Last gasp for Upland packing house

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An old citrus packing house on East 19th Street in Upland just west of Campus Avenue is coming down, as detailed in my Wednesday column. Demolition is of added interest due to a faded Sunkist logo being exposed when one wall came down.

I took photos from the sidewalk and from the construction driveway, from which the above was shot, facing west. Venturing into the construction zone seemed like a poor idea and there was no one nearby to ask permission from.

For a different angle and a wider view, I drove east to the Highland Garden Center, where an employee kindly let me shoot from the fence at the west end of their property. The angle didn’t reveal anything very interesting, alas.

Next I stopped at nearby Fire Station 164 on Campus, hoping its height would provide a better overall view of the site.

The fire crew generously said I could shoot from their roof. Getting to the roof involved climbing a ladder, which I’m afraid was out of the question. After about four rungs on a ladder, my legs stop working. I handed my camera to firefighter Dennis Weaver to take photos himself on my behalf. The one below is by Weaver. It wasn’t quite the elevated view of the property for which I’d hoped — the roof isn’t that high — but it wasn’t bad.

“We could put you on the 110-foot aerial for an even higher view,” Weaver offered. “You’d be strapped in so there’s no danger. The ladder does sway a little in the wind.”

He added: “We’d have to take pictures of you, of course.”

Readers would insist on it, as would I. But I declined politely. I don’t even go on rides at the Fair, much less at fire stations.

* Update: This website, found by reader Don J., chronicles some of Upland’s packing houses. The text is disorganized and there’s no info about the 19th Street one that I could see (except for a 1980 photo that I believe is of the same building, the Upland Citrus Assn.), but the photos are neat.

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