“I’m bored!” That’s what a lot of kids say these days. It seems as though they’re not entertained unless they have a video game controller in their hands. Years ago, we were never bored. We didn’t have the time. We were busy working on hobbies, taking music lessons, or just being outside riding bikes and having fun.
One great place to ride bikes near Montrose was known as “The Wash” although it did have a more formal name. Do you remember the Sparr Debris Basin? It was a flood control basin that collected runoff and debris from the Sparr channel. For kids, though, it was the perfect place to ride dirt bikes, with the rugged terrain lending itself perfectly to jump ramps, whoop-de-dos and drop-offs. In the ‘70s, two baseball fields were built on the hilltops above the debris basin and in the late ‘80s the entire area was developed into what is now Montrose Community Park.
Another place to ride dirt bikes was located on the south side of Foothill between Briggs and Ocean View. Do you remember Spokebenders Pedal Park? Located in a vacant lot just below Foothill, Spokebenders was an “unofficial” BMX park created by local kids.
Do you remember riding your bike without a helmet? The park only lasted a few years and is now the site of a condominium complex.
If you were looking for a hobby, there were two shops in Montrose to help with that. Do you remember Hansen’s Hobby Shop or Montrose Hobby Shop? Hansen’s was located on Honolulu where the Montrose Directory offices are now. It was the place to go for balsa wood, beads, yarn, leather and all the supplies for those “Indian Guides” projects. Montrose Hobby Shop, on Honolulu just west of Rosemont, specialized in model airplanes and rockets, with dozens of them hanging from the ceiling. Do you remember Estes model rockets?
Montrose was also home to a shop that catered to amateur prestidigitators. Do you remember the Montrose Magic Shop?
Just watching the proprietors demonstrate the tricks and illusions found in this shop on Ocean View was entertainment enough.
Music has always kept kids entertained and Montrose has had its share of music stores. The last of the record stores to come and go from Montrose took over the former J.C. Penney building currently occupied by Sake restaurant and Spa Pura. Do you remember Tempo Records? In the ‘80s, Tempo carried a large selection of record albums and was one of the first area shops to offer compact discs.
In the 1970s another record store came to Montrose. Do you remember Here, There and After?
Originally located on Honolulu just west of Rosemont, the store later moved to where The Black Cow restaurant is now. Though they did not sell musical instruments, Here, There and After did sell other non-musical instruments. Do you remember the glass case filled with colored glass smoking pipes? Those were for a different kind of hobby altogether!
Grayson’s Tune Town has been in Montrose since 1953. Do you remember when they used to sell records? Do you remember 45 RPM singles? Grayson’s was a regular stop on Saturday mornings to pick up the latest weekly Top 40 listing sponsored by AM radio station 93 KHJ. Do you remember 93 KHJ?
For music lessons, you could always go to Grayson’s. In the 1970s, however, door-to-door salesmen from a new music studio in Montrose canvassed local neighborhoods selling, of all things, accordion lessons! Do you remember Triangle Music Studio? Originally located in the upstairs of a building at Verdugo and Broadway, the studio later moved to Honolulu where Quilt ‘n’ Things now resides. Though they specialized in the accordion, Triangle also provided guitar and drum lessons as well. In its final years, the studio moved to a space on Colorado Boulevard in Glendale.
Do you remember getting out of the house, always having something to do, all without being tied to some electronic gadget?