Friday, July 06, 2007

Knott's Miniature Doll Museum and a Santa Ana Grocery Store

Caydea, an OCThen reader, submitted a couple of questions for other readers. One involved the name of the grocery store located on 17th Street, just past Santa Clara St.

The other question was concerns the Miniature Doll Museum at Knott's Berry Farm. There was a wooden chain hanging from the ceiling made from a single piece of wood. She wanted to know what happened to that chain.

You can read her full post for the details...

I lived from 1953 to 1969 in Santa Ana. Graduated from Santa Ann High School in 1969. I went to Willard Junior High and Hoover Elementary School. Growing up I lived in three houses in Santa Ana. Two on Avalon St. off Santiago and then my folks third and last house was on Poinsettia about 4 blocks away, off Edgewood. From 1969-1974 I lived all over OC. Until I took off for good. In the mid 90's I had my folks join me where I landed, Charlotte NC. My last trip 2 years ago was to the other California to visit my step-son, he lives in SF. I have remained in Charlotte with my husband and our daughter and my Mother. We love Charlotte but Orange County holds such a warm place in my heart. We will be coming back that way next Spring. Does any one remember the Orange County Academic Decathlon?

I discovered this blog while trying to find the name of a grocery store in Santa Ana. My brother was no help! He didn't even seem interested. Since my Father's death my Mom and I spend many hours reminiscing. Our favorite ethnic restaurants Koo's Chinese Food on Main, La Fonda Mexican on Main too? Kono Hawaii the first time I was introduce to Yam noodles and Tofu in Sukiyaki. Back to my reason -the grocery store was on 17th Street on the right side of the street. It was just past Santa Clara Street. Many of the High School fellows worked at the grocery store when I was growing up. I think it might have closed in 70's and then it became a Discount Toy store. I remember my Mom had an account and she was billed for her groceries. You just went in and signed your name. Well if you can remember that would be great!

Reading the blog I have a question for those Knott's folks. In the 80's I brought my husband to see Knott's Berry Farm. We had Chicken, rhubarb, bread and butter pickles, and the best boysenberry jam, pie and syrup. My Dad loved that restaurant. Did I mention Biscuit oh my! While we are talkin food my first and last waitress job was Marie Calendars on Tustin 1969-1971. Back to my question there was an exhibit in the Miniature Doll Museum (that was amazing) from the ceiling they had strung chain links all carved from one piece of wood. We did have a picture and I will look it up. It was something to see and my husband does some amazing things in wood and he was very impressed. I wonder what happened to the chain.

I will prompt my Mom and see if she can add to any of the memories. They were well connected in OC. My Father was Principle of two schools, in Santa Ana Lincoln and Logan at the same time! That was back in the 50's.


  1. Mott's Miniatures is long gone. They tried a couple locations outside KBF before closing their doors and eventually auctioning off much of the collection. I have no idea what happened to the wood chain, although I have seen others similar to it.

    OCAD is still going strong, as far as I know. I last heard something about it a year or two ago. (I was "art director" for our team in high school, long ago.)

    Sadly, the Kono Hawaii closed long ago, and was bulldozed a few years ago to make way for a Vietnamese church. I had hoped to talk the owners into letting me "uninstall" the tikis inside, but the wrecking ball beat me to it.

    BTW, the aforementioned Marie Calendars Restaurant on Tustin Ave was the first in the chain.


  2. I actually have two questions regarding restaurants. My family used to go to a Mexican restaurant that was just east of Main but I can't remember if it was on 1st, 4th or 17th. It was run by a family. The father usually sat at the register and would give us lollipops when we left. They had the best food. I remember this meatball soup. In fact I have only had a similar soup one other time and that was at a small Mexican restaurant in Venice. Anyway I would love to know the name of the restaurant. Also there was a smorsgabord and (i think) miniture golf restaurant near/across from Hart Park. Anyone know what I am talking about?

  3. Santa Clara and 17th Streets run the same direction....was there another cross street?

  4. First off, it is NOT Knott's Miniatures, it is Mott's Miniatures.

    After a change in management (ownership?) at Knott's following the death of Walter Knott, Knott's started changing from a family oriented theme park to something else I won't go in to here.

    Knott's started buying up all the privately owned shops and attractions and forcing out those who would not sell out. When they came to our door we said NO and apparently President Yoshikawa had never heard NO before and did't take kindly to it. We rejected their repeated offers as well as their "other" efforts we won't go in to here.

    After a few tries to re-open the museum (people came to see it but expected it to be free), we finally closed it for the last time and sold the collection at auction in Beverly Hills in 1992.

    However, our Miniature and Doll House store is still open...
    2471 E. Orangethorpe Avenue
    Fullerton, CA 92831

    Our web site also has images of our museum collection and we sell a book with pictures and a history.

