East Holt Avenue, Pomona, 1955

34279-pomonahigh55.jpg

Here’s a view in 1955 of the north side of East Holt Avenue in Pomona, between Caswell and San Antonio avenues, photographed from the old Pomona High School. Can anyone identify the businesses visible across the street?

The one at the left, and maybe the one in the middle, might be auto mechanics. The one at the upper right might be Seapy’s, a popular restaurant. But you’re the experts.

Alas, the whole area depicted is today a vacant lot. (Sigh.) And the old Pomona High, which was gutted in a fire the next year, is now a shopping center with a 99 Cents Only store.

Thanks to Allan Lagumbay of the Pomona Public Library for finding the photo in the 1955 Pomona High yearbook.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • Jerry

    There was a western-themed cafe called Seapy’s or Seepy’s on the northwest corner of Holt and San Antonio. It was all wagon wheels, cowhide and faux kerosene lamps, as I recall. They had a great neon sign with a pig in a chef’s hat. I guess they did barbecue. It was one of my father’s favorite places and we went there a lot after my mother passed away. I had chicken fried steak there for the first time ever.

    [More on Seapy's later this week. Stay tuned... DA]

  • Bob House

    Your call on Seapy’s looks right considering this list of old restaurant addresses on the 1963 Ganesha alumni site:

    http://www.ganeshahighschool.com/vbportals/ganesha/showthread.php?t=1201

    [The 1963 listing: Seapy's Barbeque......................675 E. Holt Ave., Pomona. -- DA]

  • Ren

    The other one kind looks like a U-Haul place and I was trying to see if the gas station was a Richfield or maybe 76 Union Gas Station. Also I was hoping that the picture would show the underground walkway that was right about there, maybe little bit more to the west, which would take you to the north side of Holt.

    [I was looking for that fabled walkway myself but didn't see it either. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    Hi David,

    I lived on Caswell Street in 1956, and our favorite place to eat when we had our once-a-year date (since we could only afford a babysitter that often) was Seapys. I do not remember it at all like your first commenter describes it, so I am going to be shocked if he is right. I think it was a nice building a little further to the east, and it was basically a steak house. I don’t remember all that Bar-B-Que vibe, etc.

    The years following that time-era have certainly not been kind to Pomona. Newcomers might be shocked to hear that it was a beautiful city with a beautiful and vibrant downtown. Before children came, our big Friday night was at the Fox theater; we paid extra for the luxury seats in the back loge, where my husband could smoke (things have changed for the better there).

    Holt Avenue was the main, nice thoroughfare with many businesses and restaurants. I came from WY and had never eaten a taco or piece of pizza in my life. The Towne House drive-in restaurant on Holt introduced me to tacos, and they were so juicy and delicious — probably about 20 cents. Oh, the memories. Now, I want to cry.

    [There, there. -- DA]

    • mason1611 .

      I know how you feel shirley I often think of all the old places of pomona north and south I could write a book lol .I lived in both areas 1955 – 1980 I didn’t live far from the old school 909e columbia Ha still remember the address We kids would often explore the ruins until the Hughs market was built the tunnel was there at the corners of the ford building and Seapys had a Toy tresure chest you could pick from after your meal

  • RB

    Hi David,

    I dont recall what the building in the center was in 1955, but in the late ’40s it was the location of Mannys Hot Dogs. What appears to be a wall in front of the building is the stairway leading to the underpass crossing under Holt. The other end can be seen in the lower right corner of the photo in front of the high school. The stairways were perpendicular to Holt on the high school side and parallel on the north side.

    [Thanks for clearing that up, RB. -- DA]

  • Linda Frost

    I also remember Seapy’s as a steak house. I went to Girl Scout camp with their daughter. My cousin graduated from Pomona High the year it burned down. School was out early that year, and graduation was held at the Greek Theater in Ganesha Park.

    It is too bad things have deteriorated so much. Downtown Pomona was a great place to shop; the city was quite beautiful. If memory serves me right, that was about the time that the shopping mall with Sears opened at Indian Hill and Holt. That sounded the death knell for downtown shopping.

    Tacos were always on the menu when relatives came from Montana, because no one up there had even heard of one. When I was at the University of Wyoming, Laramie had recently opened two restaurants Jacques of Laramie (French), complete with waiters who practiced their college French, and a Mexican restaurant, the latter being exotic by Laramie standards.

    Obviously, the snow on the mountains gives away the season Rose parade weather. Three cheers for the Buick in the picture.

  • http://crazymommykaty.blogspot.com/ Katy

    Too cool. I recently found pics from my hometown in 1955.

  • Ramona

    Ah, sweet memories. I graduated from PHS in 1957, the year after the fire destroyed the main building. Our class was said to have graduated from “Charcoal Tech.”

    When school started again in September, we seniors began classes at 7 AM and attended until noon or so having only 5 class periods. This gave us the afternoons for jobs. And we could actually find work.

