ChronoPoints | Ford Roundhouse – La Mesa
ChronoPoints is an initiative at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training dedicated to digitally documenting historically significant mid-century structures and artifacts. Our mission is to record a “life history” through the capture of digital data and by contextualizing it through contemporaneous photographs, documents, and oral histories of individuals associated with the artifact or building.
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Ford Roundhouse – La Mesa

Penske-Ford Scanning
Laser scanner in action
Ford Pavilion 1964 NYWF
Ford Pavilion at 1964/65 NYWF
Scan Drew Ford Roundhouse
Scan Drew Ford Roundhouse
Laser Scan showing elevation of Roundhouse
Laser Scan showing elevation of Roundhouse
Demolition of the Penske-Ford Roundhouse as of June 22, 2018
Roundhouse June 22, 2018 Jim Newland Image
LOCATION

La Mesa, California

DATE
CATEGORY

Laser Scanning

 

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

The Drew Roundhouse was inspired by the Ford Pavilion Rotunda at the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. Upon returning from the World’s Fair, the dealership’s original owner Elmer Drew, commissioned La Mesa architect James E. Hurley to create a structure that invoked the lines Los Angeles architect Welton Becket had developed for his masterpiece at the New York Fair. Paul C. Jacot served as the structural engineer.  When opening in 1967, 30 white pylons encircled the Rotunda showroom with two additional buildings connected via a bridge that would provide for the dealership’s service needs.

While widely known as the Roundhouse of Values, the Rotunda would not gain this name until the 1970s.  While many fondly remember Drew Ford as where they purchased their first car or truck, the dealership gained notoriety within the San Diego area for opening the Roundhouse for community events. This action made the Roundhouse more than just a commercial structure, to many it had become a cherished member of the community.

While the SoCal Penske Dealer Group acquired the Ford dealership rights and buildings in 2014,  the Drew family maintained actual ownership of the property.  In 2016, a site development plan was approved by the City of La Mesa City Council which called for the demolition of the existing new car showroom, used car building, and repair shop.  While the Roundhouse would not face demolition until the completion of a new showroom building, its days were numbered.  Demolition began June 21, 2018.

We will be adding new material to this page. If you have documents or photographs pertaining to the Roundhouse, please consider sharing them with the ChronoPoints so that we can continue to document the building’s history.  Be certain to click the Point Cloud tab at the top of the page.


ChronoPoints would like to thank Penske Ford La Mesa for their permission to scan the Roundhouse prior to its demolition. We also thank James Newland, President of the La Mesa Historical Society for his support of the project.