Ray Ford gas station, Cucamonga


The Ford family operated a service station on the southeast corner of Foothill Boulevard and Archibald Avenue for decades. Copies of these two wonderful photos were recently given to Nancy’s Cafe owner Nancy Westenhaver by a Ford descendant for display in her restaurant, and she loaned them to me for use here. Both are thumbnails; click on them for a larger view.

On this blog we’ve been working our way around that intersection, once known as downtown Cucamonga. Previously we’ve run vintage photos of the former Bank of America on the northeast corner and of the northwest and northeast corners, with a contemporary photo of The Deli on the southwest corner as well.

According to family lore, the young boy in the top picture is Bob Ford, Ray’s son. As Bob was born in 1918, the photo must date to the early 1920s.

Ray built a gleaming modern station on the same corner in the 1930s, seen below. I love the Streamline Moderne tower. After World War II, Bob ran the station until 1963, when the property was sold to Bank of America, which built a new bank and moved across the street from its old digs.

The bank is there yet. Ford’s filling station is but a fond memory for a lot of Cucamongans.

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Column: At least one Metrolink fare isn’t rising

Friday’s column brings the welcome news that Metrolink’s amazing weekend pass deal is still in force despite fare increases. You can also read about a band made up of Rancho Cucamonga city employees. Also, various cultural offerings and a Claremont police blotter item.

No Restaurant of the Week today…I’ve been on vacation since Tuesday after writing columns in advance. Back at it next week. If you want to see what I’m up to, I’ve been tweeting photos at @DavidAllen909.

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Clinic with a side of fries

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Seen on Mountain Avenue in Ontario, a health clinic has a burger stand as its neighbor. That certainly cuts down on the travel time for all concerned. Wonder how many clinic employees go next door on their lunch break for charbroiled beef?

By the way, you wouldn’t believe how many visits it took me (five, I think) to find a time when the light hit the north-facing building properly, an angle where the light pole wasn’t in the way and a moment when people weren’t standing outside making me self-conscious.

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Ray Bradbury in Pomona

Ray Bradbury, author of “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Martian Chronicles” and so much more, died Tuesday at age 91. One of his last public appearances was in October 2010 at Pomona’s Western University in conjunction with the Big Read of “Fahrenheit.” Video excerpts of that talk are online. It’s on the medical school’s website.

Slowed by a stroke and other health problems, Bradbury doesn’t look or sound good, but his mind is still there. One timely, and timeless, quote: “I believe in libraries. They’re more important than universities, they’re more important than colleges. Libraries are the center of our lives.”

Claremont Graduate University has also posted videos to Bradbury interviews in its archives. There are 11 in all, done for Santa Barbara TV and dating back to 1985, and maybe earlier, showing a more vigorous man (one who, in the 1985 chat at least, favors tennis wear to book interview shows!).

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Hoyt Lumber and its wooden greeters

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Hoyt Lumber in Upland closed last weekend after it and its predecessor, Rugg Lumber, had been in business at that location since 1929. My colleague Sandra Emerson recently wrote about Hoyt’s closure.

I was curious about the two wooden figures on the facade. The story behind those can be found in my Wednesday column. Above is the overall view; at immediate right is the figure to the right of the sign, who’s holding a hand saw; at far right is the figure to the left of the sign, who carries an electric saw. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

And feel free to leave comments about the business or the figures.

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Reading log: May 2012

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Books acquired: None (thank goodness)

Books read: “Robert Fawcett, the Illustrator’s Illustrator,” Manuel Auad, ed.; “Grand Master of Fantasy: The Paintings of J. Allen St. John,” Stephen Korshak; “Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau,” Brian Walker; “His Last Bow,” A. Conan Doyle; “Fear of Music,” Jonathan Lethem; “Paul’s Boutique,” Dan LeRoy; “The Devil’s Advocate, an Ambrose Bierce Reader,” Brian St. Pierre, ed.; “Press Boners,” Earle Tempel; “Bugf#ck: The Useless Wit and Wisdom of Harlan Ellison,” Arnie Fenner, ed.; “Barrel Fever,” David Sedaris.

May was a big month of good old-fashioned random reading for yours truly: 10 books, no theme, just clearing away a variety of unread tomes.

