|Humphrey's on Shelter Island in San Diego. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|An example of authentic Polynesian culture, the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau refuge on the island of Hawaii.|
Photo ©Darren Bradley
|The Tiki Ti has been Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles since 1961. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Interior of Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, CA. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Harris' Imperial House in Pompano Beach, FL (torn down). Photo ©James Forney|
|Tiki-themed tract home in Clairemont Mesa, San Diego, CA. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA by Robert des Lauriers (1968). Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Coffee Dan's Restaurant by William Krisel in Van Nuys, CA (1957), now demolished. |
Photo by Julius Shulman, courtesy of the archives of William Krisel, Getty Research Institute, used with permission.
Today, while there is a strong revival and appreciation for Tiki culture, most people still consider it to be an embarrassing remnant of a time best left forgotten. Even many modernist preservationists tend to ignore or snub Tiki architecture.
This bland, ugly strip mall is what is currently at the corner where that Coffee Dan's restaurant once stood:
|Photo from Google Maps.|
But there are still pockets of Tiki architecture that developers seem to have forgotten about. They have remained preserved like time capsules. San Diego's Shelter Island is one such example, and is probably one of the largest collections of existing Tiki culture still in existence.
|Trader Mort's Liquor Store has been greeting visitors at the entrance to Shelter Island since the early 1960s. |
Photo ©Darren Bradley
|The Half Moon Inn with its dramatic porte-cochere was built in 1960. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
This wonderfully preserved time capsule that is the "Tiki Colony" on San Diego's Shelter Island includes a couple of dozen buildings from the late 1950s and early 1960s.
|A boat rental agency on Shelter Island. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Office building and retail center on Shelter Island by Robert J. Platt. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|A yacht dealership on Shelter Island with a classic A-frame structure. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|The Shelter Island Inn is now a Best Western. It features a recent addition that is, of course, Spanish Colonial in style. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Interior atrium of the Shelter Island Inn. The Tiki statues that once adorned this fountain and pond have been replaced by Balinese sculptures. More "classy", I guess. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
|Newly remodeled Bali Hai Restaurant. The original structure dates to 1955. Photo ©Darren Bradley|
So many of the leaseholders have been informed by the Port District that their buildings are slated for demolition, and have been encouraged not to spend any more money on upkeep. The buildings are falling into disrepair.
Several have already succumbed to the wrecking ball, including the Silver Gate Yacht Club (below), which is being replaced by a two-storey "contemporary" building with lots of stucco (at least it's not Spanish colonial).
|The original Silver Gate Yacht Club, by Robert J. Platt (1962), has now been razed for a much larger building. |
I took this photo peering over the fence, the day before demolition. Photo ©Darren Bradley.
I would also encourage you to check out an article coming out in the upcoming Fall 2013 issue of the Journal of the Society for Commercial Archeology. My good friend Heather David and I collaborated on this piece (and by "collaborated", I mean that I suggested the idea and provided some photos and a tour of the place, and she did all of the actual research, writing, and other hard work). It's a great article and worth a read, so please take a look when it comes out!