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The History and Evolution of Fred’s Museum on Historic Route 66 “The Mother Road”

In the 1920’s when the automobile became an affordable means of transportation, the commercial development of Monrovia expanded beyond downtown and South Myrtle Ave. The intersection of Orange (now Colorado Blvd.) and Shamrock Avenue, just east of the central spine of commercial development and only a block north of the streetcar line down Olive Ave, was a choice location to build a neighborhood store.

The corner store was built in 1923 by Amos T. Veverka and is a significant asset representing the historic context of commerce and the automobile from 1908 – 1967.

The property has more or less been a functioning corner market and store from the beginning. The property has changed hands several times over the years. Circa 2010, The Market Grill opened and launched a successful gourmet burger and sandwich shop in conjunction with El Mercadito market. With increasing costs and rent, both businesses closed by 2017 and the property was listed for sale or lease.

The Bowden Family created a vision to repurpose the historical building to honor the legacy of Fred E. Bowden and his passion for classic cars. The property was purchased in July of 2018. The vision would include creating an automobile museum to showcase the classic car collection and would include a mock 50’s soda shop that can be leased for special events such as birthday parties, car shows, civic club gatherings, etc.

Based on the outdated residential zoning of the property, a zone change and general plan amendment were implemented to bring the property to current city development standards. Thus came the inception of the PD-66 zone which would allow a multi-use facility and the development of two residential structures on a second floor with loft decks and modern amenities. Fred’s became a reality in 2023 exactly 100 years after Amos T. Veverka constructed the building with his vision of expansion in Monrovia.

We hope you enjoy your time living a little bit of Monrovia’s history!

The Bowden Family and Fred’s Museum