A couple of Ralphs stores from the beginning and the end of the 1950’s, a decade that saw the chain greatly expand its reach within greater Los Angeles. Architecturally, these aren’t as easy to categorize as the Streamline Moderne stores that preceded them or the Modernist stores that followed, but they were nonetheless certainly pleasing enough.
The first store was located in the Westdale section of Los Angeles, at the intersection of National and Sepulveda Boulevards, and opened in November 1949. The photo, taken approximately eight years later, shows off the store’s unique “checkerboard” pylon. The L.A. Times article announcing the store stressed its self-service philosophy, as expressed by the new store’s perceptive manager – “Modern women like to pick their own food without the aid of a sales middleman”.
The second store opened in Gardena in April 1958. This is one of those stores where a basic design was transformed into something special, in this case via the addition of a very impressive “sweeping curved facade”, as the Times described it. Similar design principles were often adapted for much larger, more "significant” buildings such as airport terminals or downtown civic centers in that era.
To my knowledge, neither of these stores still stands.
Well, my knowledge has just been expanded. Jeff, who has brought us up to date on the fate of many L.A. area stores, informs us that the Westdale store still exists as a Ross Dress for Less store!