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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki tiki cocktail lounge, modesto, ca, (bar)
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tiki cocktail lounge, modesto, ca, (bar)
GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1770
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2009-03-04 09:04 am   Permalink

It strikes me as funny/sad that as tikis like these rot at the base over the years, they either keep cutting off the bottom until all you have left is a head (and in this case, reinforced with not-too-flattering metal straps) or in the case of the Mai-Kai, they just keep piling up more cement around the base until their legs are completely encased. Either way, it's not a pretty way to go.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11137
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-04 10:35 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-04 08:21, Dustycajun wrote:
Quote:

On 2009-03-03 23:23, bigbrotiki wrote:
How great that they are still in relatively good condition. Now this thread needs the postcard rendering of the place.



Bigbro,

Here is the postcard rendering from the old Tropics Hotel next door. Interesting thing about this card - I have two of these cards with the same painting but one says its from Modesto and one says its from Blythe on the back. Ken Kimes must have been saving money on the advertising budget.




Here is another tiki action shot from the Modesto Tropics. Good to see that this tiki is still alive.



DC



Thank for the excellent postcard support, DC. Yeah, the Blythe and Indio Tropics were even smaller than the Modesto one, which never had the porte cochere A-frame lobby portrayed in the rendering...nor was there a Sambo's or any other kind of coffee shop. (Correct me if I my memory fails me, J.T.). It is also interesting how the rendering makes it look like the Motel could be an enclosed courtyard building, while it merely has an L-shaped lay out.

The Palm Springs Tropics was clearly the showcase of the 5 Tiki Tropics, with the L.A./Rosemead Blvd one being the second best (that is what the rendering in the BOT depicts). The sign alone was a work of art. The Rosemead Tropics had been completely de-tikied and generified by the time I got on the Tropics trail.

In retrospect, realizing how far off the Modesto rendering is and how it doubled for Blythe, I cannot help but wonder if that was part of a Ken Kimes scam: Invite the investors to a grand party at the Palm Springs one, and nobody would wanna go to Blythe or Indio anyway. After all, because of being married to Sante Kimes and fathering Kenneth Kimes, Ken Kimes Sr is not looked upon too kindly in the various articles and books about the Mother/son crime duo:

>>Sante then met a kindred spirit in Kenneth Kimes, a fellow con artist who already amassed a substantial fortune when they met. The pair later had a son Kenny although it is questionable whether they ever married. According to one version, Sante simply forged a marriage certificate.
In any case, the fact that the couple was already rich didn't seem to matter. They pulled scam after scam together, swindling their way across America and amassing more wealth.
Eventually, the couple was finally charged - with slavery.<<

Here a another short recap:

>>Sante Kimes was married to wealthy motel owner and land developer Kenneth Kimes, Sr. During her marriage, she became involved in several legal turmoils. In 1986, she was accused and then convicted of 14 counts of enslaving a number of maids, holding them against their will, physically abusing them, and not paying them. She was sentenced to 14 five-year terms to run concurrently in that case. In the same year she was convicted of stealing a fur coat from another customer in a Washington, D.C., restaurant. She was also suspected of arranging the arson of a home in Hawaii in order to collect the insurance.

On the death of her husband, she concealed the fact of his death from his family, apparently out of concern that they would contest her claim to the estate. However, Kenneth Kimes had sequestered much of his fortune in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, and she was unable to access those funds. She was suspected in the disappearance of a banker in the Bahamas, in the death of a hired man in Los Angeles, and a warrant was issued for writing a bad check for $14,793.50 to purchase an automobile in Utah.<<

What gets me is that these two (Sante and son) seem to have an unending amount of criminal energy, I just found this recent prison report!:

>>Kenneth Kimes was found guilty of violent conduct, violating direct orders, making threats, assault and possession of a weapon stemming from an October 10 incident during which he took a TV producer hostage in the visiting room at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in Clinton County.

Sante Kimes faced disciplinary charges following an investigation that began at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County while her son held the hostage at Clinton. Because both she and her son are considered escape risks, she was moved to the disciplinary housing unit during the hostage incident as a security precaution. Officers then searched her cell and found a pen taped at the top to form a hand grip.<<


 
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tikicleen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 11, 2003
Posts: 329
From: ripon: almond capital yet no orgeat
Posted: 2009-03-04 12:39 pm   Permalink

hi all~

thanks for posting the great postcards, i always enjoy examining them and seeing the heyday of buildings that have since fallen decrepit and putrid. as for bigbro's question, the modesto tropics indeed had a sambo's next door to the lounge as shown in the postcard.
the address was 926 mchenry avenue.

here is what it looked like:


and here is what it looked like in 2007:



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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11137
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-04 12:59 pm   Permalink

Wow! Excellent "Before and After" photography! And the outrigger beam is still there!
So what is the building on the left of it, the Tiki Lounge, or the back of the Motel...? Is my memory also faulty in that the Modesto Tropics is indeed U-shaped and not just an L-shaped building? I beg forgiveness, I have not been there in more than 10 years, and back then was focused on the Tikis, mainly.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4272
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-03-04 3:45 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-04 12:59, bigbrotiki wrote:

So what is the building on the left of it, the Tiki Lounge, or the back of the Motel...? Is my memory also faulty in that the Modesto Tropics is indeed U-shaped and not just an L-shaped building?



