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Old Posted Apr 3, 2020, 12:32 AM
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Downey, CA

Downey is a city in Los Angeles County, and is one of the "Gateway Cities" located just south and southeast of Los Angeles. The population is around 115,000.

Downey was settled in the mid-1800s, and began as an agricultural area. Oranges and dairy products were the primary exports.

As a suburb of Los Angeles, Downey experienced explosive population growth after World War II. With explosive growth came mid-century modernist architecture that is now iconic in Southern California. Also with explosive growth came new businesses, including two of the most famous fast food chains in America.

Downey has produced many famous people in its history. Notable people who have grown up in Downey have included Miranda Cosgrove, Karen and Richard Carpenter of the Carpenters, James Hetfield of Metallica, Kerry King of Slayer, and "Wierd Al" Yankovic, among others.


McDonald's, on Lakewood Boulevard at Florence Avenue.



The hamburger stand opened in August 1953. It was the second purpose-built stand to open, and is the oldest-operating McDonald's restaurant in the world.



The original Golden Arches were designed as flairs on the side of the building in order to attract drivers. The idea is one of the earliest and most successful examples of architectural branding, and is arguably the most famous examples of roadside architecture ever.



The sign at the corner of the intersection dates to 1959, and was designed to point towards the restaurant from both Florence Avenue and Lakewood Boulevard.



The first Taco Bell restaurant in the world was located at this spot on Firestone Boulevard. The restauarant was opened in 1962 by Glenn Bell.



The location is now a lot for a carpeting store. The original building was moved in 2015 to a spot at Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine.



Bob's Big Boy Broiler, on Firestone Boulevard. The restaurant was built in 1958.



The Googie-style building is the largest carhop restaurant built in California. It was almost lost to history in 2007 when it was in the process of being illegally demolished, until the police were notified. The Bob's Big Boy restaurant chain bought the largely demolished building and restored it, with the reconstruction completed in 2009.



Houses on Pomering Road.



Houses on 2nd Street.



Houses on 2nd Street at Wiley Burke Avenue.



Houses on Luxor Street.



Houses on Rives Avenue.



An apartment building on Stewart & Gray Road.



An apartment building on Stewart & Gray Road.



Businesses on Stewart & Gray Road.



Houses on Brookshire Avenue.



A restaurant on Bellflower Boulevard at Hall Road, built in 1961.



A fast food restaurant on Firestone Boulevard at Lakewood Boulevard.



Temple Ner Tamid, on Lakewood Boulevard. The synagogue was built in 1962.



Businesses on Lakewood Boulevard.



A fast food restaurant on Florence Avenue.



An office building at Florence & Downey Avenues.



Buildings on Florence Avenue.



Del Rio Lanes, on Florence Avenue.



Del Rio Lanes opened in 1958. The sign dates to 1960.



Christ Lutheran Church, on Florence Avenue.



A shopping plaza on Florence Avenue.



Casa de Parley Johnson, on Florence Avenue. The house was built in 1927 for Alexander Parley Johnson.



Houses on Clancey Avenue.



Looking up Clancey Avenue at the San Gabriel Mountains.



A house on Clancey Avenue.



Houses on Shellyfield Road.



The James Rives House, on Paramount Boulevard. The house was built in 1912 for a district attorney and walnut grower.



A milestone for the old San Diego Road, at 3rd Street and Paramount Boulevard. The milestone was placed in 1908, and marks 13 miles away from the old Los Angeles County Courthouse.



An A-frame building on Paramount Boulevard. The structure was built in 1967 as a restaurant, and is now a brewery.



Houses on Irwingrove Drive in the Orange Estates neighborhood.



Houses on 3rd Street in the Orange Estates neighborhood.

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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2020, 3:36 AM
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Interesting. I'm curious why you chose Downey? There are at least a dozen cities in the basin/O.C. that look exactly the same.
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2020, 4:23 PM
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Great thread, thanks for posting! Would love to see more SoCal areas -- I should get out and snap some pics once this quarantine's over...
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2020, 4:35 PM
LAsam LAsam is offline
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Quintessential suburban post-war Southern California. Definitely has a certain charm to it. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2020, 9:34 PM
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I have family who grew up in Downey, it has been a stable and well established city for a long time. It doesn’t have all of the glitz and glamor of perhaps some other southern ca suburbs but it is most certainly a nice place to live. It also has a few areas that are upscale and I once heard of at least two celebrities who live an upscale area of Downey. The city also has a pretty decent downtown that seems to be changing, they even have a Portos bakery in the downtown area. Most Southern California area residents know about Porto’s, it’s a popular Cuban bakery and many people would love to have one of those in their community. It’s kind a like when a community would get a Starbucks 20 years ago you know it has arrived.

It’s definitely a nice suburb that’s well under the radar with plenty of amenities. They even have a Movie Studio that used to be the former Lockeed/Boeing aerospace plant. There is a Metrolink station close by that will get you into downtown LA in 20 minutes so it’s a good location and centralize to a lot of things I would certainly live there if I had a job nearby.

Anyway thanks for sharing photos of a city that normally not on the top of list of places around Los Angeles to be photographed. I would’ve loved if you could have taken pictures around the downtown area where Porto’s is.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2020, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plinko View Post
Interesting. I'm curious why you chose Downey? There are at least a dozen cities in the basin/O.C. that look exactly the same.
The pop culture history with the oldest McDonald's and original Taco Bell location.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2020, 10:53 PM
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Downey was new suburbia back then and LA is the king of fast food...
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2020, 3:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post

Del Rio Lanes, on Florence Avenue.


Nice to see a survivor, so many bowling alleys of the vast LA area are gone!
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