We have Eldon Davis to thank for many of those googie coffee shops that sprouted along Southern California boulevards in the 1950s, then spread across the country. Bob's Big Boy, Norms, Ship's, Denny's, Tiny Naylor's and Googies itself — the familar style was defined by Davis, partner Louis Armet and their firm. Davis died on Friday. He graduated from USC and was the architect in charge on more than 3,000 projects, including many churches. His friend Chris Nichols of the Los Angeles Conservancy announced the news on his Los Angeles magazine blog with a brief but pretty special tribute. Here's an excerpt:
I was a teenager when Alan Hess wrote Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture. His groundbreaking exploration of the style had a profound impact on me. I begged my parents to take me on expeditions in search of the survivors and it led to my great love of architecture and my great love of Los Angeles....
Just a month ago Eldon, his wife Luana and I walked around Hollywood looking at buildings and eating pie. Eldon was my architectural hero. He even inspired my love of bow ties. He created all my favorite places and led a remarkable life. I will miss him greatly.
Created all my favorite places. Nice, Chris.
Armet and Davis artwork in 1955 for Googies #2 at Olive and 5th streets in Downtown Los Angeles