Click to enlarge.
Soledad Hotel and Coffee Shop in the early 1930s when it was owned by Pico Canyon oilman Charles E. Sitzman.
The Soledad Hotel of the 1930s-40s-50s started life in about 1925 as the Travelers Hotel and Kafe
(Perkins, The Signal, 8-20-1964) at 829-831-833 Spruce Street (southwest corner of 9th and Spruce, now called Main). Original owners Elmer and Annie Eaton added a second story in 1928. They sold it in 1930 to Charles E. Sitzman, then-superintendent of the Pico
Oil Field, and a partner, who rebranded it as the Soledad Hotel and Coffee Shop. Exactly when they sold it, we don't know, but it changed hands many times throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In the spring of 1964 it was
razed, and the one-story building that would eventually become the Way Station coffee shop took its place.
The old Soledad Hotel building housed a Safeway grocery store at one time. (We don't know why "Newhall" is written over the sign at left; that's the Safeway.) It was located
almost directly across the street from the other Safeway grocery (which became Dillenbeck Market and then Tresierras Market). According to
Gus Trueblood, the two Safeway stores operated simultaneously.
The coffee shop section at far right, at the corner of Main and 9th,
would become an ice cream parlor before turning into the the Way Station Coffee Shop (under different ownership). According to county assessor records, the 4,650-square-foot Way Station space has a construction date of 1964.
The 2,500-square-foot space at 24367 Main St., immediately to the left of the Way Station, roughly at center-left of the Soledad Hotel photo, has a construction date of 1949.
To its left, the narrow, 1,100-square-foot space at 24363 Main St. has a construction date of 1955.
To its left (probably out of frame of the Soledad Hotel photo), the 3,100-square-foot space at 24357 Main St. has a construction date of 1964.
To its left, the 3,000-square-foot space at 24353 Main St. has a construction date of 1931 (contemporary with the Soledad Hotel) and a remodel date of 1960.
To its left is the northwest corner of Main Street and 8th Street, where a 1,099-square-foot glass shop at 24347 Main St., constructed in 1958, is set back from the street.
(The information above is current as of 2017.)
About the Way Station: Stanley and Jeri Bronstrup opened the Way Station Coffee Shop two weeks after the Sylmar-San Fernando earthquake of Feb. 9, 1971, when Stanley's tobacco
shop a block up the street in Old Newhall was destroyed. Son Jerry Bronstrup writes: "After quick negotiations with the owner of Curry's Ice Cream Parlor,
Stanley moved what was left of his 'Smoke Shop and Unusuals' tobacco and antique store into the malt shop and changed the name to The Way Station when the
ice cream parlor owner decided to move on."