On the Border

Right on the La Crescenta/La Cañada border is a part of La Cañada that seems to belong more to La Crescenta. It was especially confusing as a kid, having classmates who lived in La Cañada, but attended Glendale schools. The stretch of La Cañada from just west of the YMCA to the border at Briggs actually lies within the Glendale Unified School District boundaries, and that section of Foothill Boulevard and the shops located there just seem to be a natural extension of La Crescenta.

Years ago, folks from Montrose and La Crescenta did much of their regular grocery shopping in this area as there were two supermarkets located here. One of those markets was located in the building that is now Big Lots. Do you remember when Albertsons was at this location? Albertsons left the Crescenta Valley many years ago and this spot became Pic ‘N’ Save and then more recently, Big Lots.

The spot where Ross Dress For Less resides used to be home to Ralphs supermarket before it moved several blocks west to The Marketplace shopping center. Do you remember when the Ralphs on this spot had its own coffee shop and soda fountain inside the store? Do you remember when there was a hitching post outside the store? Quite a few portions of La Cañada are still horse territory and years ago it wasn’t uncommon for folks to ride their horses to the store.

Next door to Ralphs was a dime store. Do you remember Cornet 5 and 10? Cornet was a variety store that sold an assortment of general merchandise such as kitchen items, small tools, holiday decorations and small toys. There was also a place next door for Chinese take-out food. Do you remember Ming’s Chinese Food-to-Go?

If you were in need of a new suit, shirt or tie, across Foothill in the spot now occupied by JoAnn Fabrics was the place to go. Do you remember Robert Hall Clothes? Located in the building at the corner of Foothill and La Cañada Plaza, Robert Hall, a men’s clothing store, was a pioneer of the low-overhead, big-box store merchandising technique, combining inexpensively made goods with extensive radio and television advertising. In July 1977, Robert Hall’s parent company filed for bankruptcy and all Robert Hall stores were closed and inventory was auctioned off.

For a pair of shoes to go with the new suit, you just had to walk across the street to the shoe store. Do you remember Kinney Shoes? Kinney, which billed itself as “The Great American Shoe Store,” was located in the storefront that now houses The Little Gym, Baby Rai, Supercuts and Jenny Craig. Though Kinney Shoes ceased operations in late 1998, a bit of its legacy lives on via one of its spinoff companies, FootLocker.

If all that shopping put a dent in your wallet, you could just go next door to the bank to take out more cash. Do you remember Crocker Bank? Located on the spot that is now Pier 1 Imports, Crocker Bank was one of the first banks in California to offer automated teller machine service. In 1986, Crocker Bank was sold to Wells Fargo.

Next door to the bank was a spot where you could possibly spend a lot of money. Do you remember Hauter Used Cars? The used car lot for Fred Hauter Ford in Montrose was located on the land that now hosts the mini-mall with Blockbuster Video and El Pollo Loco.

After all that shopping, what better than to relax with a Margarita at the nearby Mexican restaurant. Do you remember Toro de Oro? Located on the spot where Yumi Yaki Sushi Japanese Restaurant now resides, Toro de Oro was a mainstay for Mexican food in the area for many years.

Do you remember spending the whole afternoon shopping on that one-block stretch of Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta? I mean, La Cañada?