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Diary of a Photographer: Moving Taco Bell Numero Uno ~ Downey

As a kid growing up in the South Gate area, we often drove by this small food shack on Firestone Blvd. heading to All American Hardware or Stonewood Mall. Despite passing it so many times, I never thought twice about the eatery, and never ate there. I have some memories of it once being a Taco Bell, but I mostly remember this location as Seafood & Tacos Raul. From what friends have told me it was a great place for al pastor tacos which sadly I will never sample. What made the location important to the outside world is that is is the very first Taco Bell restaurant. This is where Glen Bell perfected the hard-shell, ground-beef, orange cheese tacos that most Americans think of as a standard taco originate from.

I started noticing some buzz about this little shack on social media, first from a co-worker that lives in North Downey area. As I looked into this online I saw more media outlets picking up on the story and then finally it hit the local news channels. Hell, as I talked about it home my daughter even knew about this first Taco Bell location being moved from her 5th grade teacher! In a short few days this lost and abandoned local spot in Downey was getting tons of attention.

That night I took my family with me to take a look at the first Taco Bell location being moved through the city of Downey to its new resting place at the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine. It was a slow procession up Firestone, as the building was jacked up on a trailer heading east at around 15 - 20 miles an hour. Slowing down at signal light with the help of the CHP, I was finally was able to get a great photo of the Number Uno at the intersection of Firestone and Rosecrans in the city of Norwalk.

Change is happening all across Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. As you get older, familiar places start to fade and become forgotten. You remember theses locations and talk about them as you reminisce and recall your youth. It’s great to relive those memories but always better to create new ones and share them with others in your life.

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