Farmers Market


In July 1934 a contingent of farmers pulled their trucks onto an expanse of empty land at the property known as Gilmore Island at the corner of Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles. They displayed their produce on the tailgates of their vehicles, to their delight, customers quickly arrived and parked their cars on a hastily created dirt parking lot in spaces designated with chalk. They strolled among the trucks purchasing fruit, vegetables and flowers. The atmosphere was casual, the open air commerce enticing, the goods fresh, and the result remarkable. Farmers Market became an instant institution. With a partner, Arthur Fremont Gilmore purchased two ranches in the Los Angeles vicinity. The purchase inaugurated a string of serendipitous events which not even the far-sighted Gilmore could predict. When Gilmore and his partner elected to dissolve their arrangement, they drew straws - Gilmore's straw secured 256 acres on which he created a successful dairy farm. A.F. Gilmore had no plans for a world-renowned institution when he moved to Los Angeles from Illinois in 1870. Rather, he was seeking a better life on the promising West Coast. When he married Mary Elizabeth Bell in 1882, the small adobe on the property became the new home for his family. At the turn of the century, while drilling for water for his herd of dairy cows, A.F. Gilmore hit oil. By 1905, the dairy was gone and the Gilmore Oil Company born. Roger Dahlhjelm and Fred Beck, two entrepreneurs trying to make the best of the Depression, approached E.B. Gilmore with "An Idea." Perhaps they were attracted by Gilmore's marketing flair or perhaps it was his expansive acreage in close proximity to the booming Los Angeles community. Whatever the motivation, Dahlhjelm and Beck envisioned a "Village Square" where artisans would sell handmade goods - pottery, furniture, textiles. Their stalls would surround a central market where farmers would sell their produce to housewives. Dahlhjelm and Beck had architectural renderings and a vast vision. E.B. Gilmore had a large vacant field, and the "Idea" was given life. The concept of elaborate architecture gave way to wooden stalls, and the vast vision gave way to a modest business approach. Farmers were charged a mere 50¢ per day "rent" - but the "Idea" had a power all its own. Farmers Market reached and surpassed the lofty vision which launched it. By the time the decade had lapsed, the gross was greater than the predicted six million dollars, but commercial volume was the least of the Market's achievements. Farmers Market became the central meeting place for Angelenos - "Meet me at 3rd and Fairfax" is still one of the most common phrases in the city. It also became, and remains, the must-see tourist attraction in Southern California. Farmers Market has been the home to circus acts, parades, petting zoos, and "stargazing". It was also the source of a daily newspaper column which, at its height, rivaled "Dick Tracy" in popularity. Chef Baloni, the irrepressible Fred Beck, made his home here and offered cooking tips and Farmers Market recipes. As a part of an expansion and reconstruction project in 1941, Farmers Market became the home of the Clock Tower, which has become an international landmark. In tribute to Earl B. Gilmore, Roger Dahlhjelm, and Fred Beck, the words "An Idea" were inscribed on the Clock Tower. At the turn of the millennium, the one-time dairy farm adapted once again. Following years of careful planning, the A.F. Gilmore Company completed an arrangement to develop several acres of property into one of the most delightful, and amazingly popular, shopping and entertainment venues in the nation. The Grove, developed by Caruso Affiliated Holdings, features a wonderful array of stores, restaurants, the finest movie theater complex anywhere, and a streetscape which is inviting, friendly, and specifically designed for strolling. At the same time, the Gilmore Company created North Market, now home to the ultra-modern Gilmore Bank building, a number of street-level shops, and two stories of offices. While these new additions have greatly enhanced the experience, which draws millions of visitors to Farmers Market, the Market itself remains what it has always been – a delightful and utterly charming place to meet, eat, shop, and stroll. Now entering its eighth decade as one of the most popular places anywhere in the U.S., Farmers Market remains "An Idea" whose time is now. On this site are scores of Farmers Market images, Farmers Market photos and Farmers Market pictures. During the 1940s and 50s, the Hollywood Stars Baseball Team played baseball at the Gilmore Field.  This area is near the city oif West Hollywood.

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Opening day at Farmers Market at Fairfax Ave & Third St.
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Opening day at Farmers Market at Fairfax Ave. & Third St.
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Farmers Market
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Aerial photo of Farmers Market and Gilmore Stadium
Farmers MarketOpening day at Farmers Market at Fairfax Ave & Third St.
FM-001
1934
Farmers MarketOpening day at Farmers Market at Fairfax Ave. & Third St.
FM-002
1934
Farmers MarketFarmers Market
FM-003-1
1952
Farmers MarketAerial photo of Farmers Market and Gilmore Stadium
GS-009
1938
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Aerial photo of Farmers Market and Gilmore Stadium
 
Farmers MarketAerial photo of Farmers Market and Gilmore Stadium
GS-010
1938