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In the Pipeline: A little history at the sandwich shop

June 25, 2013|By Chris Epting
  • 117211 Beach Blvd., then and now. On the left is the building in 1972, on the right as it appears today.
117211 Beach Blvd., then and now. On the left is the building… (Courtesy Chris…)

Huntington Beach loves its history.

Since my column a couple of weeks ago about my goal to locate old buildings as the first stage in trying to create a historic marker program around the city, I have received some truly fascinating emails from people regarding sites I had little or no knowledge about.

I wanted to focus on one this week because it's a terrific example of how we regularly pass places that hide their histories well. For me there is always something compelling about a building or structure that has led different lives over the years, and here we have one that truly fits the bill.

It began with this note: "Hi Chris, my name is Chris Gruber and I work as a firefighter for Huntington Beach." He told me the Subway sandwich shop on Beach Boulevard between Warner and Slater used to be Mario's Mexican deli and liquor store and has served as the Ocean View Fire Station. "I have some old pictures and a little narrative information about it. Let me know if you would like the information."

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So, thanks to Mr. Gruber, I'll never be able to pass that Subway again without thinking about the building's interesting history.

It was constructed in 1953 and is considered post-World War II architecture. It was included in the Huntington Beach 2009 survey of historic buildings.

On July 1, 1964, it opened as the Ocean View Fire Station. Ocean View was obtained from the then-Orange County Fire Department in a trade. Chief Bud Higgins traded two older fire engines to Orange County for the property with the agreement that it would become a city station staffed with two paid personnel and volunteers.

It remained in service until 1972, when Murdy Fire Station opened.

Since 1972, various businesses have occupied the structure, at 17211 Beach Blvd. Until recently it housed Mario's Mexican deli and liquor store but since 2011 it has been a Subway sandwich shop.

Gruber also included some photos taken the last day that Ocean View Station was occupied. They appear to show the firefighters painting over the station name. The people in the pictures are Bob Baker, Brett Morehead and Mike Brown.

When you stand there today with an old photo, you can clearly line up most characteristics of the building on the outside. But inside, things are radically different.

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