Discover Canoga Park's unsung Antique Row

Towering palm trees line Sherman Way as it enters CanogaPark from the east, a remnant of the days when there were grandaspirations for this San Fernando Valley thoroughfare.

A more modest group of palms lines Sherman Way in Canoga Park'shistoric shopping district, home to several antiques stores. Amongthe best are Tattered Elegance (closed Mon; 21619 Sherman Way;818/884-1979), where French antiques have a country flair, and OldFriends (closed Mon; 21517 Sherman; 818/888-1254), where owner AlanBeutler finds and restores Craftsman-style pieces.

"In some ways this area is better than ever," says Beutler, whohas operated his store for 29 years. "We get customers from SantaBarbara to Laguna Beach. Somehow they manage to find us."

Many buildings here date back to the 1920s and '30s and come asa surprise in an area so synonymous with postwar boom years. Butthere's a more illustrious history here than one might imagine. LosAngeles Times publisher and real-estate developer Harry Chandlermodeled Sherman Way after one of the world's great boulevards,Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City. The 14-mile Sherman connectedthe then far-flung town of Owensmouth (Canoga Park's original name)to the rest of Los Angeles, with landscaping designed to dazzleprospective real-estate customers in the early days of the Valley'sdevelopment.

Nowadays, Canoga Park's hodgepodge of businesses ranges from anadult bookstore to a custom motorcycle shop to a wonderfulFrench-style patisserie, Pastries By Edie (21608 Sherman; 818/716-7033).

Somehow, it all works together quite well. So says DovelyMaffeo-Ober, owner of Dovely's (7207 Alabama Ave.; 818/884-8859), a shopspecializing in furniture making and faux finishing. She recallstrying to find a spot for the business after relocating to thevalley with her husband: "I had looked for a place for threemonths. I was literally sitting in the car weeping when I spottedthis building for rent and thought, 'This will do. This will donicely.'"

Treasure hunt

WHERE: Canoga Park's Antique Row is on Sherman Way betweenTopanga Canyon Blvd. and Canoga Ave. From westbound U.S. 101, takeeither Canoga or Topanga Canyon north to Sherman Way. Going east,get off at Topanga Canyon and head north.

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