  5. I found you because I was searching for a website for Kono Hawaii Restaurant. My mom worked there for 21 years, and I worked there for 5 years from 1973 to 1978. I still keep in contact with many ex workers but I'm trying to find more. I have many memories, glad you liked the sukiyaki because I used to have to "prep" it in the kitchen and I still make it to this day. Linda Brokaw

    1. Kono Hawaii has a Facebook page at

    2. Kono Hawaii has a Facebook page at

    3. Kono Hawaii has a Facebook page at

  6. The grocery store might have been
    Hill View Market!!! I used to shop there once and a while very cute store.. I hope this helps! I was wondering about the miniatures too
    thanks for asking now we both know.

  7. The market had to have been Michael's Market. It was on the corner of 17th and Lincoln near the railroad tracks. It became a toy store and is now a Home Town Buffet.It was my favorite market, tho small it had everything we needed.

  8. I went to Hoover and Willard too, lived on Valencia, I probably went to school with you. It was Michael's Market, 17th and Lincoln, then a Toys R Us, now Home Town Buffet. The two boys next door to me were "box boys" there. Ann

  9. About six years ago I went to Koos Chinese Restaurant. Obviously it's closed, but all the kitchen stuff was still in there though kinda rusty and worn out. I guess they use it as a meeting place or something.

  10. Mott's is long gone.. last I heard they had moved location, But its under "new" ownership so to speak.And recently I heard they were looking to or had already sold it. After my grandmother Passed, My uncle Chris took over and hadn't found a market for it. Link here

    Now That MAY have been him who posted their link there. And Maybe things turned around. I don't know tho as I haven't seen, or spoken to anyone from that side of the family in some years.What little i know now is based off that link and the occasional communication my mother receives and relays to me from them amongst other things I have read or seen.But I do know for sure it is no longer at Knott's Berry Farm, which is under new Ownership as the family Sold out after the death of Walter.

  11. Hi there. I think the market you're referring to was Walker's Market. It was near Pipe Organ Pizza. My mom also worked at Kono Hawaii and it was my home away from home. I knew every single part of that sprawling restaurant. It was a huge place with a teppanyaki room, tea house with sushi bar, cocktail lounge, and of course the gigantic Polynesian show room where I learned to hula dance. Luckily I've got a whole bunch of memorabilia from Kono's that I've kept all these years. I cried when it was torn down. It was a truly unusual place and there is nothing like it now at all. The Mexican restaurant you mentioned was called Casa Palma I believe. Our family used to eat there all the time. Does anyone remember Angelo's Delicatessen on 17th Street close to the 5 freeway? If anyone has any Skate Ranch footage or photos we'd love to see them! All great memories of growing up in the OC.

  12. Pretty sure the restaurant you are asking about was Walkers. It was on Tustin Ave between 17th and Santa Clara. .. My mom used to sign for her groceries too ..

  13. I spent many hours at Knott's as a girl with my Grandma and cousins - mainly because there wasn't yet an admission charge. And a lot of the time at Knott's was spent with my cousin thoroughly examining all the wonders in the Mott's miniature museum. We would daydream for hours later about what was there. While working in my garage, I found a booklet about the miniatures that I bought there a long time ago. However, the carved wooden chains weren't in with the miniatures. They were in a separate museum that was attached to a large barn-like building. It had wonderful things in it. There was a button collection and pioneer relics and models built from matchsticks. I loved it, and I have also wondered what happened to all that great stuff.

  14. Hi caydea,
    my name is kathy and I also went to willard and santa ana high, my mom and dad still live off flower street and memory lane. I think the market you are talking about is Carl's market, it was off of Ross and 17th. walking to and from school that was the place to get are daily candy supply "they had the best." my mom also had account their.
    Hey just wanted to know if you remember the river bed ,jack fisher park and the skate ranch. we would walk the river bed from jack fisher park to main street to get to the skate ranch. we would also take the riverbed to get to sandigo park,"by your house" or to hart park to the "plunge" into the swimming pool there. I have great memories of growing up in Santa Ana and was glad to read that some one else does too. I could go on and on but I won't, bye for now, kathy

  15. I think you have a really good blog, You should network with the moms in the bizymoms santa-ana community.

  16. Yes, the market at 17th and Ross was Carl's Market. It was owned and operated by Stan Hardin and Charlie Meyer, who bought the store in 1946. I worked there from 1966 to about 1973 through my high school and college years. There was a pad at the first checkstand for credit, where the regulars would just sign for groceries, and then be billed monthly. There was also a red Dodge van parked on Ross St. which was used for deliveries twice a day. 25 cents for local and 75 cents if we had to drive all the way to Tustin! When 17th Street was widened to 4 lanes, the new curb took off about 10 feet of the store front. I believe this was in the mid to late 70's and that was the end of Carl's.


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