too...

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki on 2004-05-29 12:21 ]


As a local I had to see it for myself. I wish I could buy the place, restore it and live in every room with each one decked out to the nth degree tiki. It's not in the best part of town nor in the worst either. It looks remarkably ok for its age. Let's hope it does not meet the iron jaws of death or worse a modern makeover.

Boris and I stopped by the Lanai Gardens yesterday.

The years have not been kind to the tikis. :(

On a recent trip through Bakersfield, I checked in on the Lanai Gardens.

This sad little thing is all that remains of whatever tikis lived here.

I did some newspaper sleuthing and confirmed the Lanai Gardens is about fifty years old.

The Bakersfield Californian - September 6, 1965

I guess fifty years is just too long for wooden tikis to last outdoors -- exposed to the weather, termites, etc.

Care may be another issue. This entire property looks like it has been neglected for some time. The wooden trellis in the front is falling apart. Many of the block walls have toppled. The swimming pool has been long abandoned and is now filled with a foot of green, stagnate water mixed with trash. Even the landscaping maintenance has stopped. The grass out front is dead while the trees have become so overgrown they almost block many of the walkways.

You might think this is a bad part of town, but it's not. The property is in noticeably worse shape than everything else around it.

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