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Cultural Commission Ponders Historical Significance Of Carwash

June 8, 1989

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission usually considers preservation of such historical edifices as Victorian mansions, but now it’s studying a monument to another aspect of Southern California culture.

A combination carwash and gas station.

″The car has been a great part of our culture in the valley,″ said preservation campaign organizer Jack McGrath. ″A gas station and carwash is an integral part of the development of Southern California as the freeway system.″

Homeowners have urged the commission to grant the carwash monument status to keep a developer from tearing down the building and putting up a mini-mall.

Commission members went out Wednesday to ponder the significance of the Studio City structure that residents call the unofficial gateway to the San Fernando Valley.

The building, dominated by three towering boomerang-shaped beams and a sign on the marquee that says only ″Carwash,″ represents - depending on one’s tastes - either the best or the worst of 1950s carwash architecture.

″As an architectural monument, I’m not that favorably impressed,″ said Takashi Shida, commission vice president. ″A cultural monument? The fact it’s one of the earliest carwashes in the community is something, but I don’t want to prejudge.″

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