The World's First Taco Bell Is In Danger Of Being Demolished


We as a nation must work to preserve our history, which is why it makes us sad to report that the world's first Taco Bell is potentially facing the threat of the wrecking ball.

The building that once housed the restaurant that launched an empire now stands vacant at 7112 Firestone Boulevard in Downey, fenced off and merely hinting at the glories that the spot once hosted. For years it was home to the independently-owned Seafood and Tacos Raul, but that restaurant closed at the end of December and the building has yet to find a new tenant. Its current status has led The Downey Conservancy to declare the site under "imminent threat of demolition" reports The Downey Patriot.

Taco Bell was founded by Glen Bell in March of 1962, when he chose the location because it "was in a growth area near a middle-class neighborhood, on a street with good traffic and numerous small businesses," according to Taco Titan: The Glen Bell Story. The Downey Conservancy said that they have not only reached out to Taco Bell, but also other firms that have had "success in the adaptive reuse of important buildings."

The Downey Conservancy is "community-based organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the preservation of the culturally and historically significant resources of the City of Downey." In addition to being the home of the world's first Taco Bell, Downey also lays claim to the oldest operating McDonald's, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

The Conservancy hopes to add the original Taco Bell building to a growing list of Downey tourist attractions, even if at different address and with a new purpose if necessary. "Consideration could be given to using the historic building as a tourism or business-to-business information center," said the group.

"Live Más" is the motto of Taco Bell. Hopefully the same can be said of the building on Firestone Boulevard.