Tex-Mex fast food giant Taco Bell serves more than 2 billion customers per year in their roughly 6,500 joints. But the original mothership of this bean-and-cheese empire may soon be destroyed, the Downey Patriot reports. The very first Taco Bell, built in Downey, California in 1962 by founder Glenn Bell, is under “imminent threat of demolition,” according to the Downey Conservancy, a preservation group.
The faux-adobe building has been empty since December, when its most recent tenant, independent fast food restaurant Seafood and Tacos Raul, left. And despite standing squat for 52 years, its appearance has remained largely unchanged. But that is no guarantee for its immortality.
“As there is no current plan for the building’s continued use, its status is considered to be endangered,” explains the Conservancy in a news release. Downey is also home to the oldest surviving McDonald’s in existence, as well as some historic drive-in theaters. Despite its humble facade, the first Taco Bell is an urbanist monument of sorts, a vital piece of early fast-food industry history.
Taco Bell has started a social media campaign, #SaveTacoBell, to keep the historic building intact. “This is a very special place in our history, and for the entire Taco Bell community,” a Taco Bell spokesperson told the Consumerist. “For passionate Taco Bell fans who want to share their support, we encourage them to use #savetacobell in social media.”
Many social media users are expressing devastation:
But this isn’t just a worthy cause for stoners, as Taco Bell even holds a special place in the hearts of the rich and famous; GOOP creator Gwyneth Paltrow recently ‘fessed up to enjoying a little Taco Bell with her “clean granola” and bee venom therapy. (Perhaps she’ll tweet out some GOOP-y support.) But it remains to be seen why Taco Bell is spearheading a social media campaign when the company could likely just buy the Downey property with its sour cream-covered pocket change. Maybe it should be #BuyTacoBell instead.
[via the Downey Patriot]