History

Jurgensen's sign a Westwood history artifact

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Photo: LA Observed

Several LA Observed regulars knew right away that the mystery Jurgensen's Grocery sign I posted last week can be found on Glendon Avenue in Westwood Village. It's on the north-facing wall of the 1929 building that now houses the Glendon Grill — one of a dozen original Westwood Village buildings that are still around. According to village historian Steve Sann, the spot originally was the home of Westwood Village Market. Jurgensen's came in during the mid-1930s as an upscale, gourmet market that purveyed "foods of the world," as you see in the sign.

As several readers remember, there's nothing in LA today that is quite like Jurgensen's. Harold S. Jurgensen opened the first store in Pasadena, and the luxury chain grew to 22 stores. Jurgensen's thrived on offering quality and hard-to-find imported foods with premium service (and charged premium prices.) In Westwood a staff driver would deliver phoned-in orders to homes in Bel-Air, Westwood and Holmy Hills. The last Jurgensen's closed in Pasadena, at Lake and California, in 1993.

The Glendon building housed Jurgensen's until the late 1970s, Sann says. After that the space was split between the Moustache Cafe and Westwood Village Florist, which is still around on Gayley Avenue. Glendon Grill came in a few years ago. The sign itself was exposed several years ago when the adjoining movie theater building was torn down.

Add Westwood trivia: Many know that the building on Westwood Boulevard that houses Peet's Coffee and 800 Degrees Pizza was a Ralphs Market and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I didn't realize that across the village, at Weyburn and Broxton, the home of Stan's Corner Donut Shoppe — a village institution now for 50 years — was a Van De Kamp's Bakery.

Also this: The Huntington Library has an online collection of Westwood photos from around 1931 that are astounding. They are very high-resolution panoramas that let you zoom in on streets and buildings. The rarely seen Hi-Ho Cafe at Wilshire and Westwood is visible, as well as the Ralphs and the cemetery that later became famous for inhabitants such as Marilyn Monroe. Start here and poke around. Be sure to zoom in.

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Looking north up Westwood Boulevard past Wilshire Boulevard in 1931. The Ralphs store at Westwood and Lindbrook is in the center.


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