George Fasching’s Original Idea Spawns Huge Community Pride
By Terry Miller
“To everything there is a season,” the late Pete Seeger wrote in the late ‘50s. How appropriate that on Wednesday afternoon, June 29, the man whose idea of getting the iconic windmill to turn again became a reality, George Fasching, was the guest of honor at a celebration dedicating this landmark occasion.
Last year we told you about a magnificent plan that Fasching, Arcadia’s former mayor, had to get the old windmill atop of Denny’s restaurant on the corner of Huntington and Santa Anita in Arcadia rotating again like it once did.
Well, after several conference calls, emails, and a bunch of enthusiastic support and local media interest, the popular car-washing guru got his wish realized on Tuesday afternoon, April 5.
Denny’s CEO and the City of Arcadia gave the thumbs up and before you knew what was happening, the new motor was installed and the fabled Van De Camp windmill is once again turning, inviting people to step back into Arcadia’s proud history of preservation.
Now equipped with a new variable speed motor, the windmill will run at about six rotations-per-minute and will be illuminated at night. The cost: $100,000.
“The reactivation of the windmill is not only an exciting day for the residents of Arcadia, but for all of us at Denny’s,” said Joseph Giordano, Denny’s senior director of franchise and company development. “We’ve been a key part of this community for many years and we couldn’t think of a better way to thank our friends and neighbors for their continued support than with a celebration.”
Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakery, founded in 1915, was a Los Angeles institution for much of the 20th century. Its trademark Dutch windmill appeared on its bakeries and coffee shops across the region, but today only one windmill survives intact – atop a Denny’s in Arcadia.
Originally built in 1967, the Arcadia windmill sits atop the building’s Googie-style architecture roof and was designed by Pasadena architects Harold Bissner and Harold Zook, according to LA Conservancy.
Denny’s has worked closely with a fabrication company to honor the windmill’s historic style, staying true to the original architecture, while incorporating modern finishes. The restaurant has invested more than $100K to recondition the original blades, insert a new motor, and install LED lighting to illuminate the landmark at night.
Fasching penned a letter to Denny’s CEO requesting they seriously consider his proposal. Arcadia Weekly published an in-depth, front page story on the proposition back in December 2015: www.arcadiaweekly.com/featured/george-fasching-leads-campaign-to-get-dennys-to-fire-up-historic-van-de-camp-windmill.
Joining guest of honor Fasching for the official re-spinning was: Peter Amundson, Arcadia Mayor Pro Tem; John Miller, Denny’s president and CEO; and Harold Bissner, one of the original architects.