Can a Taco Stand Be a Historic Monument?

The Colosseum, It Ain't

The owner of Henry’s Tacos, at the corner of Tujunga and Moorpark in the glorious San Fernando Valley, thinks it can:

The third-generation owner of Henry’s Tacos has filed an application with the City’s Office of Historic Resources to have the taco stand declared a Historic-Cultural Monument. Janis Hood, granddaughter of founder Henry Comstock, hopes to preserve the building “if any development issues come up in the future,” her representative, Charles Fischer, told
Fischer says the architectural style of Henry’s Tacos is in the “Googie Vernacular,” with its upswept roof and integral signage. He acknowledges that the taco stand is “definitely on the lower, simpler end of the scale” but says that’s part of the reason to preserve Henry’s Taco stand since it “may have been a prototype for similar structures that dotted the Los Angeles area during the 1960s and 1970s” of which only a handful remain.
“Henry’s Tacos … is an intact example of the type of roadside fast food stand that punctuated the American landscape during the mid-20th Century,” wrote Fischer in the HCM application. Fischer specializes in obtaining historical designations for sites and lists more than 100 Historical-Cultural Monuments that he has written and/or researched and advocated for since 1988 on his website.
When I first read about this, my response was: you gotta be kidding me.  A taco stand?  But it actually makes sense in a lot of ways.  He didn’t make up “Googie”: I’ve heard it a lot.  Besides, the first McDonald’s Restaurant, in Downey, California, is a historic monument; it makes sense to memorialize the little guy as well. 
But It's Better Than This

And no sniggering from the Bay Area contingent.  You guys think that the horrific Transamerica Tower is beautiful architecture, so you are blocked from complaining on the grounds of lack of standing.  And you destroyed Hetch Hetchy.  So there.

By the way, I never knew about the Land Use LA website: it’s a nice site and a great way to keep up with developments in the west coast’s most sophisticated and exciting city.

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About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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