Upland in the 1940s

I always enjoy Marilyn Anderson’s monthly Hometown Spirit newsletter published out of downtown Upland’s Cooper Museum and available for free around town (I get mine at the museum or at my periodontist’s).

I’ve meant to share a long chunk of a couple of essays published there last year and written by former Uplander Shelby Garrett. He wrote about his family’s arrival in Upland in 1943 from Alabama and about the businesses along Foothill Boulevard back then. They deserve a wider audience. Marilyn said it was fine with her. Take it away, Shelby:

“Dad was able to get us a 3-bedroom, pre-fab home in Parkside, the huge 550-unit project on the SE corner of Campus and Foothill. Big parking lots separated the groups of houses and there were nice grassy areas between the houses. They had basketball courts and every day when Dad came home from work we’d all go play.

“In the ’40s, most people still had ice boxes for refrigeration. The Union Ice Company truck delivered daily to the project. The blocks of 25 to 50 lbs. would be loaded onto a two-wheel pushcart rolling up and down the sidewalks going from house to house delivering various quantities. Tom, the ice man, would let me split the blocks with an ice pick and give me 50 cents for helping him. Boy, was I rich!

“There was a large open field from Eleventh Street down to the San Antonio Hospital on San Bernardino Road, where I used to go rabbit hunting. And quite often Mom would have rabbit to cook for our supper.

“On the NE corner of Foothill and Campus was a little white stuccoed service station with Pegasus, the Flying Red Horse, as its symbol, later to become a Mobil station. Right next door to the east was a little cafe called Pow’s Chow. Mr. Pow was in business there for many years.

“On the NW corner was Gilliland Gardens Nursery, the greenhouses and the small Upland Motel. In 1945 they moved their business to the north side of Foothill at Third Avenue. My parents bought the old nursery and motel, making the nursery house our home and moving the greenhouses over to Third Avenue. Mom later had her office (Garrett/Tyberg Real Estate) in that house.

“On the SW corner of Foothill and Campus was Martinez’ Grocery Store and next to it was Martinez’ Long Bar Restaurant, where you could get an excellent Mexican dinner for about $1.75.”

That wraps up the four corners of Foothill and Campus: Gilliland Gardens, gas station, Parkside and Martinez’. Shelby’s piece concludes here tomorrow with more ’40s-era Foothill businesses.

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  • Monty Seay

    Wow thanks for the information on Campus/Foothill. Martinez’s had the best tacos back in the day. I remember that was the only time we kids could go in the bar, to pick up our tacos.

  • Fred Henderson

    Hi Dave:

    Just a couple of thoughts on your Upland in the ’40s. The drug store next door to Atwoods was Harris Pharmacy. Another drug store further up the street and the other side was Silverthornes.

    One thing I loved about Atwoods was the oak hardwood floors. They made a beautiful creaking noise.

    I was on the crew that opened that Pep Boys in 1996. We found where the old butcher’s area was and remnants of the old refrigeration system in the rafters. Even by today’s standards it was a good-sized store. There was a large area Pep Boys left unused next door to where the old bank was. Sears used that store as an outlet prior to Pep Boys buying it.

    The Upland Inn? Great food.

    Second Ave. below Foothill — remember when all the houses had large candy canes in their front yards at Christmas time?

    Ah, the memories. Thanks, Dave!

    Fred Henderson
    Everett, WA

    [No, thank you, Fred. Glad you chimed in. — DA]

  • Warren


    Again, you have stirred up memories of Upland. I don’t always remember the names of places, but remember a lot once the memory cells are rattled.

    I used to live in the Foothilll Knolls subdivision in the sixties. We moved to Upland in 1957 and then my dad, who worked for Lockheed, was transfered out of state until 1962. My mother used to shop at the Shopping Bag and we did business at the bank in the same shopping center. I also remember “Candy Cane Lane.” During the year sometimes houses went up for sale, but the candy cane was always there.

    Bill’s Ranch Market was at the corner of Foothill and Alta Ave (I guess now it is a DMV office). I used to walk to Bill’s and pick up small things. Bill’s had a little of everything — you could walk in and test a tube for the television (remember those) and then get a placement.

    The gas station across the street was owned by a man who decided he wanted to be a fireman or was a fireman and worked for the Upland Fire Department — there was still “full service.”

    Those were the days when the only thing above 14th Street was barren land. My family attended church off Euclid Ave around 21st street. Nice modern building, but no pews, just metal folding chairs. Memorial Park’s roller skating rink was still around, but I don’t think it was being used too much. I remember taking my dog there for obedience school.

    I drove through Upland in 1997 and could not beleive the changes that had taken place and the grape vineyards that were gone. I was surprised to find that the Cask and Cleaver was still in business. It wasn’t a bad Mexican restaurant and then became a steak place.

    David, thanks for the memories.

    [And thanks for sharing yours all the way from Atlanta, Warren. — DA]

  • Suzie

    Dave, I spent my childhood in the northern reaches of Upland in the ’50s and ’60s. What a great place to grow up. I’ve been trying to find information on Martinez’s Mexican Restaurant that used to be there, so I’m thrilled to find it mentioned. One reader mentioned the great tacos, and that’s my memory of the restaurant. I wonder if anyone has the recipe. If you ever find it, you’ll make a lot of people happy. Thanks for the memories.