Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pacific Coast Biscuit Company

One of the oddest ads featured a giant swastika on the side of a parking garage on the corner of NW 11th and Davis. Originally an ad for the Pacific Coast Biscuit Company which was housed in this building, this startling 10-foot symbol of their Swastika Biscuits eluded the attention of passers-by who kept their eyes to the ground. I can't make out what was painted in the large block at lower-right. Multiple paint coats over the years made it unreadable.

In 1996, the building looked like this:


"U-um - but they are good - so deliciously crisp and fresh. These are the biscuits sold under the 'Good Luck' seal. Aren't the grahams of this brand wonderfully good for children?

"Swastika Crackers are good for everybody. Honey and graham flour, that's about all there's in them. We use a package a day. You'll enjoy them." -1916 newspaper advertisement.

The building is sanitized now, even the neighboring building that housed part of the brewery (the blue part in the photo above) was replaced with a shiny new building, cutting off most of the view of the garage from its old vantage point.

2006:

7 comments:

Jack said...

Seeing the swastikas used to throw me off a bit, too...I used to see them here and there on the East Coast, on the sides of quite a few older (19th century) buildings in Jersey City and Bayonne, when I lived out that way...I believe they're an old Irish / Celtic / Gaelic 'good luck' symbol? Still jarring to see, though...funny seeing this, too...because there is a very obvious swastika in the street-facing brickwork of a house out on SE Hawthorne, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20th or so, a few blocks west of the Hawthorne Powell's, that I just noticed a few days ago when I was out that way for the Hawthorne Avenue Street Fair last Saturday.

Excellent blog, by the way, keep it up...I love this stuff...I thought I was the only one who looked out for these faded ads on the sides of buildings!

Chris F. Orinda CA said...

I just found three magazines from the Pacific Coast Biscuit Company called the Swas Tika, The magazines are filled with little sayings from employees and advertisements , The magazine's only about 20 pages have swastikas in between all comments and adds, Very disturbing but I guess in the 20's it was not associated with the Hitler Nazi Germany

JamieZ said...

Hitler's Nazi Germany did not exist when this symbol grazed the building. It is a symbol for luck. I have stationary from the Pacific Coast Biscuit Company with this symbol on it. This was my gr grandfather's business. He was of Jewish descent. I think we can rest assured that there was no underlying innuendo here.

Anonymous said...

Hello, we have found two old photos, the first is a basketball team with PCB on the jerseys and swastikas on the shorts. The other appears to be a trade show booth. The trade show picture was behind the team photo and we just recently opened up the frame. It gave us the clue to start our research. is there a historic site for the company. We are north of Everett, Washington.

Ego Kornus said...

By incident i came here, not really check my entrance on my blog
http://svasticross.blogspot.com/
But from another page i came to here
this one
http://www.flickr.com/photos/captainspaulding/sets/72157622381768046/detail/

Diana said...

The Pacific Coast Biscuit Co. building and company was developed by Herman Wittenberg, who was either German or Hungarian (record differs), so the Celtic reference would not be likely. A 1903 history says his parents were from Germany, although he was born in Kansas.

In fact, the entry to the Montana Club in Helena, MT, designed by Cass Gilberg, also has a swastica incorporated in the tile at the entry. Am looking into the meaning.

Heather Arndt Anderson said...

Wittenberg was actually born in Kansas and was the son of pioneers who came on the Oregon Trail. He was German by name only.