Goffin’ Around in The Foothills

Dear Editor, I was thinking about the old days: Does anyone remember Lyman B. Goff? I don’t, but I do remember the Cigar Store Indian outside his shop. Lucy Colville (Record Ledger 1962) writes to wish Mr. Goff a happy 88th birthday. Goff earned his fame by being the man who considered himself the friend of everyone who walked along the street. He would sit outside the Trading Post, his home and real estate business, at 8405 Foothill Blvd in Sunland, greeting folks and, he said, kidding the girls.

After speaking to Jean Doe and Irene Munroe I learned that The Trading Post was the place where Mr. Goff, with the men of the community, gathered to sit outside on the wooden porch to visit. Sometimes Goff would go to visit Mary Lee Eberhardt across the boulevard at the library where they would disappear to the back for gossip and a smoke. Children would sometimes go into the trading post for penny candy, but the place was mostly for the men who sat outside smoking their pipes.

Mr. Goff considered himself “a bum” and was known for saying that “loafing is the best business there is”. Once the owner of a real estate business, this personable bachelor retired with the sole aim of occupying his bench on Foothill where he, a true people person, was the one to welcome everyone who passed by. In so doing, he earned the title “Living Landmark of Sunland”.

Lyman Goff and his brother had come to Sunland in 1932 when they bought the building which became The Old Trading Post. Many groups used the area in the front of the place for rummage sales. During the 1920s the inventory was largely cigarettes and tobacco, a tough business later during WWII when rationing was in effect.

Another famous old timer, Jimmy Smith, would often set up his organ outside the building and play for people going by. Jimmy wrote the Tujunga Song, putting Tujunga on the map for Kiwanis Club members statewide.

The store, next to where Jack-In The Box is now, had that Cigar Store Indian out front, a delight to the children who would ride by on their bikes and maybe stop in to buy candy. Before Jack in the Box that spot was a vacant lot where Irene’s mother would drop off her husband at the bus stop to get to work in Los Angeles, then pick him up later. From the car, Irene could watch the men biding time on the old wooden bench or watch Mr. Goff who was such a character with his long beard and loafing ways.

It is possible that the Trading Post went out of business when Foothill was widened in 1954, but, well, does anyone know?

BJR, Sunland

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