Merle’s Drive-in

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Merle’s Drive-in

Merle’s Drive-in at MacArthur and Coast Highway, May 9th, 1952. Beckner Collection, Sherman Library. Merle’s Coffee shop opened in 1951 at the corner of Coast Highway and MacArthur Blvd., a space now occupied by the Corona del Mar Plaza. Merle’s, which billed itself as a drive-in, offered a typical menu of coffee shop staples.  In… Read More »

The Novelty Architecture of Los Angeles

Betsy Ann Ice Cream, unidentified location in Los Angeles, ca. 1930. W. C. Sawyer Collection. In the 1920s, Los Angeles was booming.  Flush with water from the Owen Valley, affordable land, a growing network of roads, and a burgeoning film industry, the city rapidly expanded. One of the changes that took place was the emergence… Read More »

Where the Buffalo Roamed…in Orange County

Millions of bison once roamed North America, but Orange County w aas never part of their natural habitat. It is perhaps unsurprising that it took an amusement park — the Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch — to introduce a herd of bison to Orange County. Although today commemorated by a street name, Bison Road, and a… Read More »

Newport Beach Meets Hurley-on-Thames

Perhaps the most iconic building in the Newport Beach neighborhood of Corona del Mar is the tutor-style Five Crowns. Thanks to one woman’s remarkable foresight and intuition, Corona del Mar hosts a traditional English inn. Matilda MacCulloch was a woman with vision. After traveling throughout Europe, marrying a Scottish nobleman, and living for many years… Read More »