Studio City gay bar Oil Can Harry’s gets historic designation


A man walks past the former Oil Can Harry’s in Studio City, which closed down during the coronavirus pandemic, on Oct. 8, 2021. The Los Angeles City Council voted April 13, 2022, to declare it a Historic-Cultural Monument for being one of the oldest gay bars in the San Fernando Valley. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

From the Los Angeles Daily News: LOS ANGELES — Oil Can Harry’s, which closed last year, was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument by the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday for being one of the oldest gay bars in the San Fernando Valley.

The council approved the designation 14-0, with Councilman Joe Buscaino absent.

Oil Can Harry’s was opened in Studio City in 1968 by Bert Charot. It closed in January 2021 after the property’s owner sold it to a buyer planning to turn it into a jazz venue, according to

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1930s-era Santa Fe gas station to become Los Poblanos retail store, gin tasting room


Downtown pedestrians pass the former 1930s gas station structure at Washington Avenue and Marcy Street downtown Saturday. Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Albuquerque is planning to open a gin tasting room and retail shop on the property. Jim Weber/The New Mexican

From the Santa Fe New Mexican: It’s the 1930s gas station building that could and still can.

The longtime Gulf station at Washington Avenue and Marcy Street pumped its last gasoline in 1994 as an Exxon station, then continued as a bank branch until U.S. Bank closed in January 2021.

Now the revered Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque will restore the historic Sinclair Oil look from the 1930s at the station as it plans to open a retail store for its branded spa products and gin, as well as have a gin tasting room.

“That building has a beautiful outdoor space,” said Matthew Rembe, executive director of Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, which his family acquired in 1976. “We feel we can energize that corner [Marcy and Washington] with people outside.”

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‘It’s a great American story’: Bay Area’s Caspers Hot Dogs is a bite of old-school nostalgia


The exterior of Caspers Hot Dogs on C Street in Hayward, Calif., on Apr. 7, 2022. Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

From SFGate: Robert Ontiveros could hardly contain his excitement when he glanced up at the sparkling blue and white neon sign that hovered over the restaurant. It was 1949 and the bright-eyed 7-year-old kid found himself standing in front of Caspers Hot Dogs on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, alongside relatives who were entering the shop. Ontiveros had never been to Caspers before then, but he beamed as a series of hot frankfurters in pillowy, steamed buns made their way to each family member. When he was finally handed a hot dog, Ontiveros keenly took his first bite.

“I thought, ‘Wow, they’re big,’ because they’re long and as a kid you love that,” Ontiveros, now 80 years old, recalls. “I became addicted. I’ve been to all [the locations] I think,” he shared with a boisterous chuckle.

Since his first bite 73 years ago, Ontiveros became a loyal customer of this Bay Area institution. In a recent conversation, he shared that little has changed at Caspers, which is what has kept him returning years later.

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Greenfield’s Sears building honored by historic preservation nonprofit

Greenfield Center for Wellness on Main Street in Greenfield.

The former Sears building on Main Street, currently home to the Greenfield Center for Wellness, was recently recognized by Preservation Massachusetts, a statewide historic preservation nonprofit. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

From the Greenfield Recorder: GREENFIELD — The former Sears building on Main Street, currently home to the Greenfield Center for Wellness, was one of nine buildings recently recognized by Preservation Massachusetts.

The Paul & Niki Tsongas Award is touted as “Preservation Massachusetts’ highest honor,” according to the nonprofit’s website. The award recognizes people and projects that have displayed significant commitment to historic preservation. A celebration honoring the recipients will be held May 11 at Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.

“To have an outside agency recognize something that’s been done in town is very encouraging,” said Historical Commission Chair John Passiglia. “It justifies that we’re working toward a good thing. To get that support is nice.”

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The Right Chemistry: A journey through the history of neon


The Five Roses sign is a Montreal landmark. PHOTO BY JOHN MAHONEY /Montreal Gazette

From the Montreal Gazette: Ask a Montrealer to name the city’s iconic landmarks and you will likely hear about St. Joseph’s Oratory, Schwartz’s deli, Olympic Stadium and the Five Roses neon sign. That sign has been part of the city’s skyline for about 70 years and actually used to read “Farine Five Roses Flour” until 1977, when the word “flour” was removed, believe it or not, because it was English. But that sign, with its 15-foot-high letters, still glows bright red every night and prompts a journey through the history of neon.

That journey begins in 1785 with “natural philosopher” Henry Cavendish, as scientists were called at the time, discovering that a tiny amount of gas remained when “phlogisticated air” (nitrogen) and “dephlogisticated air” (oxygen) were removed from a sample of atmospheric air. Cavendish was unable to identify the gas and it remained a mystery for another 100 years until William Ramsey and Lord Rayleigh became interested in the problem. They passed air over red-hot copper to remove oxygen as copper oxide, and then over hot magnesium to remove nitrogen as magnesium nitride. A tiny amount of gas, roughly one per cent of the original, still remained and it had a curious property. It would not engage in any chemical reactions! They named this residue “argon” from the Greek for “inactive” or “lazy.”

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