The hue of her coiffed hair matches her purple outfit. Her rouged cheeks set off a pair of lively blue eyes. In its heyday, downtown was the main shopping district for small farming communities that dotted southeastern Los Angeles County.
Bellflower Boulevard glittered with the flashing neon s of furniture shops, restaurants, markets, department stores and movie theaters. But when the Artesia Freeway was built in the mids, it cut downtown in half.
Over the next two decades, as neighboring communities brought in big-box retailers and strip malls, Bellflower Boulevard stubbornly refused to do so and was drained of its vitality. What started as a Spanish land grant in the s became a thriving agricultural and livestock ranch in the 19th century, populated by Dutch and Portuguese dairy farmers who produced milk with the highest fat content in the region. The city was founded by F. Woodruff inand quickly attracted residents from the Los Angeles area, which was flooded when the San Gabriel burst its banks.
The pioneer years were hard ones, with jackrabbits and roaming cattle eating crops until residents fenced off the land. By the time MacGregor arrived inBellflower had grown to 50, residents.
During the rise of regional shopping centers in the post-World War II boom, Bellflower clung to an active downtown while many neighboring Main Streets died from the inside out. But by the s, competition from area malls was taking its toll.
Downtown businesses were largely abandoned, replaced in some cases by street crime and prostitution. An effort to redevelop downtown was proposed, but voted down by residents.
Bellflower, prostitution sting on clark ave., no diversion
Last year, with the help of federal grants, Bellflower launched a redevelopment plan that is renovating storefronts and building five public plazas downtown. Now restored, it is home to Hosanna Chapel.
Just off Bellflower Boulevard, the s tract homes have been gussied up and still carry proud names such as the Vogue and Belle Isle. With the old have come some new additions: Japanese, Caribbean, Chinese, Ethiopian, Thai, Korean, Filipino and Mexican restaurants downtown reflect one of the more diverse area codes in the nation.
The goal is to bring life back to the boulevard and create a feeling of Main Street USA amid a sea of suburban sprawl.
Holiday meals from bellflower
In June, the antique car show brought back the days of teenage cruising and drew about 5, visitors. Still more people are drawn downtown by the new summer film series that shows free outdoor movies every Tuesday and Friday night. Local real estate agents say they are renting empty storefronts at a brisk bellflower street bellflower prostitutes, and the Chamber of Commerce says its membership has jumped over the last year, with 25 new members in June alone. Figueroa and his brother opened a discount store in an abandoned storefront in June, and sell wrenches and rubber bands, batteries and birdseed, crackers, creamers and curling irons.
MacGregor, who has watched the changes with glee, says soon Bellflower will be restored to the glory she found when she arrived in All Sections. About Us. B2B Publishing. Business Visionaries.
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