Clearman’s, golly!

Clearman’s Village near San Gabriel was a collection of shops with fake snow on the roof, built around a restaurant, Clearman’s Galley, starting in 1968. The restaurant was housed in a converted 1913 Alaskan mail boat. John Clearman, the developer, also founded the North Woods Inn, another theme restaurant, which looks like a hunting lodge.

Well, the Village is gone, demolished to make way for a Kohl’s, as reported recently on the Foothill Cities blog. I believe the boat will be relocated to one of the North Woods Inn locations.

I bring this up to note that Rancho Cucamonga’s Magic Lamp Inn, the rococo structure on Foothill Boulevard, was another Clearman production. The man liked high-concept restaurants and eye-catching buildings, that’s for sure. The ‘Lamp, which has a Middle Eastern sign and name and an Old World design, was founded in 1955 and is still going strong. No Kohl’s in its future, thankfully.

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  • Lisa

    That’s too bad kitsch is making way for inexpensive bath towels and oddly fitting clothes. My grandma lived right around the corner from Clearman’s Village for more than 20 years. As a kid, I was always amazed that they could keep the AC up so high the snow wouldn’t melt. Aaah, memories.

  • D.L. MacLaughlan-Dumes

    I’m pretty sure that Clearman’s (the restaurant at least) goes back to at least the mid- to early ’60s. I remember being taken there for a birthday dinner in 1964.

    Good to hear that the Magic Lamp is still around.

  • Bob House

    You’ve sparked another memory of which I’m not particularly proud. I was once thrown out of The North Woods Inn along with the rest of a party so rowdy that the restaurant gave up the revenue of 15+ dinners and asked us to leave. It was the late ’70s and we were all in the retail hi-fi business (think of the sensibilities of a rock band without the musical talent). We’d just finished the Grand Opening celebration of one of our stores and were partying a little too hearty.

    On a recent visit to Southern California, I had dinner at another Clearman’s operation, The Steak ‘N Stein in Pico Rivera. No trouble this time, just the warm glow of nostalgia of a restaurant from the day. (If you are ever out that way, don’t miss The Dal Rae restaurant — a true blast from the past celebrating the sport of kings with a menu right out of the ’50s.)

    I did not know that another favorite of mine, The Magic Lamp, was connected to Clearman’s. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    [Lamp…enlightenment…I get it! — DA]

  • Kristin McConnell

    Oh, no!!! My parents are going to be crushed–as am I! That village was very cool, and it wasn’t just the restaurants. There were other shops there, too, including a shop dedicated to miniatures and doll houses.

    Goes to show how long it’s been since I’ve been there. Wahh!!


  • Glenn Laughner

    Well, I was lucky to grow up in that shopping center. My family owend the Holly House from 1968 until 1984. My two sisters and I would work there weekends and summers. The candies and Alta Dena Ice Cream, it’s a wonder I am not 500 pounds. The boat, Northwoods and the Golden Cock all were geared to different price ranges but the Boat and Northwoods were always the busiest, the beer would flow and the diners would drink. It was crazy in the 1970s.