By Mary O’KEEFE
On Tuesday a new Welcome to La Crescenta sign was unveiled at the northeast corner of Briggs Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.
Although it has been difficult to learn the history of the sign, according to Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce (CVCOC) President Mike Riley, members did find out some information.
“There was another [Welcome to La Crescenta] sign placed at the other end of town in the mid-1950s,” he said.
It was thought that this sign was placed at around the same time as the one at the Briggs Avenue location in the Pickens pocket park area.
“There wasn’t a fence here at that time and the tree that [now looks over the sign] was probably more of a sapling,” he said.
The original sign at Briggs and Foothill fell victim to a Crescenta Valley windstorm.
“It was back in March when the sign came down due to heavy winds,” Riley added.
The sign was already in poor shape, cracked and splintered, and had blown off its posts and landed on the sidewalk along Foothill Boulevard. Local resident Todd Thornbury, and his family members, found and rescued what was left of the sign.
The CVCOC members wanted to replace the sign and reached out for help for funding. USC Verdugo Hills Hospital CEO Keith Hobbs came to the rescue and donated funds to keep the welcome sign on the corner.
Hobbs, who grew up in the area, said the sign has a personal meaning to him because as a kid he remembers seeing it on the corner as a staple of his community. His father-in-law used to own the 76 service station that is across the street, within view of the sign.
It seemed serendipitous for Thornbury to rescue the sign as a close family friend, Ryan Maldonado, is also an artist and is owner of Pandemonium Signs. The newly installed sign is now angled so it is easy to see from the 76 service station.
In designing it, Maldonado followed the pattern of the former sign in respect of the past but made it larger with brighter colors to attract the attention of all who enter La Crescenta.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger supported the return of the sign and her field deputy Savannah Moore was on hand to make a presentation.
Riley thanked all those involved in resurrecting the sign including Thornbury and his family, Maldonado, Hobbs, Michael Morgan from the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley, members of the CVCOC, LA County Public Work and the Supervisor’s office.