Tikicleen,

Thanks for those photos. From the looks of the postcard, the building to the left of the Sambos would have been the A-Frame reception building for the hotel. The painting also shows that the motel was in fact L-shaped, with the Sambos building abutting the open side of the L.

Here are a few more postcards from the different Tropics Hotels. Here are two from Palm Springs.





You will notice that the postcards from Blythe and Indio use the same picture of the A-Frame port-cochere that is from the Palm Springs location. Some more trickery from Ken Kimes!






DC


 
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chilli9
Member

Joined: Aug 03, 2009
Posts: 1
Posted: 2009-08-03 10:17 am   Permalink

interesting.. i will check this one out!




[ This Message was edited by: chilli9 2009-08-03 10:18 ]


 
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RockaHula
Member

Joined: Aug 04, 2009
Posts: 8
Posted: 2009-08-15 4:44 pm   Permalink

Hello, Everyone. I'm new to Tiki Central, but I must say I have a GREAT update on the Tiki Cocktail Lounge. I have befriended the owner, Mitch Maesetti and he has informed me that he has owned the Tiki Cocktail Lounge for a bit over 20 years. I took a stay at the Tropics Motel (now the Rodeway Inn) behind the bar one night and went in from the rain to have a Blue Hawaiian. QUITE the tasty (and strong) cocktail if I do say so myself and the fire pit warmed me (and my soaked jacket) to the bone. It was very cozy indeed. I must say that Humuhumu is correct in mentioning that the Tiki Cocktail Lounge is now a gay-friendly bar and YES, there is a rainbow flag above the back entrance. The bar is FULL of gorgeous velvet paintings and thatch booths and the fire pit is to die for. Mitch has decided to move some of the hut booths back a bit and take out one of the large booths to create a dance floor. That will be taking place soon. As for the Tropics Motel, owner Meeran Saxena has spent the last 2 years updating all of the rooms and is going out of her way to renovate the place. She really wants to keep it as TIKI as she can. She recently re-paved the parking lot and is looking to put in a new fence between the bar and the motel.
I spoke to Mitch recently about his lack of rums and he has informed me that he will be purchasing several new rums to help try to bring the bar back to it's original glory. Right now, they specialize in vodkas. He is open to suggestion. He and I and Meeran are working together this October to host the ROCK-A-HULA POOL-A-PARTY which will be an all day event with a complete luau and pool party. We'll have live bands playing Exotica and DJs spinning the best in tropical sounds.
I really think these two places are back on the road to recovery. Hope you all get to visit these two awesome historical places!


 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1780
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-08-15 5:08 pm   Permalink

Aloha and welcome to TC RockaHula. Thanks for the update. Here is a rather current pic of the Tiki.



[ This Message was edited by: uncle trav 2009-08-15 17:13 ]


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-12-23 8:49 pm   Permalink

I visited the Modesto library today and tracked down these phone book ads of the Tropics Motel.


1966, the layout is a bit different than the layout on DC's postcard.




1975, this one mentions that "Sambo's and Tiki c#cktail lounge on premises.




1994, no more Ken Kimes Logo.


[ This Message was edited by: abstractiki 2011-01-08 08:09 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4272
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-12-23 11:34 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-12-23 20:49, abstractiki wrote:

1966, the layout is a bit different than the layout on DC's postcard.




Abstract,

Nice phone book research. The layout in the phone book ad looks pretty close to post card if you ask me. The motel sign is on the other side of the port cochere and the exterior of the A-Frame building is a little different, but all-in-all pretty close given the artistic license that was given to the post card artists.





DC


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-12-24 05:50 am   Permalink

Thanks DC, and I agree, it's pretty close. I should have said "a little bit different".

 
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VampiressRN
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5712
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2010-12-24 09:00 am   Permalink

Great job Dave...who knew that phone books would be of such historical importance to researchers. Thanks for posting those pages!!!

 
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Jungle Trader
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3736
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2010-12-24 09:54 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-04 12:59, bigbrotiki wrote:
Wow! Excellent "Before and After" photography! And the outrigger beam is still there!
So what is the building on the left of it, the Tiki Lounge, or the back of the Motel...? Is my memory also faulty in that the Modesto Tropics is indeed U-shaped and not just an L-shaped building? I beg forgiveness, I have not been there in more than 10 years, and back then was focused on the Tikis, mainly.



The building to the left of "Car Toys" building is the Tiki Lounge, to answer that particular question.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4272
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-12-29 10:22 pm   Permalink

Tiki lifeguard at the Tropics Modesto ....
Photo from Flickr




DC

[ This Message was edited by: Dustycajun 2011-03-03 23:04 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11137
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-12-30 09:46 am   Permalink

Here's the Tiki that stood by the entrance to the bar in the 90s:



I liked the fact that this place was actually called the "Tiki Lounge"- but the hours sign was the only one where it was spelled out. There were few other outright Tiki Lounges: The Hawaiian Village had one, that Motel in Denver, and the Hawaiian Isle in Miami.


 
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