Midway Building Materials got its name due to its location midway between Ontario and Pomona, although as the years passed the location on Holt Boulevard at Ramona Avenue was absorbed into Montclair. Ric Pearson opened Midway in 1952 and closed it in 1998. A Jack in the Box
, SavOn and Albertsons and CVS are there now.
The business was probably known for its products among the contractor set, but most of us knew it solely from its neon sign, in which a bricklayer endlessly moved his trowel and the stack of bricks grew. The sign, created by Ontario Neon, was donated to L.A.’s Museum of Neon Art in 2002, thanks to the urging of the city of Montclair.
The sign is currently in storage, as the museum is planning a move to Glendale, but two years ago it was briefly back in the 909. The sign was part of a neon display at the L.A. County Fair’s Millard Sheets Center for the Arts in 2010, where I shot these two photos, the trowel in a different place and the stack of bricks different in each, and then promptly forgot about them.
I was surprised to learn recently that I’d never posted about the sign or the business. Let me rectify that now. Posterity demands it. And my admiration to the bricklayer, who’s been stooped over for 60 years — but still manages a smile.