As Tail O' the Pup gets a new home, remembering LA's best examples of novelty architecture

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The Tail O' the Pup, the famous L.A. hot dog stand shaped like, well, a hot dog, will finally have a new home — but it won't be dishing out franks. As of Thursday, the landmark restaurant will have a place of honor at the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth, the Daily News reports.

The iconic hot dog stand was built in 1946 and remained open until 2005. It has been out of commission since then and currently rests in a Lake Elsinore salvage yard.

Tail O' the Pup is one of the most famous examples of  "programmatic architecture" — buildings designed in the shape of food, animals or other items. Southern California was ground zero for the boom in novelty architecture, which reached its apex in the early 20th century.

Motoring was still a new pastime. Business owners, often but not always restaurateurs, were desperate to catch the eye of passing drivers. Unhampered by modern building codes, they built these cool and kooky structures shaped like owls, toads, pigs, planes and more. 

Most — but not all — have been demolished. The Idle Hour, a barrel-shaped building on Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, was revamped and restored to its original glory.

Fortunately, Southern California's rich history of novelty architecture remains well documented.

The Tail O' the Pup facade will be available to view at Print Lab in North Hollywood on June 15 at 2 p.m. before it moves to the Valley Relics Museum, Tommy Gelinas, the museum's curator and founder, told KPCC.  

"Tail O' the Pup will continue building its brand," he said. "They do have plans to open a brick and mortar restaurant in Santa Barbara and they have a few other locations in mind."

The restaurant's brand name will also live beyond brick and mortar locations, the Los Angeles Times reports. Most recently, it had a pop-up food truck last September featuring both new and old school recipes.

This story has been updated.

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