Carnation Company

Los Angeles, California, USA

Closed 1989

The Disappointed Tourist: Carnation Company, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ (61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The nine-story Carnation Company Building was built in 1949 by architect Stiles O. Clements, as the headquarters and restaurant for the Carnation Company on the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Boulevard, showing the headquarters and restaurant for the Carnation Company. The enormous Carnation Milk sign was solid red during the day and flashed in red and white neon after dark. In 1989 Carnation Company moved its headquarters to Glendale and the restaurant was closed. The original building was later extensively remodeled and doubled in size; the restaurant was demolished as part of the renovation. The painting is based on an uncredited photograph found on the Miracle Mile residential association.

The Carnation Company coffee shop was a staple of my childhood, a special place filled with red vinyl booths and Formica tables where we’d be taken for an ice cream sundae or a banana split. It anchored the Easternmost end of the Miracle Mile, where heading West on Wilshire Boulevard, things only got more exciting, with the La Brea Tar Pits, The LA County Art Museum, and The May Company department store. It was all magical. Leslie W.