My intention was to go to the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles because it has a lot of neon, but before we got there i noticed an old building that had neon also on Broadway st. it said Clifton Cafeteria so i told my wife lets go check out that cafeteria it looks interesting, wow was it interesting, it was a beautiful restoration of the original 1930s Clifton’s Cafeteria, it had a very unique design.
We were admiring the interior when nature came calling and had to look for the mens room, which was down some stairs, and outside the restrooms I found the surprise, it was a neon that had been lit for 80 years, they kept it and it was still lit and under the neon they had a small frame with the story of how they found the neon. Here is a transcript of what the story says.
” Clifton’s Historic Neon”
This neon is the oldest active neon in the world.
It was installed in the mid 1930s by Clifford Clinton when he created Clifton’s Brookdale and was discovered hidden in the wall in 1012 still lit after having been covered by plywood and plaster when the building was remodeled in 1949.
The neon wired directly to the main electrical panel remained glowing uninterrupted for nearly 80 years.
It appears to have been turned off only when power was cut for blackout drills during WW2 and when the city electrical grid failed.
Clifford Clinton chose to innovate whenever possible and had become intrigued by neon after seeing the first example in America at the Packard Dealership only several blocks from Clintons.
He used neon exclusively in both The Brooksdale and his other Polynesian them cafeteria “The Pacific Seas”
This neon was used to backlight a transparency of a forest scene.
The tube was painted in order to reflect light back against the wall instead of directly thru the image.
This neon demonstrates that the light never fully went out on LAs historic Broadway and has come to symbolize the renaissance of the legendary district.”
You can find the Cafeteria on 648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014