    The sophs and juniors started later on in the day with the sophs starting last. This rotation was necessary because classes were held in portables on the school grounds and there weren’t enough rooms for everyone to attend class at once.

    Look closely at the photo again and you will see young men wearing pants that actually fit and a young woman in a skirt!! No trousers allowed for women in those days.

    [Thanks for the explanation of post-fire Pomona High, Ramona. -- DA]

  • Fred Henderson

    Hi Dave:

    Just a couple of thoughts on the pic of the old Pomona High. If memory serves me, the tunnel was a few feet further west, coming out if the area of the Ebell Club.

    The high school end of it was just about center of the main entrance.

    The gas station interests me. In my opinion, it looks like an old Flying A station. I say that because my old neighbor, Andy Anderson, owned one on east Holt, near the high school. We lived on Roosevelt at the time.

    I had not thought of Seapy’s in decades. Don’t remember ever eating there as a kid. But it did bring to mind Speedy Lunch wagons, which were further east.

    Ah, the memories and great times growing up in Pomona. Thanks, Dave.

    Fred Henderson
    Everett, WA

    [You're welcome, Fred. -- DA]

  • Steve Mock

    Is this the area where Garfield Park is now?

    I grew up in Pomona in the 1970′s and 80′s as my mom attended the old Pomona High school at this location in the early 1940′s. She had many fond memories of Pomona and loved its old nostalgia, especially the 2nd street mall and would tell us stories about Buffums and of course the Fox Theatre. I actually have some great memories too of the auditorium across the street from the Fox theatre — in the 1980′s it was called the PVA, and there were a lot of cool bands that weren’t really big time yet but played there all the time, and they would have local battle of the bands every Friday about 1984 through ’88 if memory serves me right.

    That’s very interesting about the underground tunnel at this location, I can’t even picture anything like that even being there — but here again it’s hard for me to imagine the old Pomona High School in this location as well, as growing up it was always Hughes Market and H. Salt Fish and Chips!

    It’s funny about what RB said about Sears, because even my Mom loved the old Sears and Newberrys shopping center on indian hill & holt, and we thought at the time that Sears moving out of there and going to the Montclair Plaza was ‘the death knell’ for that shopping center — and boy were we right. Especially after Zodys left.

    There sure was a big difference from the late 1960′s to 1980′s in that area, and even now it’s hard to imagine the stuff that was there in the 1980′s. I’m glad the 2nd street mall is getting a ‘new lease on life’, I was down there last year and it’s great to see stuff happening there again.

    Lots of memories!

    [Garfield Park is a little further down on Holt. What's across from the old Pomona High now is a big empty lot. Thanks for sharing your memories, Steve. Someday I'll have to write about the PVA. -- DA]

  • Steve Mock

    Ahh yes, please do write about the PVA. I’d love to hear other memories about it.

  • Mike Andritch

    I grew up in Pomona and I remember the day PHS burned down…we watched it from under the huge tree in front of the Ebell Club. I think the area in the picture was leveled to make way for the new Norman Ford Sales (formerly G.E. McKay Ford) dealership when it relocated from downtown around 1963. I also remember a gas station on the NW corner of E. Holt at San Antonio….it was “Russ Morgan’s Texaco.”
    Thanks for posting the photo….lots of good memories of Pomona in the 50′s & 60′s.

  • Robert

    Anybody remember Hillbilly Burger somewhere on Holt Ave?

    [Was that in the barn-like building that became Red Hill Pizza? That was torn down for a (sigh) Walgreens? -- DA]

  • Karen

    My uncle owned Seapy’s but sadly I did not eat there much. Wish I had some photos but who would have ever thought all these Pomona sites would be historic! I STILL love Pomona — MY hometown!!

  • Craig E. Hellman

    Russ Morgan’s Texaco station my DAD sold him Blue Chip stamps!!! Pomona was a great city to live and work back in the day.

  • Steve Mock

    David, not sure if you have come across anything like this as of yet, but here is some video footage of the fire of PHS in ’56. It’s interesting and possibly very rare:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G23xRwrZEc

  • Dick

    I worked at Russ Morgan Texaco, just a little out of frame of the picture. It was right next to Seapy’s and the guys from the station used to go there regularly for lunch. I was in the last freshman class to graduate from the old Pomona High portables and the first junior class in the new school. While nice and new I wish I’d had a chance to see the inside of the old one. Great place to grow up before most of it turned into a ghetto/slum. How sad.

  • Mike

    Dad worked at “G.E. McKay Ford” since before the war when it was on Third and Gibbs. Later he worked for “Norman Ford” and after that “Fair City Ford” until he retired in 1978.

    We lived in Hawthorne at the time and he drove the 84 mile round trip 6 days a week. On Saturdays we came with him because my grandmother lived on west 8th Street in Pomona. I remember the stores on 2nd Street before it was the “Mall”. We moved to Pomona in 1963 and I graduated from Garey High in ’68.

    I live in Northern California now but I will always remember Pomona.