The café was run by Earl and Lilian Warnix from about the late 1930s until the early 1960s, but whether they were the ones who first built the café is uncertain. Most of the property on the east end of Ludlow was acquired by Laurel and Cameron Friend about 1963 and they continued to operate the café in addition to the Ludlow Restaurant until they moved to Colorado about 1975.
Although it has been abandoned, for decades the café remained relatively unscathed until about 2007 when the interior caught fire, either deliberately or by accident by travelers who were camped in the building. The fire accelerated the deterioration of the building and, sadly, today it is only a pile of rubble.
The Ludlow Garage and Service Station
Earl owned and ran the garage, the Ludlow service station, and the Ludlow Café and years later they bought the motel that was across the street from the cafe from Penny and Venus Pendergast.
Their house was immediately west of the service station on the road leading into Ludlow from the east. In the top photo above, it is the house almost hidden by trees. There were two additional homes west of the Warnix residence that were also owned by Earl, but those homes are now gone. The garage is shown just east of the house.
The Warnix service station is shown above. It was built with a large, soaring awning in the googie style, a type of futurist architecture and was popular in the 1940s and 50s. To the right of the service station are two small buildings. The one in front was a restroom and the one behind held the generator that supplied electricity to most of Ludlow's businesses at the time. I am unsure if Earl Warnix built the garage and service station or if he acquired the businesses from a previous owner.
When the Warnix family left, the properties – Café, service station, garage and the houses were purchased by Cameron and Laurel Friend and Cameron’s brother, Luther and his wife Deborah.