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Life and Arts

Verdugo Views: Five Points intersection holds history and memories

View looking west towards the Five Points building from Burchett Street. (Courtesy of the Glendale
View looking west towards the Five Points building from Burchett Street.
(Courtesy of the Glendale History Room)

These days, traffic is heavy along Pacific Avenue, especially where five roadways meet just north of the 134 Freeway.

From the west, Burchett Street and Hahn Avenue meet to form a ‘V’ and then intersect with Pacific, running north and south.

Add in the portion of Burchett from the east and you have what many residents — back in the days when there were fewer cars on the streets — called Five Points.

A brick building, with a market, pharmacy, barbershop and beauty shop, occupied the narrow space between Burchett and Hahn, with entrances on Burchett.

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According to the Glendale History Room, Five Points Pharmacy first appeared in the 1927 city directory at 469 Burchett. The proprietor was Ole A. Brothen; he and his wife, Miriam, lived on Elm Avenue.

Around 1934, Phillip Mislay leased the building. Born in 1891, he came to the United States in 1906 when he was about 16 years old.

He later said there was confusion about his birthplace, a village near the city of Ljubljana.

According to Wikipedia, the area was under Habsburg rule when he was born; in between World Wars I and II, it was the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; then, after the war, part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

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In 1991, Ljubljana became the capital of the newly formed state of Slovenia.

Mislay enrolled in the University of Wisconsin’s Dairy School to study butchery and later came to Glendale.

After leasing the Five Points building, he took over the market and subleased the other businesses, including the beauty salon, run by a woman named Mary Brandt, born in 1903 in Minnesota.

Mislay and Brandt married in 1936 and moved into a house on Hahn that he had built.

Daughter Judy Mislay Gorham was born in 1937 and her sister, Pat Mislay Deckinga, was born on D-Day in 1944.

In 1945, they moved to a house on Burchett, between the market and Fremont Park.

“We played there and rode our bikes,” Gorham said.

There was a wading pool and also a “big iron cannon. We used to climb up and sit on it,” she added.

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Recently, I met the sisters for coffee on the patio outside the one-time market; now a Starbucks.

Traffic swirled around us, blending in with sounds from the nearby freeway, as the sisters recalled playing in that very same space.

Phillip Mislay, left, stands behind the counter of the market in the Five Points building. (Courtesy
Phillip Mislay, left, stands behind the counter of the market in the Five Points building.
(Courtesy of the Glendale History Room)

The exterior appeared relatively unchanged as we compared it to a photo that Gorham had brought along.

“It was an open front market with solid folding doors to pull across when it was closed,” Gorham said.

The girls walked to school at Columbus Elementary and walked to the park for May Day festivities and for sixth-grade graduation festivities.

They also walked to the Brethren Church farther south on Pacific, where they went to Sunday School and sang in the children’s choir along with their friends Lucile Cayford and Linda Clapp and her sisters, Jackie, Nancy and Mary.

The Mislay sisters recalled the noon whistle at the nearby Glendale Laundry and the wooden noisemakers (ratchets) that alerted residents to an air raid.

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On the day the war ended, everyone was jubilant. Gorham saw the operators at Dales market, directly across the street on Pacific, closing their shutters so they could join the celebration.

The father of one of their friends drove them down Brand so they could see “everyone driving up and down and tooting their horns,” Gorham recalled.

Mislay operated three grocery stores while investing in properties and building a number of houses, including one on Arden in 1958.

Gorham lived there for six years after she married. Deckinga later lived in the same house before moving to Chicago, where she still resides.

Both girls have fond memories of the area.

“Five Points area was a great place to grow up and had the small town feel,’’ Gorham wrote in a follow-up email.

Readers Write

Local John Wayne/Marion Morrison historian, Foster Dennis, emailed that he took ‘Duke’s’ son in law, Academy Award-winning film editor Scott Conrad up to the Special Collections Room (now the Glendale History Room) at the Glendale Central Library last year.

“Scott is producing a documentary on the early years of Duke, and he has been researching various areas intimate to Duke’s early life. Of course, Glendale is high on the list,’’ he wrote.

They were amazed at photos like the Glendale pharmacy and Glendale High in 1925 and various books that pinpoint the places where his father, Clyde Morrison, worked.

“Not many people know that Duke’s father is buried at Forest Lawn Glendale. A true treasure trove of information for a documentary,” Dennis wrote.

Katherine Yamada can be reached at katherineyamada@gmail.com. or by mail at Verdugo Views, c/o Glendale News-Press, 453 S. Spring St., Suite 308, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Please include your name, address and phone number.

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