Letter: Coast Liquor History


I am the granddaughter to the original builder/owner/operator and was 12 years old watching the cement being poured to build on my grandfather’s empty lot across from his hotel in 1956.

A post card is the best colored photo of the liquor store I have. I loved the wood. As post cards tend to do, this displays the wood as painted red. Well, it was built with redwood but stained to show off the texture of the wood. Chris Abel was grandpa’s architect who loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. So wood was most popular back then and framed well the slanted front windows. This store was popular for miles around and my dad worked there until 2 a.m. for years.

This extra history is fun to note I think. My grandparents raised their five kids upstairs at their hotel looking on to PCH.  Back then the paved road ended at Mountain. So a couple blocks south, a new family moved in six years after the Smiths moved in. Pop Abel—famous woodcarver and his five kids. Two of his kids were Chris Abel—famous architect and Mogens Abel—famous woodcarver. Mogens was like a second dad to me and now Chris’s son, Gregg Abel, is like my brother.

The Olympic Cottage used for the first Olympic games back in 1932 has a history of its own as well. Both Pop and Pappy bought a few. The one Olympic Cottage use to sit just north on what is now PCH. It was moved to where it sits now on Mountain Rd so the liquor store could be built. It used to have different businesses, my favorite was when movie star Candace Bergen opened a Hawaiian store.

I offer my website, CoastInnHistory.com. You can use it for reference as you want and contact me for any questions you may have. As you can tell, I am proud of my history, my family and my life in Laguna Beach. The website’s construction is still in progress as I want to add more interesting history. So enjoy.

Carolyn Smith Burris, Laguna Beach

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