Remembering When

by Jerry Person
Huntington Beach City Historian

Dedicated to the people of Huntington Beach and its rich past

The 300 Block of Walnut Avenue


So much of the downtown has changed in just a few generations that people forget what it was like and the people who owned businesses so long ago.

This week lets remember some of those businesses that occupied the 300 block of Walnut and although none of those early buildings remain maybe some of you might remember the businesses that at once had been there when Huntington Beach was a small beach town.

Today there are only a few businesses there, but in the early years of our downtown, it was an active business street. So lets take a walking tour of the 300 block and journey back in time.

Some of you may remember Mona's Surf Camera Mart at 300 Walnut in 1947 owned by Mona Nevins and her husband Merritt. When the Nevins left the building, the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall in 1952 and by 1956 A.E. Huthman ran the H.B. Self-Service Laundry.

Merritt Nevins in 1983


Across the street at 301 the H.B. Assistance League had their thrift shop during the 1950s and 60s and later had their offices there.

In 302 Walnut Miss Estin Burks had her dance studio there in 1933, later in 1941 it became Beach Beauty Shop and throughout the 1950s Dr. H.O. Christ had his chiropractic office.

At 303 Walnut of 1924 you could have gotten your clothes cleaned at the DeLuxe Cleaners and Dyers.

In 1922 Huntington Beach Electric with W.E. Nettz along with public auditor A.M. Huston was at 304 Walnut. Beach Beauty with Faye Snyder moved and is now at this location in 1943. Inside Beach Beauty in 1947, Marie Mathewson ran Marie's Candy Shop. In the late 1950s, W.E. Brown operated Brown Feed and Pet Store.

Attorney James Hensen occupied 305 Walnut in 1924 and Alhus and Rosetta Comton's H.B. Bible Store (1950) was at 306 Walnut.

Crown Cleaners occupied 308 Walnut in 1922 with William Shea and George Hatton. Later Stanley Tamulinas has a barber shop there in 1947 and so did Bob Bryant in 1951 who called his Bob's Barber Shop.

Walking across the street we find at 309 Jacob Reed's Second-Hand furniture store was there way back in 1912. In 1922 E.C. Adams had also a furniture store there and by 1927 B.Markham had a dry goods store before Parker Furniture used it in 1934.

At 310 Walnut Josephine Jenkins opened her Walnut Avenue Cafeteria on January 14, 1922. Ben's Cafe came along by 1927, Harold's Radio Repair occupied the site in 1943 and in the late 1940s it became the Coffee Club. Dickie's Grill with Dickie Johnson came in 1951. Fluid Packed Pump Co. (oil pumps) in 1956 and R.C. Pierce's TV in 1959 round out the 1950s.

311 Walnut in 1983

The brick building at 311 was the main office for Roy Bryant Dodge (1948) before he moved to 401 Main Street. F.E. Ingram had the H.B. Ambulance Service (1958). H.B. Electrical and Earl's Automotive shared the location in 1965. Steve Davis built race cars in there in the late 1970s and early eighties. The last tenants to occupy the building was Ruse Coral and Sea Shell Imports from 1985 until he closed in May 1988 for demo.         

Pashley Chevrolet Motor Co was at 312 Walnut in early 1924, but by late 1924 Omar's Studebaker Service was now at this address. by 1933-34 Putnam's Auto Top Shop. In January 1941 Dr. E. Liewellyn Hogan DDS was there for only 2 months before moving to222 Main Street in March 1941,

In 1947 Lee Mongeon opened his Mongeon Electric in 312 Walnut. In the 1950s saw AAA Television Center and also at the same time Coastal Supply Co in 1950. By 1951 Grants Surplus Store run by Sam Hill and also that year saw Clara Smith's Clara's Sewing Crafts together with Grants. Finally in 1951-52 Haldan Television Service and Dan's Television Service.

In 314 Walnut, this one and 316 Walnut were connected on the side of the old First National bank building The U.S. Post Office in 1924 and Palermo School of Dance of Charlene Stewart in 1958.

At 316 Walnut the earliest I 've seen was 1924 as barber shops took over starting with C.A. Harron's National Barber Shop and Beauty Parlor. By 1939 Brenner Furniture then in 1947 Buss Radio and Appliance followed by Harron's Barber Shop and Paramount Barber Shop and finally in 1950 Alice Mae Shop selling Children's clothing.

These are just some of the businesses that occupied the 300 block of Walnut Avenue. There are many more businesses to be discovered to round out this list.

I hope some of you will have a fond remembrance of these past businesses and those business owners and employees who spent their lives and fortunes making Huntington Beach a better town, thank you and you are not forgotten. Photos:HB Historian Jerry Person