Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Marcell Inn - The Signs

Still hoping to get one of these great signs.

Apparently, when prohibition ended in 1933, the Marcell Inn's popularity as an isolated speakeasy located in laxly patrolled by the L.A. County Sheriff dropped off, the isolated location became a liability and Marcell took to placing these signs on the more frequented highways and bi-ways in neighboring Pasadena and on North Foothill Blvd. which is now Altadena Drive.  Marcell wanted to make his place a watering hole and bookie joint for the horse racing crowd centered at the 1933 newly built and licensed for betting Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, horse racing had been illegal in California since 1909 and was allowed in 1933 once again, so exciting illicit behavior supported by the mob changed from rum running to illegal gambling in the back rooms of the former speakeasys of the area.  The mob had to make money some way now that alcohol was once again legal.  A searchlight was mounted on a tower at the Marcell Inn to help late night gamblers find the joint up at the top of Lincoln from the adjacent North Foothill Blvd., which in those days was well traveled by all those heading to points north.  Seems Marcell didn't do too well with the gambling and dealings with the mob so he sold his joint to the Mount Lowe Military Academy in 1937 and the rest is history.

I am looking forward to getting one of these signs, as I plan to make my house a museum when I'm gone anyway.  Just have to save up the endowment; I'm working on that now!  I want to emulate, on a very, very small scale, W.R. Hearst, J.P. Getty and H. Huntington, leaving something for future generations.  You'll have to have reservations, like the Getty Malibu, and be bussed to the site in a small minibus, since there will be no parking on site.  Well, we can dream, can't we? 


  1. Thal, we need to find a storage space for the Pasadena Museum of History. Do you realize they haven't been able to add to their collection since the 1950's due to lack of space? I just learned this yesterday. I think your house would be a perfect legacy. ;)

  2. Thal's place could be a Pasadena Museum of History annex.