Wednesday, August 4, 2010

City of Commerce

The land in the City of Commerce was originally a portion of Antonio Maria Lugo's Rancho San Antonio, a Spanish land grant.  Parts of the Rancho were sold in the late 1850s, primarily to Abel Stearns, an early pioneer of Los Angeles who amassed vast land holdings.  The properties Stearns acquired in the Commerce area were named Rancho Laguna.  While the city was incorporated on January 12, 1960, it was back in the 1920s that the area became known for manufacturing as a result of the establishment of a Central Manufacturing District.

In the last decade of the 20th century, heavy manufacturing disappeared, replaced by light manufacturing and warehousing.  Plans for city redevelopment included revamping the corridor along Telegraph Road, along the Santa Ana Freeway, with the landmark Citadel shopping center (former Samson Tire and Rubber Plant).  Envisioned were big box stores (Costco), auto dealerships, and an entertainment complex.  Today, Costco sits on the corner of Telegraph and Washington.

City redevelopment administrators saw the Commerce Hotel, pictured here in 2006, as a detractor, as it blocked view of the envisioned shopping and entertainment corridor at Telegraph Road.  (Click on images to zoom in)

In 2010, the Commerce Hotel has been razed, without impediment for drivers to clearly see the new Costco followed by the Commerce Casino as they speed along the drive north on the freeway.
City planners gave thought to creating an Old Town through this stretch of Atlantic Boulevard between the mix-master and Washington Boulevard.
Along the Atlantic Boulevard stretch, a couple of motels still operate.  The motels' business dynamics have changed since the East L.A. train station halted operation in the 70's.

Another neighboring motel on Atlantic Boulevard.

Past the mix-master on Atlantic Boulevard is a set of apartment rentals, converted from earlier days as the Tick Tock Motel, the closest accomodations to the train station.

A familiar factory (Pillsbury Co.) looms behind the old motel.

The motel is described on the postcard:  9 minutes to Civic Center by Speedway.
(Click on image to zoom in)


  1. Elisabeth, I am amazed by the detail and knowledge you have on the City of Commerce (and Los Angeles). I happen to fall onto your blog and it has been a pleasant surprise. I lived in the City of Commerce (Bandini area) during the 70’s and used to run/jog the streets in my youth. Specifically, my route was Atlantic to Telegraph to Washington back to Atlantic (sometimes I would reverse it). Seeing those pictures you posted brought me back. Perhaps one day you can write a short blurb on the Great Western Exhibit Center.

  2. Thank you Alberto. I worked in Commerce from 1997 to 2006.