Windmill blades atop Arcadia’s Googie-style Denny’s come crashing down

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The blades on the spinning windmill atop Arcadia’s Googie-style Denny’s fell down this morning, puncturing a hole through the diner’s circular roof.

Originally a Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakery’s coffee shop, the Denny’s is the last surviving windmill-topped restaurant in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The windmill had only recently begun to spin again; it was turned on 18 months ago after sitting still since 1989.

It cost $100,000 to get the mill up and running again. At a switching-on ceremony in June 2016, Denny’s president and CEO John Miller conceded that bill was more than originally anticipated. “But we figured when the windmill is still spinning in 100 years, the cost won’t matter,” he said.

The dutch bakery opened at the corner of Santa Anita and Huntington Boulevard in 1967, with the windmill spinning. It was designed by Pasadena architects Harold Bissner and Harold Zook to catch the attention of motorists.

The windmill spun until Denny’s took over the space in 1989. Denny’s wanted to demolish the building, but a public campaign to preserve it saved the structure.

Today, it’s the last of them left. Now, signs posted at the restaurant say it’s closed for maintenance.

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