To summarize, in the order above: two books about prominent 20th century magazine illustrators; one book about a prominent 20th and 21st century cartoonist; the eighth (of nine) Sherlock Holmes mysteries; two books in the 33 1/3 series about record albums, one on the Talking Heads, the other on the Beastie Boys; a best-of for a contemporary of Mark Twain; a 1967 collection of newspaper errors; a pocket-sized book of quotations by a writer I like; and a popular humorist’s first book.

No point in summarizing my thoughts on so many books, but the “Doonesbury” book is worthwhile for fans, the Holmes and newspaper books were my favorites, and the Bierce, Sedaris and Ellison books my least favorites, although each had its moments. The newspaper and Beastie Boys books may become the subjects of columns.

About half of the books are recent purchases (the “Doonesbury” came from Borders’ closeout sale), “Press Boners” was bought at Book Baron’s closeout a few years ago, the Sedaris was a birthday gift eight years ago (ulp) and the Bierce was a gift in 1988 (double-ulp). But I get to everything eventually.

These 10 (!) books put me at 42 for the year, for anyone keeping track (hi, Hugh).

Enough and me and my books. What about you and your books?

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It’s RIP for Arby’s in Pomona

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The Arby’s at 2250 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona, a location that dates to 1970 and was never updated, closed May 26. Sunday’s column begins with an item on the restaurant.

There were said to be under 10 locations in the United States that had retained the hat sign and the chuckwagon shape. I’m not a big fast food fan or Arby’s fan, but my friends and I loved the building, the sign and the patio. So let’s pay a visual tribute.

Above is the building in 2010. Below is the sign being (say it ain’t so!) dismantled and hauled away on Tuesday, shot by reader David Pinal.


I stopped by on Thursday morning to confirm the location was closed for good rather than for remodeling. Signs in the windows direct patrons to Arby’s in Ontario, Chino Hills, Upland and Covina. The interior is cleaned out.

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There was still one shaded table and one waste receptacle (complete with “tray caddy”) left on the patio. Both look original. I’m assuming they’re gone by now. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

Without a neon sign in the shape of a ten-gallon hat, Garey Avenue is a little less interesting.

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Restaurant of the Week: Lazy Dog Cafe

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Lazy Dog Cafe, 11560 4th St. (across from Ontario Mills), Rancho Cucamonga

Lazy Dog, which opened in May in the sort of restaurant row along 4th Street near Ontario Mills, is off to a good start. Five of us went in for lunch earlier this week and the place was busy, most seats filled and servers efficiently going about their work.

The 10th location in the SoCal-based chain, Rancho Cucamonga’s is open until midnight every night — imagine! — and dogs are allowed on the expansive outdoor patio, where servers will bring them a bowl of water. (According to the website: “Doggie ‘accidents’ must be cleaned up and sanitized immediately by employees.”)

Inside, there’s a rustic look, the open ceiling a latticework of beams, lots of natural light pouring in. The website says the ambience is meant to evoke a hunting lodge in Wyoming and its lazy, friendly feeling. Uh-huh. With loud rock and pop playing (Steve Miller Band, ELO) and servers trying to upsell you, “lazy” isn’t really the feeling evoked here.

So even if the story behind the restaurant is the usual BS, the food is pretty good. We all liked what we had: a handformed turkey burger ($9.25) on whole wheat with a side a chilled brocollini; a lavash veggie wrap (price forgotten; pictured below) with a cucumber salad on the side, the wrap served in an accordion stand useful to hold it together between bites (“It’s genius,” the diner marveled); fish and chips with slaw ($10); and a half-sandwich (walnut chicken salad) with fries and a full salad.

“They’re not lazy with the portions,” said the diner who ordered the latter. “All this for, like, $7.95?”

The menu also has pizzas, pastas, steaks, seafood and wok-fired dishes, with lunch specials $10 and under.

Two friends dined there the previous day, one getting an ahi tuna burger with Asian slaw and wasabi dressing ($10), the other, a discriminating diner, ordering a pesto chicken and hummus salad ($8.25) and ending up satisfied despite the iceberg lettuce. They also had the sangria sampler and the beer sampler and noted the enticing selection of martinis ($6) and craft beers ($5).

Service was friendly, although the mid-meal effort to tempt us with dessert seemed like trying too hard, and like rushing us through a meal in non-lazy fashion.

Overall, though, not bad for corporate dining. And it’s a really beautiful building.

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