Looking Back

Young Chang

In the '50s and '60s, your favorite restaurant, hardware store, drug

store, nursery and other oft-frequented venues were owned by people whose

names you knew.

"In those days we had more family-owned businesses," said Mary Ellen

Goddard, historian at the Costa Mesa Historical Society. "There weren't

Del Tacos."

One such personal stop was Hollister's Nursery and Florists on Harbor

Boulevard in Costa Mesa. It was owned by Albert Hollister, a local who

everyone in town seemed to know. The store went out of business about 15

years ago.

A car dealership is in its place today at the intersection of Peterson

Place and Harbor Boulevard.

"They were sort of the only thing up there," Goddard said. "I went

there to buy plants and gardening supplies."

In 1979, Goddard interviewed Hollister for an oral history. She

thought he and his business fit nicely with her other local sources to

offer an accurate cross-section of the city.

According to the history, Hollister's started as a feed store

initially owned by someone else near the intersection of Harbor and

Newport boulevards where Triangle Square currently stands. Hollister set

up his nursery there, and eventually his portion of the business moved to

the 1900 block of Harbor Boulevard.

In 1965, Hollister moved again, this time to the intersection of

Peterson and Harbor.

Products sold at the nursery included vegetable plants like tomatoes

(the city was more rural than it is now) and plants that grew fruits like

citrus and avocados. Flowers included fuchsias and camillias and

Goddard's oral history also documents that indoor plants sold well.

Hollister was recorded saying that in 1979, a large change in the

nursery business was an increase in sales of interior plants because more

people were moving their gardening inside.

This led Hollister to also sell items like planters and other tools

required for container gardening and the skill of growing plants in water

without soil. Hollister provided for his patrons as the trends in

gardening and planting changed with time.

"It was a longtime business here in Costa Mesa," Goddard said.

* Have you, or someone you know, gone on an interesting vacation

recently? Tell us your adventures. Drop us a line to Travel Tales, 330 W.

Bay St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627; e-mail young.chang@latimes.com; or fax to

(949) 646-4170.

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