Silver Lake’s Olive Motel loses its neon

Former Olive Motel sign

Former Olive Motel sign

SILVER LAKE —  Along with notoriety for criminal activity and cheap rooms ($59 a night), the Olive Motel on Sunset Boulevard has also been known for the old neon signage that gave the Streamline-style building an L.A. Noir-like atmosphere. A painting of the Olive Motel and its glowing neon even appeared in a museum exhibition.

But now the neon is gone, replaced by a pair of conventional, plastic-and-metal signs (pictured below). A worker said the management of the motel has not changed, only the sign.

Too bad, said, Kevin, an Eastsider reader who recently noticed that the neon sign was gone.

“Now there truly is nothing redeeming about the place,” he said.

new olive motel sign in silver lake 9-6-2015 2-21-10 PM

New Olive Motel sign

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  1. Why would they remove that classic sign for a crappy, plastic one???? That was a BAD move!!!!

  2. So depressing, Loved the original signs. If the owners had some foresight, they would renovate the buildings to their classic appearance and market the motel as a Route 66 destination.

  3. Obviously the owners are totally out of touch with the original beauty and style the neon sign possessed. I agree that they missed the mark here and should have celebrated the original stream lined design, highlighted the history, and utilized the old neon to market to the type of folks who are staying in the Silverlake area. Maybe they just want it to remain skanky. Such a shame.

  4. It looks like a combination Olive Garden/battered women’s shelter now.

  5. OK – so I had too much time on my hands and checked Yelp reviews on this motel. Believe me, it’s worth reading them! True EastsiderLA fodder! Enjoy…… http://www.yelp.com/biz/olive-motel-los-angeles?sort_by=date_desc

  6. This is really depressing. I always thought that place was a gem in the rough and wondered why no one put some money into it to fix it up because it had good bones and fantastic retro charm. It could have easily been transformed into the “cool” design motel in an area where decent lodging is scarce. The sign is what made that motel. I hope the original sign wasn’t destroyed/discarded. It was a great streamline modern classic. Slowly but surely our eastside neighborhoods are having their souls erased and are being replaced by non-descript suburban bland. The owners are completely clueless.

    • lolz at the things that depresses people these days!

      • Mike, I realize there are many things far more terrible in this world. The world is a pretty damn horrible place for many people in many ways and that’s always running in the background of the minds of people who care about such things or are living it. Therefore, when little things you come across in your day to day existence make you feel a bit happy or pleased, whether it be a bit of architecture, an unusual looking tree, a beautifully painted building, some nice landscaping, a great old sign, yes … it IS depressing when your few “happy touchstones” are taken away. For me, and by the looks of most of the comments here, that old neon was something people liked and enjoyed. It’s existence made them happy in a small way, and now it’s gone. With so much social ugliness in the world adding visual ugliness to the mix doesn’t help anyone’s quality of life. It’s hard to change things on a macro level, so you find your happy things on a micro level.

        • You make such a good point, ese-ese! I’ve driven by that motel many times, and never gave it much thought. However, I now realize that the neon sign gave me a warm feeling every time I saw it. (I’ve always loved old neon anyway.) These are the little things in life, some of which we may not even think much about until they’re gone. That’s why it’s important to look – really look at the world around us. There are many things that give us pleasure. Neighborhood wise, for me, Silver Lake’s Chandelier Tree is at the top of my personal list!

        • Very well said, ese-ese

        • HERE HERE ese-ese!!! Perfectly said! These little details we encounter are the stuff of life and what feeds our souls.

        • So well put. That is it exactly. It’s a shame the new owners didn’t recognize the gem that was that simple, neon sign.
          I wonder what happened to the old sign.

        • Hey there I drove by while they were changing it, found out they were trashing it so I strapped it to my VW golf and gtfo of there. Not sure what I’ll do with it. Maybe it will go to a prop house and see new life that way. But just wanted to let you know it wasn’t trashed! I didn’t get the vertical one tho, I thought that one was staying 🙁
          I spoke with the owner he didn’t have a clue why I’d want it and was just big upping LEDs

  7. I hope they didn’t just throw it away it was a beautiful sign!!! oy. saw the new sign the other night, i was like Who thought of THIS stupid idea??? Looks like a strip mall dentist office now.

  8. This is also the place where a teenage girl was raped and strangled many years ago.

    • And you have a point, I suppose, rather than simply hype.

    • Delia: Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that happened at The Bates Motel that was recently white washed?

      • Oops, I stand corrected. Someone in the YELP reviews mentions the 2007 murder. (Thanks for posting that link Sandy Driscoll! You are right, this is some GOLD.)

    • Just to fill it out, it wasn’t some innocent little girl, it was a prostitute and drug addict who was plying her trade at the hotel. Not that she or anyone else deserves to be killed, just putting it in perspective.

      • Tom,
        Regardless if the girl stuck her thumb up your ass for $30 to support her disease. SHE DID NOT DESERVE TO BE STRANGLED AND MURDERED. Period. How shameful you discount the act of violence due to your close minded susceptibility to stigma. Open your eyes and your heart. And hope your daughter/ sister/ mother/ partner isn’t met with the same death. Your response is ignorant and despicable.

  9. If the walls could talk, that place was awful in the 70’s !
    I personally burned it down when I was a kid playing with matches. Do us all a favor and get rid of that dive…
    But I’ll take the neon sign, if they don’t want it.

  10. LOL… of all the problems with that building, they decided to “fix” the signage?

  11. Are you KIDDING? What is wrong with people?

  12. Clueless folks think slapping a new sign on a building suddenly improves the whole property. The old sign was “dated” to them. Sigh.

  13. There has always been lots of prostitution and drug activities going on around that place. Having a sex-shop (Syren) open up next door didn’t help. I have no idea how they haven’t been shut down by both the health department and the LAPD! I’m sad that the sign is gone, hopefully the owners were smart enough to at least sell it to an antique dealer, but it’s doubtful.

  14. Sad news. I just called the Olive Motel and asked about the sign. The owner wasn’t in but the woman who answered the phone said it was just tossed out. I asked if she was sure, and she said yes, they just threw it out. Bummer.

    • no i have it. the horizontal ‘olive’ and ‘motel.’ not the vertical part sadly. its alive.

      • Is this true, Oliver? If so, I’m glad the signs weren’t trashed ..thank you! Maybe consider selling or donating them to a person or organization that can keep them up somewhere?

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