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Original See's Candies building may get historic designation [UPDATED]

February 5, 2009 |  6:03 pm

Sees2 She showed up at City Hall with boxes of See’s candy to hand out, although that wasn’t why Charlene Nichols was treated Thursday like a milk chocolate cordial.

Los Angeles Cultural Heritage commissioners politely turned down her samples of milk almond, vanilla buttercream and maple walnut candies but agreed to consider her recommendation that the original See’s chocolate factory be designated a city historic-cultural landmark.

The two-story structure at 135 N. Western Ave. hasn’t been the site of a candy box assembly line for decades, but Nichols urged that it be recognized as the birthplace of Charles Alexander See’s confectionary dynasty.

See opened his factory and first candy shop there in 1921. Besides serving up millions of Valentine’s Day heart-shaped box gifts, the place was the inspiration for comedienne Lucille Ball’s famous candy assembly line routine. Nichols, 43, said she has been a See’s lover since she was a junior high school student who walked two miles to the Fashion Plaza shopping center in Covina to treat herself to a small box of chocolates.

She’s now an archivist for JPL who lives in Altadena. Commissioners didn’t trifle with the truffles, and they didn’t waste time agreeing to approve Nichols’ proposal – which she delivered to City Hall in an empty 5-pound See’s candy box. As bureaucrats, they’ve had plenty of experience with nut clusters.

Corrected, 10:50 a.m.: An earlier version said the building had received historic designation. In fact, officials are now considering historic designation.

-- Bob Pool

Photo: See's