The DOWNTOWN Report: Mid-May 2023

Sadness In Town

Tommy Thompson, long-time neighbor and friend, well known to many in Fullerton, passed away on Friday, May 5. Tommy lived in the same 1930 vintage home for 83 years and served our City as Fire Department Inspector/Investigator for decades. He held retirement parties at his home every year for fire personnel. Here is a group photo from 2021. Tommy is on the bottom row, center, in a blue shirt. A solemn procession took place Monday, May 8, as he was taken from St. Jude to McAulay & Wallace Mortuary just up the street. There will be more on this wonderful man in our next issue.

Rest in peace Tommy.

See more on page 15 of the current edition



Oh no, a unique and fine restaurant is leaving our downtown. D’Vine Mediterranean closed its doors on April 23. If you never had the pleasure of dining there, you missed out. Early on, they had a room on the south end where we had Manhattans (some of the best ever) and cigars, with excellent service. There was a surprise on our first night in the main dining room, as belly dancers entertained us while we sampled many new dishes. Many are disappointed, and it’s sad to see them go. We will watch out to see who moves in—Bon Voyage to Walid and the entire staff.

Gone, All Gone

First up, downtown Anaheim, which in all honesty, had become something of a ghost town. The proliferation and growing popularity of huge shopping malls was a death knell for many historic downtowns.

In came the wrecking balls, and block after block tumbled, even the venerable 20’s era Pickwick Hotel, which was said to be one building that would be saved but was demolished in 1988.

Next, downtown Good ol’ Brea, brick buildings, and all others were leveled, even a church that was to be saved. The steeple sat in a vacant lot for years. Where did it go?

Yes, even Sam’s had to hit the road, or maybe we should say hit the ground. Downtown business owners had a different idea, and we came up with a mantra, which was “Wrecking balls are not allowed in Downtown Fullerton,” indeed, no buildings were leveled, even though some were very close to being red-tagged.

Lately, there has been some demolition in other areas of town. As you may have seen by now, the long row of two-story office buildings at Chapman and the 57 is a distant memory, and ‘The Hub”, a 6-story, 420-unit student housing project, is being developed.

Being razed right now is Hotel Fullerton, a surprise since they poured a ton of money into a remodel not too many years ago, but it had been abandoned recently. The 7-acre property will be developed into an industrial building. There she goes. Another one bites the dust and becomes dust.

Let’s Hope some good jobs are on the way.

Anniversaries and Live Music Springs to Life

Bootleggers Brewery celebrated its 15th Anniversary on April 29, at its downtown SoCo tasting room with new product releases, great food, and live music. Aaron and Patricia started in a small, nondescript industrial building a few blocks from where the tasting room is now.

It was, as always, with a start-up, a labor of love, long hours, uncertainty, hard work, and support from family and friends. New friends soon arrived as word spread to taste the local beer and grab a ‘growler’ to go. It would be a while before bottles, then cans were available, and the so-called tasting room was wherever one could find a place to stand among the brewing supplies and pre-owned fermentation tanks.

At the anniversary celebration, a long line of musicians took turns regaling the celebrators with various musical styles, one even tackling “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” Wow, for all these years, Aaron and Patricia have been there, serving the public and serving their unique local craft beer, providing a great place for locals to meet, and providing jobs for many long-time employees, some seen in the photo above.

Cheers to you both and the entire crew. Also shown here is an example of how they give back to the community. It’s the label for the Day of Music beer they brewed, and they are donating beer this year to help raise money to help stage the event and help fund the Fullerton Museum Center.

A short cruise up Harbor Blvd to the Olde Ship on the same day, after recently hoisting their commemorative 30th Anniversary awning, the shipmates also were in celebration mode, with a different musician performing live every hour. Back to SoCo later in the evening, Roscoes had the Soul Tones from 9 to Midnight, and it was, as were the other live music presentations, FREE.

Of course, once again, we all love FREE, don’t we? It was a full day downtown for many – We Love Fullerton.

1 reply »

  1. Smudge Pot, burn diesel fuel in them to keep orange groves from freezing when there’s a cold snap.
    Bill McAulay