Sunday’s column begins with an update on Pomona’s Magic Door Books, which is still open even though the plan was to close at the end of 2017. Then I sock you with some Culture Corner items and more, ending with a Valley Vignette.
Remember the story of the neon dragon from outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre that was being restored in Pomona? Well, as the photo above shows, it’s done. I got a peek during a private event Sunday and write about it for Wednesday’s column.
A reader phoned to tell me the home at Lincoln and Washington streets in Pomona had “a cool lighting display that you can see from several blocks away.” A visit one night last week showed what he meant: Lights are strung up and down a tall tree in the yard. (Side note: What could be more American than living at the corner of Lincoln and Washington?)
It’s a notable home, directly across from Kingsley Elementary School and in the 1950s occupied by the Provost family, whose young son, Jon, was a star of the “Lassie” TV show. The home was bought this year by Ray Adamyk, head of the Spectra Co., which is restoring the YMCA building. In other words, he’s a man who knows where to get a crane.
Wrapping up my Inland Valley City Council Tour of 2017, I sat in on a Pomona council meeting Monday night. Not a lot happened, but those sometimes make for the best columns. Hear how it went in Sunday’s column.
Angie Campos, who’s been working at Tony’s Famous French Dips in Pomona since 1971, is still on the job at 80. I profile her in Wednesday’s column.
I knew about Cal Poly Pomona’s WWII history, as do readers of “Pomona A to Z,” but I didn’t know that some rescued horses from Poland ended up there. Not until a talk earlier this month by writer Elizabeth Letts, that is. I tell the story in Friday’s column.
Ah, Pomona, city of wonders. In a warehouse of the Museum of Neon Art, a neon dragon sign that used to perch above the marquee of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is being restored. I visit to watch two craftsmen at work and hear about the project, for Wednesday’s column.
The old Pomona YMCA was part of the Home Tour Nov. 5, and I was there. Here are a few photos. The one above was shot a few days before from inside the American Museum of Ceramic Art, directly across from the Y. Handsome building, isn’t it?
The Y was bought for $2.65 million by the Spectra Co., a Pomona-based builder that specializes in historic preservation, and which plans to give the 1922 building a badly needed renovation before using it as its headquarters. Work has begun and original details that have been long buried are coming to light.
Inside, we were told that this neat white hexagonal tile was revealed in spots where a later layer of flooring was removed.
Above, a view of the basketball court. Note the elevated area on three sides…
That elevated area above the basketball court is a running track with, how fancy, banked turns. This is a view from above of both.
The basement pool is where generations of Pomona kids learned to swim.
Best. Cornerstone. Ever.
Not strictly speaking a historic detail, but this signs in a recreation room are wonderful. Unlike the Village People song, apparently you couldn’t “do whatever you feel.”
The coffeehouse Mi Cafecito has become a hit in downtown Pomona. It was the brainchild of a couple who didn’t know anything about coffee but learned quickly. I write about their unlikely success in Sunday’s column.
Also, extra points if you can spot me in the background of one of the photos!
One of the silliest business signs in the Inland Valley is for Mr. Milk Bottle, an anthropomorphic container of milk outside a convenience store at 1533 Indian Hill Blvd. in Pomona.
The view above is looking south. That side is in decent shape, although the B is missing and the neon is long gone, just as it was when Charles Phoenix photographed it for his 1999 book “Cruising the Pomona Valley.” The paint was peeling like a bad sunburn when Phoenix visited, which is no longer the case.
“With bow tie, top hat and cane, this neon sign is dressed to a ‘T,'” Phoenix wrote, dating the business to “early 1960s.”
As the Waymarking site, which has a page on the sign, observes: “Mr. Milk Bottle advertises for a dairy/convenience store in Pomona, California. He holds a cane in one hand that is pointed at the store, and with his other hand he doffs his top hat to passersby.” I like a polite, friendly sign.
The other side of the sign is in worse shape, with almost every letter gone.
I was scrolling through microfilm of the Claremont Courier last spring when I spotted a Nov. 20, 1961 ad for the business, reproduced below. Mr. Milkbottle (ugh, I hate it as one word) seemed to specialize in milk, cream, half and half, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream and a few non-dairy items like bread, fruit punch and frozen pies (the better to go with ice cream). Click on the image for a larger view if desired.
Any former or current customers want to share a comment or memory?