A woman in La Verne made a point of sending me a birthday card and phoning me for a long chat several years running. She was nice. She died recently, and I wrote a column about her.
The La Verne Public Library doors were mentioned in Friday’s column about the new council chamber emblem. They were both done by woodworker Ruben Guajardo. I was told about the library work last November while doing interviews at City Hall and took the opportunity to walk across the parking lot to take a look.
Check out those doors! They were made, I’m told, out of a beloved oak tree that stood in front of La Verne Heights Elementary School and that had died. Even the door handles are unique.
The library was dedicated in 1985, according to a plaque. It’s a county library branch, but thanks to the doors, it’s got some personality. The rest of the interior is very 1980s. But the lobby offers a striking silhouette of the doors.
Following up on the exciting developments on the La Verne council chamber emblem front, I write about the new art piece in Friday’s column. It’s a cute story about the piece, which is an update of the confusing city seal, and about the publicity-shy artist behind it.
Sunday’s column is about the sun-over-the-mountains backdrop in the La Verne Council Chamber, which is coming down after some 30 years. The story of how it got there is a little confusing, but kind of funny.
Friday’s column begins with an account of Monday’s La Verne council meeting, followed by a half-dozen Ontario items and a Valley Vignette from Chino.
Sunday’s column begins with the story of the new downtown La Verne parking structure, which may solve the problem of parking but may not solve the problem of walking. Following that: two Culture Corner items and a follow-up about recent column subject Chet Jaeger.
La Paloma, possibly La Verne’s oldest restaurant, opened in 1966 and is turning 50. I tell its story in my Wednesday column.
Wilson’s on the La Verne border was first a sandwich shop, opening in 1930, and later a broiler, or steakhouse. It closed in 1962 and four years later the renovated building opened as La Paloma, which is still in business 50 years later.
The accompanying, undated images are courtesy of the La Verne Planning Department. The one above seems to be the earliest. Click on it for a larger view. The sign at the far right reads “Pure Orange Juice” and the fruit stand appears to be to the left. I really want to go back in time, travel narrow Route 66, pull over at Wilson’s for a sandwich and pie, and check out the orchard behind.
Below, a Wilson’s Broiler image and, at bottom, a Sandwich Shop postcard that shows patio dining.
“Unisfera Flushing” by Flapane via Wikipedia
I’ve long been curious about the Unisphere-like metal globe at the La Verne Business Park on Fairplex Drive south of Arrow Highway (see top photo). Reminiscent of the Unisphere from the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York (see above), it’s such a striking feature for a small industrial park across the street from the NHRA speedway at Fairplex.
Finally I stopped to take photos. The stainless steel globe once had a fountain around it (see below), just as does the original, but ours has gone dry. (The original Unisphere is still in place, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and has been restored. It’s 12 stories high!)
Public art was a requirement of the industrial park’s development, according to the city planning department’s Eric Scherer. “Ironwork Globe,” as it’s titled, was designed by Penwal Industries of Rancho Cucamonga, manufactured overseas, shipped in parts (see photos below) and installed in 2005. At the time, owner and developer Tofasco Inc. was said to be the worldwide leader in sales of camping and fold-able chairs. (Its website has a silhouette of the globe.)
The globe is 20 feet in diameter, much smaller than the New York version’s 120 feet but still impressive.
From the La Verne public art brochure:
“‘Ironwork Globe’ is an elevated steel sculpture placed at the center of a water fountain meant to accompany Tofasco, Inc. and represent their defining characteristics: passion for the business in which they are involved and their ability to effectively and efficiently bridge the divide between an increasingly international marketplace.”
Penwal, according to Scherer’s research in city files, drew sketches of other concepts, “including an oversized folding chair which would open and close as it rotated.” Wow! He adds: “If we had approved that, I have a feeling you would have already written a column about it…”
Sunday’s column begins with news that could be considered ironic: A mom and pop eatery in La Verne for 20 years, Frisella’s Roastery, is closing because a Wal-Mart isn’t going in, at least not soon. There were hopes a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market would help revive an ailing shopping center with no anchor tenant, but with a lawsuit putting the market on ice, Frisella’s decided not to renew its lease.
Also, I’ve got Culture Corner items, more La Verne items and dialogue from an episode of CBS’ “Scorpion” about Pomona.
Above, manager Henry Durazo slices some of the restaurant’s signature tri-tip.