Van Nuys--Valley Relics Museum exhibits a half century of San Fernando Valley culture and life-style

.. By Joe Hilbers

The story of how the San Fernando Valley has evolved over a half century is well told at the Valley Relics Museum.

What was once one man's hobby has become a legacy for a large part of Los Angeles.

The man is Tommy Gelinas and the object of his interest preserving an earlier San Fernando Valley. Being a resident of the Valley all his life, Gelinas has been able to watch the vast changes that have taken place in the Valley during the last half century.

So he decided to save some of the things that displayed the Valley in earlier decades. He collected as he could whether restaurant signs, menus, automobiles, and most of all memorabilia of people who played a role in the Valley's continuing development. He looked for buildings, abandoned after enjoying a distinctive Valley role, to salvage what he could whether signs or artifacts.

For over 20 years Tommy Gelinas has been determined to save as much of the memorabilia of these Valley earlier beginnings as possible. His problem became space, storage space for all that he was acquiring.

The answer was Valley Relics Museum. First he acquired a building in the west Valley, divided it into rooms, each with a separate theme, and opened the Museum. The response was immediate. But the success of Valley Relics was such that it soon out grew its west valley location and made the move to its present location in 2018.

Now the museum is located in two hangers adjacent to the Van Nuys airport.

Nudie's was famous, not only in the Valley, but almost world wide for its elaborate lines of western clothing. One exhibit is devoted to some of Nudie's clothing, and photos of almost every western star, all who were customers. There is also a collection of photos of Valley-Hollywood cowboy actors and western musical groups.

For many years I had an office in North Hollywood only about a quarter mile from Nudie's. Mr. Nudie owned two Cadillacs, each prominently decorated with western gear. In front of each car mounted sets of long horns, on the sides mounted Winchester rifles and horseshoes. And he was a familiar figure as he drove through the neighborhood. Both these automobiles are now in the Relics museum.

Exhibits in another room include a collection of match book covers, many from familiar restaurants, again some subjects of reviews written by this Writer for publication. The two halls include signs from well known restaurants and eateries as well as automobiles and artifacts. For us, as longtime Valley residents, the visit was a trip down memory lane.

Valley Relics Museum is located at 7900 Balboa Blvd., Hanger-Charlie 3 & 4, Entrance from Stagg Street, Lake Balboa, Ca. 91406. The Museum is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

There is an admission charge. Telephone 818 616-4083, Web

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Last Update:11/4/19

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