My Cruise Down Whittier Boulevard

Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles is a street with deep rooted history. In a way it has become the pinnacle of East Los Angeles. Even though I did not grow up in the area, I always heard of Whittier Boulevard. It has often known as the hub for Mexican-Americans on the Eastside. Old Chicano films and music often brought this to light.  You can  still take a drive down Whittier today and feel some of the history seeping from the buildings. I wish I could have seen it during its prime time. However, I can only imagine and listen to stories of the past.

Fellow blogger Al Desmadre is a great Eastside source when it comes to forgotten history of Whittier Boulevard he has written excellent  posts reliving the era.

What caught my curiosity of this street? Well I had been driving down it almost every Sunday meeting friends near Montebello. On the way back instead of taking the freeway I went down Whittier Boulevard. Since the street is pretty popular I never thought about blogging about it before, but hey everybody has their own perspective on a place. I decided to do a short but sweet photo session on the beauty I see on Whittier Boulevard.

Johnny’s Shrimp Boat a classic joint from back-in-the day. This was my first time trying it. I liked the shrimp but the rice gray beans was too much.

Starting near Whittier and Soto, not too far from my favorite LA River bridge 6th Street bridge.

 Renovated theater above turned church like most of them right??


My friend Tana’s boyfriend, Sal , took us to this torta spot a while ago. He raved about the torta de carnitas, and he was oh so right, they were yummy yummy.

Focos de navidad

Ropa sucia

Carnitas Michoacan #3, now this place is a trip. Its been eccentric ever since I can remember, but I never actually ate at this location.  I can tell the owner has some charm and whit. Zillions served I tell ya.

Get your ice cream and taco carritos here.

You will definitely see many virgencitas on Whittier Boulevard.

Get your malted milk shakes here.

Huggy Boy was an icon in the Mexican American community back in the days. Read an article on Huggy Boy here by Gustavo Arellano.

This part of Whittier is pretty much cemetery lane. There are about four cemeteries within a few blocks. Those include Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Home of Peace Cemetery and Mt Zion Cemetery. My friend pointed out an interesting fact about the block with the cemeteries near it. In the same area you were able to buy coffins, grave stones, and flowers. They were all being sold and manufactured by individual business in the area. From my experience I never seen that at any other cemeteries I been to. Organic solidarity maybe??

Wow, I was surprised when I seen this place shut down. El Perrodero aka a very festive muffler shop used to be a attention grabber. The bright colors and decor made you look twice. The owner must know the owner from Carnitas Michoacan I bet. However,  not sure what happened to this place. I remember seeing this place all the time when I was little. I found an interesting blog capturing images and history of East LA and El Perrodero.

She floats.

My favorite building on Whittier Boulevard, the old Golden Gate theater. If you got to read Al’s post the building is going to be demolished and turned into an exciting CVS! Thumbs down!!!

Now, I did take a turn from Whittier and went down Atlantic Ave and fell in love with the abandoned Jim’s burgers behind the theater! I don’t know if the era is right but for some reason I imagine couples leaving the theater after watching a movie and heading next door to Jim’s to get a burger and fries. Why was it abandoned? East LA loves Jim’s Burgers? It was very odd, in a way.

As I made my way down Atlantic leaving a snippet of Whittier Boulevard I noticed an old Schwinn bike shop still open. They still had what looked like the original sign.

Great ironwork.

 Well that is it for my perspective of Whittier Boulevard. It is a charming street full of memories and history. Until the next street!





Exuse my blurry pictures.

10 thoughts on “My Cruise Down Whittier Boulevard

  1. I’m loving your pics from this great street. Is there cooler signage anywhere in L.A.?

    Yes, the farting muffler shop is no more. Bill London (aka “Alcapone”) the visionary behind the place died recently, and his collections of oddities were removed from the buildings. (I hope whoever ended up with the giant fountain pen is happy.)

    A couple years back my husband and I paid a visit and got a guided tour of the symbolic paintings Bill had commissioned, representing his dream world of three-dimensional chess, pop corn salesmanship and 1930s gangster excess. These were housed in the big warehouse space just east of the shop, behind these amazing wall fountains which he had filled with blue pigmented liquid which would splash on you if you weren’t careful.

    He also explained the reason for the yellow and blue color scheme of his shop: he believed that automobiles, which were in his mind his real customers, respond to safety yellow and mail truck blue, so he painted his business to make the cars comfortable. It was kind of hard to understand, but the gist was that yellow was for protection, and blue was for the soul.

  2. Thanks Chimatli, excuse some of the photos they are a but blurry because I took some while driving. I also could not make them smaller for some reason so thats why some look big lol….@ Kim Copper, thanks… and Oh geesh that is sad about the man who owned the perrodero shop may he rest in peace. I had no idea he was an intresting fellow like that but with the way he had his place am sure he was.

  3. Dona-Check out “Boulevard Nights” the movie from 1979, to see how it looked in 79′!! I absolutely enjoyed your post!! Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I love this post! 🙂 If only every old sign and faded storefront could talk and share the sights and sounds that they have seen throughout the decades. Those of us from there are inextricably woven into Whittier Boulevard’s fabric of our culture and history. It’s funny how for all those years we simply knew it as home, and only now do we begin to want to preserve and cherish the bygone memories and images of “The Boulevard”. It’s changed a lot but, but every time I go back I find one more little detail preserved on the street that triggers a childhood memory. Thanks DJ, for your so cool perspective! Do more! 😉

  5. Dona- Check out the Chinese cafe, still there, next to the pool hall, (“Borja’s at the time) in the movie scene where “Chuco walks by after strolling the Boulevard after telling the homegirls from “VGV’ that he’s “been around”. it’s still there!! Also, closer to McBride and Whittier, there is another, still there, that is seen in the movie also!! Great pieces of history that are still there!! I have always enjoyed AD’s perspective of the Boulevard as well!!, still hoping for his “What’s Left” post! Thanks Again!!!!!!

  6. Great photos, Dona Junta. I took Whittier blvd. from Boyle Heights all the way to its end in OC (La Habra?) a few years ago. Enjoyed it much more than taking what was once route 66 from Santa Monica to San Bernardino, which doesn’t start delivering any old route 66 lore until Fontana or so (east bound), where you start seeing the weird motels, like the one with the tepees. Speaking of Boulevard Nights the movie, it’s too bad cruising isn’t a regular pastime anymore. I don’t buy that the police shut it down. Oh, I think they’ve tried. But never successfully. I know in Sacramento it bounced all over town from places the cops chased everyone away from. Oakland “sideshows” are still off the hook every weekend, and police attempts at breaking them up are a total joke. They just go right to the next block. Then of course in LA you’ve always had the street races, which still go on to this day, despite police efforts at breaking them up. By far and large people just quit on cruising and lowriding as a frequent weekend night thing, for whatever reason. And I think it’s sad, because it’s much safer and more pleasant than the aforementioned activities. Thanks for the great read and photos, Dona!

  7. I love the post & pics. I think somebody should try to convince the organizers of the Great LA Walk to have it go down Whittier this year. A great way to introduce outsiders (like me) to the amazing history and sights on the boulevard.

  8. omg…. DONA….. k lindos recuerdos cundo mire estas fotos me trajieron muchas memorias yo vivia en el glolden gate x 5 anos fuero Buenos y malos momentossssss….

  9. Had so much FUN driving up and down Whittier Blvd. Going to the movies at the Golden Gate theater. Met a lot of people ! Still have some of those friends to this day !!! The Golden Gate theater was the Best

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