Column: Winner of church car raffle feels driven to volunteer

Sometimes one column leads to another. In July I wrote about the efforts at St. George Catholic Church in Ontario to raise money to repair the roof of its 1923 building, the next major part of which was a car raffle. The woman who won the raffle proved to be a good story in herself, a very active volunteer at the church who is of modest means and who bought a single $5 ticket. Corrina Garcia is the subject of my Friday column.

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Our stack

Transitioning from the 15 south to the 10 west recently, I was stuck for a spell due to traffic. That provided an opportunity to admire the web of overhead lanes and ramps. The view is to the southwest. Does this interchange have a name, or nickname? There’s a sort of beauty about it, just as there is for the 10/57.

I’m reminded of a Road Runner/Coyote cartoon in which they chase each other around a similar stack of freeway, unoccupied because it hasn’t yet opened, each ending up on a different elevation, repeatedly.

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Centennial Park, Ontario

Driving along Riverside Drive to Chino a few months ago, this sign caught my eye, and the next time I passed, I made a point of stopping to photograph it. Centennial Park opened in 1983 but was dedicated the previous year in unfinished form to mark the reason for the name: the 100th anniversary of Ontario’s 1882 founding. Me, I just like how retro the sign is. It reminds me of the La Verne Council Chamber emblem from the same era that was replaced in January.

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A new skillet

The skillet sign in front of Ontario’s Iron Skillet (805 N. Euclid) was looking pretty worn when I shot the photo below in spring 2016 for my Restaurant of the Week post. More recently, some piece broke, I think the top beam, causing the sign to droop, and the wood of the sign split. It was sad looking. It might have been the original sign from 1980.

But on my most recent visit over the weekend, there was a new sign. It’s virtually the same design, but brand new, and sturdier-looking. The owner told me it’s been up two or three months. It certainly presents a better appearance to motorists and reflects the resurgence of the restaurant itself.

If you like Americana-type places, Iron Skillet is doing a good job of it under its current ownership, and business seems to be on a steady upswing — just like the sign.

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Paul R. Williams, architect

The pioneering African-American architect Paul R. Williams (1894-1980), responsible for some 2,000 private homes in Southern California and such landmarks as Los Angeles International Airport, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Los Angeles County Courthouse, was posthumously awarded a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects in April.

Williams designed two Ontario structures, both still standing: the Robert Norman Williams home, 205 E. 6th St., above, in 1948, and the former Post Office, 125 W. Transit St., below, in 1926. The latter is now used for artist lofts and an art gallery that bears his name. Click on the links above for more on each from the late architect’s website. The home sounds particularly interesting with glass walls offering views of “multiple gardens” and custom Maloof furniture.

For the record, the web page for the 6th Street home mentions a third Ontario commission from 1935, the Alfred E. Thomas residence, with no further explanation. The city planning department and the library’s researcher looked into this for me and can’t find any reference to the home or to Thomas. Perhaps the citation for Ontario was in error. Until we hear otherwise, we’ll assume only the two structures were ever built.

Update: After my inquiry to the Williams Project website, I got this reply from its director: “The Thomas house citation is in Ontario, Canada. We will delete that reference.”

So: There are two Paul R. Williams structures in Ontario — and both are still with us. Who says Ontario doesn’t have any history?

Read about Williams on Wikipedia, his website or the AIA announcement.

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