“Signs of Topanga”

On Wednesday, July 25, the Topanga Historical Society (THS) hosted an evening wine reception in their Pine Tree Circle office to present a collection of Topanga’s vintage business signs. 

The evening was a walk down memory lane with Kathy Burke, former owner of Pat’s Topanga Grill, who regaled us with stories galore about the legendary history of some of Topanga’s wonderful establishments.

In 2015, when Burke pulled THS Event Chair Gail McTune aside and told her that the restaurant was closing, McTune immediately asked if THS could be the caretakers and archivists for this historically significant and vastly loved collection.

“I immediately imagined our office walls adorned with this amazing memorabilia,” recalls McTune.

One of Topanga’s vintage business signs. Photos by Dianne Porchia

The night before Pat’s Grill closed and before the signs came down, THS board member Scott King and McTune car-camped overnight at the restaurant to make sure no one would surreptitiously remove the signs. The next morning, Marilyn Babcock joined them in removing the signs and putting them in the first of many storage spots; storing that many large pieces is a challenge.  

This year, however, proved to be the magic year and, after drawing up a placement template, Ami Kirby, Eric Dugdale, and Joe Sloan helped hang the signs (quite professionally, if we don’t say so ourselves) in the THS office ready to present to the public. THS is proud to present such beloved, tangible pieces of Topanga’s business history. No longer will they sit in storage to fade into history. 

THS is on holiday until the fall when they will meet to plan the annual picnic, tentatively scheduled for October. Check the Messenger Mountain News events page, “Around Town,” for details.


The Topanga Historical Society is located at 120 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Suite #206, in Pine Tree Circle. For more information and to contact: topangahistoricalsociety.org; info@topangahistoricalsociety.org. USPS: Topanga Historical Society, P.O. Box 1214, Topanga, CA 90290. Open by appointment only.


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