December 5, 2019
By Russ Keller – Guest Columnist Photo Credit: ROWHS Collection
MURPHY’S DANCING: Some weeks ago I met a nice lady named Bobbe at The Bear House restaurant in Crestline. She wanted to show me this week’s photo of Murphy’s where her father, Joe Lattanzi, had worked as a chef in the 1940’s. This photo was the best photo I had ever seen of Murphy’s and it sent me on a journey to find out more. In the 1930s the building was a garage with two Union gas pumps in front. Mark M. Sinsabaugh was the proprietor. Murphy’s eventually gave way to Dr. Atkinson’s professional offices, the Crestline Pharmacy and lab, and Crest Forest Realty. In April of 1961 a pre-dawn fire completely destroyed these business buildings as well as Cliff’s Trading Post and a small real estate office between Cliff’s and the pharmacy. A firewall between Cliff’s Trading Post and Bassett’s, to the north, kept the blaze from threatening all of Top Town. Shortly after the fire Dr. Atkinson purchased the properties where his office and nearby buildings had been. When the trading post was rebuilt a firewall was built in the rear and additional firewalls where Murphy’s had stood. An early morning fire in April of 1986 broke out at this location again. This fire was arson caused and destroyed the Florist in the Forest, Seventh Day Adventist Thrift Store, Bill Linder’s Auto Parts Store and the office of Doctor Atkinson — again. It seems fire was the bane of Dr. Atkinson’s life. His imposing home on Valley View Drive in Crestline was damaged by the McKinley Fire in 1956 and totally destroyed by a wind-whipped fire in February of 1984. The doctor, alone at home, escaped unharmed with only the clothes on his back. Dr. Atkinson retired in July of 1984 and moved to Brea. The Rim of the World Sports Bar is now at this location. This is the third location for this liquor license. The original location being the Rim O’ World Tavern, destroyed by fire in December of 1947. The next location was the intersection of SH 138 and Crest Forest Drive, the Rim O’ the World Cocktail Lounge. Destroyed by fire on November 17, 2015. Let’s all hope this intersection has seen the last of destructive fires. I’d like to wish Cliff & Robin the best of luck with their new Sports Bar at the earlier location of Murphy’s Dancing.