Bye bye, Bakers Square

I was in La Verne at Foothill Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue when I noticed the old Bakers Square fenced off. A later check from the parking lot side showed the property was getting more than a new roof or makeover.

“Yes, the building will be demolished soon with a new Taco Bell building replacing it,” Eric Scherer, the city’s community development director, told me.

After googling, I was reminded that my colleague Liset Marquez wrote in January about approval of a drive-thru restaurant there, but the tenant wasn’t named by the would-be developer at the time. So that it’s Taco Bell is still news of sorts.

Fascinating side note from that article: That rather sad shopping center — whose anchors are Dollar Tree, CVS and Crunch Fitness — is carved up among 13 owners. No wonder it’s “falling apart,” as one councilman put it.

Bakers Square — remember them? — closed at the end of 2008 and reopened at the start of 2009 as Garden Square. It wasn’t that great and closed the following year. The building has sat empty ever since.

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Stu-Han stairs, ULV

While in the University of La Verne’s storage facility last week to see the salvaged pew from the Interfaith Chapel, I eyeballed this stair to nowhere. It was taken from a former residence hall, Studebaker-Hanawalt, popularly known as Stu-Han, built in 1957 and demolished in 2018.

Anne Collier, the university’s curator, told me the philosophy of historical salvage: “If progress has to happen, save an iconic element.” Especially one that can be seen in period photographs, she said, because it’s no longer just an object: “people connect.”

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Column: Spirited effort salvaged items from ULV’s 1960s chapel

Photo by Anne Collier

I wrote in May 2018 about the Little Chapel at University of La Verne, which was due to be torn down this summer. And that happened on schedule, only no one told me. But eventually I noticed, and a bit later someone approached us to let us know the positive part of the demolition, which was how much of the chapel was preserved. I tell that story in Sunday’s column. Above, an unnamed columnist and the pew that ULV kept.

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Column: Shirley La Verne appreciates this joke

A banner next to a La Verne entry monument features Penny Marshall in her sweater as TV character…must I tell you? That item leads off Friday’s column, trailed by the closing of a Starbucks, an event Saturday in Pomona about the long-missing time capsule at which yours truly will be among the presenters, a few words about the “sea of slobs” surrounding Claremont and more.

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Art Habit

I notice and yet don’t notice (you know how it is) this art piece outside The Habit in La Verne. On a recent visit, I noticed and took photos. It’s titled “The Angle of Repose,” was installed in 2008 and was by artist Stephen Elicker. Click on the photo below for a more readable view of the plaque. It seems to be two abstract animals — cats? seals? — tossing a ball back and forth. But that’s just what I see.

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For young pilots

This coin-operated biplane sits in the Brackett Field Administration Building in La Verne, right below the entrance to Norm’s Hangar restaurant. It points toward the airfield, and freedom. Someone left a small bottle of water on the top wing, which may count as beverage service.

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In-N-Out in La Verne to reopen Friday

You may have read that the In-N-Out in La Verne has closed briefly for renovation. My colleague Liset Marquez had that story last month.

I was driving by on Foothill Boulevard Feb. 24 and was greeted by the unusual sight of the restaurant fully wrapped, as if it were being fumigated, or as if Christo had turned it into an art installation. On my way back, I pulled into the lot to take a few photos just for the novelty of it.

“We will be open normal hours on Friday, March 15,” the sign below promises.

This In-N-Out opened in 1977 but is considered Store No. 3 as the chain moved its third store there from Pomona, where it opened circa 1952 (records are scarce). In-N-Out had attempted to open a restaurant in La Verne in 1975 but was, rather astonishingly, turned down, a story told in my column in 2018.

Oh, and Gustavo Arellano caused a stir last November with an essay in which he declared In-N-Out’s burgers “so-so.” Read his take here. Personally, I like one now and then, but as a transplant to California, I’ve always been of the opinion that you had to have grown up eating In-N-Out to love it.

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