This past April, my wife, kids, and I were in Southern California for a conference and had a few minutes to stop off in Downey - a suburban city located 15 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Downey has the distinction of being home to the world's oldest McDonald's.
Technically, it's the world's oldest surviving McDonald's. The first McDonald's, opened in 1937, was located adjacent to the Monrovia Airport. The tiny octagonal building was later moved to 1398 North E Street in San Bernardino, California in 1940. As second McDonald's opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 1953. Neither of these first two McDonald's survive.
This third McDonald's opened in August 1953, and is the world oldest surviving McDonald's. It's located at the intersection of Lakewood Blvd. and Florence Ave in Downey.
My wife and kids waiting after ordering our food. While maybe not worth a special trip, if you're anywhere in the area, I'd say it's worth stopping by.
They do a good job playing up the history and nostalgia, including lots of information on this particular location.
Long before Ronald McDonald, McDonald's had "Speedee" as their corporate mascot.
My son referred to this as "the birthplace of diabetes." Well, sort of. The original hamburgers, french flies, and soda sizes were TINY by today's Super Size portions. Not sure if a 1953 meal was healthier or not, but it was definitely smaller.
Adjusted for inflation, McDonald's today is actually cheaper than in 1953. One reason why fast food is so popular is that, well, it's so cheap.
Inside, was an old school cash register - just for show.
Immediately adjacent to the walk up McDonald's was a very small museum.
The museum had some seating, and displays.
The history of their logos.
Information on the Downey location.
A display of their milkshake mixers, which were apparently pretty revolutionary for the time.
Obligatory family selfie.
And a final photo of the 1959 era Golden Arch.
Here's a link to a wikipedia article with additional information.
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