Remembering the Upland Inn

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Reader Ric Stevenson wonders if anyone remembers the Upland Inn, a restaurant and boarding house once owned by his aunt and uncle.

“The Inn was built around 1901 and was first used as a boarding house. In the ’60s it became very popular as a fine family dining restaurant. As a kid I spent a lot of fun times there with my cousin and ate some great food,” Stevenson writes.

Bill and Barbara Vallon, his aunt and uncle, owned it in the ’60s. The inn, located on Ninth Street, burned down.

Anyone able to help?

* Below is the original, but charred, sign, now in the garden outside Molly’s Souper at First and D.

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  • Jonnie Owens

    I had forgotten about the Upland Inn, but we used to go for dinner there when I was a child. I remember enjoying eating there.

  • Judy

    I remember when it burned down or that it had burned down at some point. The building that replaced it is a prime example of poor urban planning. Architecturally, it has no business being there. Eclectic mixes of old and modern can work in the right application, but this is just not right. Am I crazy?

    [Which building replaced it? -- DA]

  • Tad Decker

    Yes, Ric, I remember eating at the Upland Inn (located just west of JJ Atwoods department store) as a child in the 1970s. We used to go there every now and then after church on Sunday afternoons.

    It seemed to be a “fancy” place, with dark wallpaper and linen napkins — which triggers another memory…

    On one visit, a waitress was folding napkins at a nearby table, when one got away from her. Amazingly, it landed square on my father’s head, looking like a tri-cornered hat. Quite embarrassed, she quickly removed it and ducked away, but we got to hear her hysterically relating the story to her coworkers behind the partition.

    It was sad when the place burned to the ground, to be replaced by a modern office building.

  • Judy

    I believe it is the modern (or it was at the time) building in the old downtown on the north side of Ninth Street west of the furniture store (which is in the newest building and designed to match the existing architecture). It is across from the bakery/bike shop.

    [OK, I know that building. Everyone's right, it doesn't fit. -- DA]

  • Derek Christensen

    As a small child in the 1960s and early 1970s, my mother brought me there occasionally, when she was downtown shopping. I would have a 7Up Float (7UP soda and vanilla ice cream) at the counter.

    Some years later before it burned down, I recall seeing that the “Toastmasters” met there for their regular meetings. As I recall, there was a room area at the far eastern end that was used for such meetings.

  • Pat Flinn

    Actually, I remember several personal things about the Upland Inn aside from eating there and loving that wonderful old building and ambiance lo those many years ago.

    In 1965 my husband and I bought from Bill and Barbara Vallon an old battered and worn Craftsman house on West 9th Street. They had used the house as a rental. At that time the Vallons owned the Upland Inn.

    I do not remember the year the Inn burned, but I do remember that my husband, who worked swing shift, was returning home from work in Azusa one night (early a.m.) and thought he saw a red glow coming from inside the Inn. He drove there to investigate. He verified that there was, indeed, a fire in the kitchen area and immediately drove to the fire station two blocks away — it was on D Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues and the Inn was at the corner of 9th Street at 1st Avenue — to report the fire. For some reason the fire truck did not immediately leave the fire station. In a few minutes it was on its way and was too late to save the building from the fire.

    I believe when the replacement brick and windowed building was built, the Planning Commission had forgotten that Upland was the City of Gracious Living and deserving of a more suitably designed building in its little downtown. Good gracious, what a sad use of the site.

    [Pat, thanks for all the info, as well as the (good gracious) commentary. -- DA]

  • Ron Hodgman

    I have no memory of the “Upland Inn” but I saw the “Upland Inn” sign at “Molly’s Souper” in Upland CA yesterday. It appears that the sign survived the fire that destroyed the building. I note in the photo of the “Upland Inn” that the sign was not attached to the building as it was placed in front of the building mounted on a pole.

    [I've been to Molly's but have never noticed the sign. Good detective work, Ron. -- DA]

  • Max van Balgooy

    Everyone seems to have identified the right location for the Upland Inn (NE corner of 9th and 1st), that it burned down (I believe it was the late 1970s), and it was replaced by the current unremarkable brick and black glass office building (although I vaguely recall that the City was very happy that such a large and modern building was under construction in its then-moribund downtown).

    I believe the Upland Inn was constructed around 1920 (perhaps even earlier), but started out as the Algonquin Inn. It was probably the only hotel in Upland until after WWII (Ontario had several downtown).

    As I remember it in the 1970s as a teenager, it had a restaurant on the first floor and the hotel rooms had become apartments — and it had become a bit worn and ragged. Nevertheless, it was an historic and picturesque addition to downtown Upland, and like many buildings was lost to fire. Glad Molly’s has the sign (and was surprised to see it there when I last visited!).

    [Max! Nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the info. -- DA]

  • Michelle Hart

    I lived next door to the Vallons in the 60′s and 70′s and I have many fond memories of the Upland Inn. We used to run in and out of the kitchen and get chased out by the cooks. Played with Mary and Chipper. Lots of fond memories until the later years.

  • Roger Snyder

    I have fond memories of eating at the Upland Inn when I lived in Fontana (1968-1973). My wife and I plan to visit the area next spring. We are saddened to learn of the fire as we had hoped to eat at the inn again.

    [You can see the Upland Inn sign outside Molly's Souper at 1st Avenue and D Street, which is the best substitute I can offer. -- DA]

  • Donald Huey

    I grew up in Upland. My parents owned a home on North San Antonio Ave. in the 60′s and 70′s. We ate at the Upland Inn many times and enjoyed the family style cuisine and service. My sister, JoAnn, was friends with Michael Vallon, the owner’s son, I believe.

  • Scott Baker

    We used to drive out from Riverside in the early 70′s when I was in College to have dinner at the Upland Inn and then watch the Santa Fe Super Chief blast through Upland. I remember that every meal came with that huge Tureen of Soup and a Salad.

    Also seem to recall that the menu claimed that it was the site of a stagecoach stop.