The Downtown Report: Early March Edition

Gem of a Gym

Updates are promised and promises are kept, so here we go with some info regarding the long-awaited new gymnasium at our downtown Fullerton High School. Wow. Check the spiffy chrome lettering on the front.

Workers attach letters to the front of the new FUHS gym.

Watching it go up was a bit like watching Wheel of Fortune, being unsure what letters would appear next. Started with an R, then another letter, and another. Can I buy a vowel? Of course, it spelled FULLERTON.  They were working backwards. Good idea, they don’t want to run out of room like every time any of us tries to make a hand-written sign for a lost pet or yard sale. We have all done that at least once.

See more photos of the new gym HERE.

“Auditorium” Renewal

The FUHS Auditorium at Chapman and Lemon is undergoing another retrofit and upgrade. The last time was in 1992-93 when it got a 14-month facelift.  Before that, some seismic work was done in 1972. This time there will be both seismic and access upgrades. We hear the historic character will be preserved as the concrete columns and pilasters are strengthened with steel plates and/or fiber-reinforced polymer wrap. Reinforcement work will include the clock tower, main roof, and other areas. Accessibility to bathrooms in the basement and first level and seating at the auditorium level are also part of the plan.

A New Humanities Building

The new Fullerton College Humanities Building is well underway.

Since the new Fullerton College Humanities building is not visible when driving by, it was a real shock to see how large it is. Groundbreaking for the $54 million project was one year ago. With all the barricades closing off the campus, this was hard to get to but here you go a recent photo with the dome (above), as seen in the model (below) taking shape. The building will feature new offices, conference rooms, a quad room, and a central courtyard, and will serve English, ESL, Foreign Language, Reading, and Communication Studies.

Model of the Humanities Building.

A Look Back

Before The Downtown Report, I published a monthly newsletter for the Downtown Merchants Association, which became the more inclusive Downtown Business Association.  There was an association in the 80s and that was active when many antique malls were here. Places like Blue Wolf Books, Gifford’s Stationery, Rags Stop, Snob Hill, and other shops from that era are long gone. We miss them, but of course many new retailers and restaurants have taken their places.

In the files, these bits of info from June, 2004: “Sidewalk Sale. Do you remember our Biggest Sidewalk Sale in 113 years a few years ago? Get on board, call Connie or Pam at Lil’ Treasures. The Wilshire Avenue Didgeridoo Store is headed north. Salon Bernardo’s is holding a Grand Opening. City Pointe Apartments are now open. Il Ghiotto is now known as Spadra, it’s official.”

That was 17 years ago, hard to imagine. In that same newsletter was a mention of a Cal State Fullerton project called “Downtown in Transition.” It mentioned that some type of monument was needed on the north side of Downtown. Chris Beard and I had been discussing construction of a small scale replica of the Pacific Electric Railway viaduct in front of Fullerton Photographics, his business on the corner of Harbor and Berkeley.

A call went out – “Funds needed for bridgework,” but I guess everyone thought it was about dentistry so we never found the $$.  Is it too late?  Chris wrote his “The Last Boulevardier” column for The Observer in the 1990s and sadly we lost him at the end of the decade.

Photo Quiz

What is pictured here and where  is it located?

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