Thursday, November 4, 2010

Henries Toys, 1328 North Lake Avenue, Lake Washington Village, 1947 to ?

Here is what appears to be Henries Toys in circa 1978, what is now the Billard Parlor. The added on arches are not attractive. Were these false facades added due to earthquake damage from the Sylmar quake of 1971? No wonder I overlooked this dreary looking place back in the late 1970's, as the wonderful Cornet 5 & 10 was directly across the street and inviting!
Here the March 1st, 1967 Pasadena Star News page showing the Lake Washington Village Dollar Days advertising with Henries Toys having a big sale. Looks inviting!

Here a list of Marklin train dealers from about 1967. Marklin of Germany is the oldest toy company still in business in the world, since 1859, and has always been a high quality maker of high end expensive toy and model trains. Suprising to find Henries as an outlet....

Here the section showing Henries as an outlet for Marklin trains, but a discrepancy with the address. This will require more research. Even Model Grocery on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena was a dealer of Marklin trains, and it appears that Model Grocery was a purveyor of fine things besides high quality groceries.

Here a Marklin catalog from the mid 1960's
We've discussed Henries Toys on North Lake in the Lake Washington Village previously, but I thought I would provide what I believe to be a photo of the last iteration of Henries as a discount toy outlet. Not a pretty picture.
We know Henries Toys survived more than 20 years, as they were celebrating their 20th anniversary in 1967 according to their advertisements in the local papers of the day. Does anyone have any memory of buying cherished childhood toys and hobbies at Henries? I'm a vintage toy and train collector and had many Shuco wind up toys in the 1950's, later Marklin trains, really nice quality toys from old Germany. Don't remember buying any at Henries though.
Please let me know what you remember about Henries Toys. We are trying to get the "Original Whistle Stop" train shop and their wonderful animated projecting neon sign to relocate to Lake Washington Village, so please keep your fingers crossed! What kind of shops would you like see return or locate to the Lake Washington Village?


  1. The Whistle Stop would be great. And I'd love a comfy coffee shop with wifi.

  2. Wow, I'd entirely forgotten about Henry's. I remember it now as a kid, going in there and pouring over the kids' books and creepy-crawlers and was heaven. Conservative, not flashy the way most toy stores are today.

  3. Does the Whistle Stop need to move? I remember when the were on Colorado out east of Rosemead before moving to their current location. My sister and I each had one Schuco race car back in the 60s. For some reason I left mine in my desk at my parents' house, thinking it would always be there. One time it disappeared. I think my mom gave it to a playmate of my nephew, not realizing its value. I replaced it on ebay, then proceeded to buy 10 more! Mine are all in the 1040 to 1043 series, mostly 1040s, which are my favorites!

  4. Petrea, hopefully the Buickians' Coffee House a few doors south of Claremont on the eastside of North Lake, just south of the big grey bunker building they have their software business in, will finally open and be up to our expectations.
    Dirk, would love to hear more about your experiences at Henries and what you bought and what your childhood impressions were of the area.
    Mister Earl, the Whistle Stop would move if we could get them a good deal in rent. I wish the Billiard Parlor would switch places with them, as I think the Billiard Parlor is in Henries Toys old space and the Billiard Parlor is a little bit creepy for my tastes.
    Glad to hear you enjoy those Schuco Microracers as much as I do. They were advertised on the local KTTV Channel 11 Sheriff John Show by Sheriff John personally back around 1955 when I got my first one, probably at the toy store on Brand Blvd. in Glendale across from the Alex Theatre, which was my favorite toy store and my favorite neon at the time.

  5. Petrea, the coffee house being opended in the bungalow at 1274 N. Lake, about 4 lots down from Claremont on the east side of Lake, is supposed to open at the end of January, 2011. Hopefully, it will be a place we can patronize.

  6. I lived on Topeka near Hill... Went to Longfellow (so did my Grandfather who grew up on Lexington, a block away... Dad grew up closer to Allen...)

    Henries was a short bike ride away. They had lots of trains... plus slot cars, plastic solders (both domestic and English) plastic models, and chemistry sets...

    A train switch was $2.50, I got .50 allowance a week, so every 5 weeks or so I bought another switch for the railroad...

    It was a 12 year old boy's fantasy...

    As we got older, we started to go to Ace Hobbies on Colorado, across from PCC and then, Whistle Stop...

    Randy Hees

  7. Thanks Randy for your story. Did you shop at the Nelson's 5 & 10 across from Henries, as well? When I came to Pasadena in the 70's it was still going, at that time it was part of the Cornet 5-10-25 Cent Store chain, and my brother and I bought a lot of the store fixtures and old inventory when it was closed down in the early 80's. We found some amazing things in the basement!
    What brand and scale of trains did you have? I started in 1962 with Marklin HO and ended up collecting that, mainly vintage, when I was in Europe, along with old Schucos, etc.
    It amazes me that Henries was upscale with trains, slot cars (Revell, Strombecker?), soldiers (Britains?) and Matchbox, Dinky and Corgi autos.
    Ace Hobbies I know well and I have a number of their wood auto kits, both built and unbuilt, which they were famous for. These were from the time before plastic was used for car kits and they still had some of their old wood kits on the shelf in the 1980's there at Ace Hobbies when they were across from Bob's Big Boy next to PCC.