The best part of last week’s “kickoff meeting” for the Gold Line light-rail extension from Azusa to Montclair was the conceptual art for Pomona’s station. Artist Steve Farley incorporated the L.A. County Fair’s old Fun Zone arch — see below — into his station design.
Not only that, but to spell out “Pomona,” Farley used individual letters, ransom note-style, from notable signs around town. Farley, who like the artists for the Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont and Montclair platforms was at the meeting, stresses that this is just an initial design and that a committee would help him refine the approach.
Farley explains his concept to me in this video. Note his Bob’s Big Boy T-shirt.
The Ontario native, who grew up across from Chaffey High School, now lives in Arizona, where he’s a rarity, an artist and a state senator. He’s friends with fellow Ontario native Charles Phoenix, the source of the image below. Phoenix says the Fun Zone arch was in existence from 1950 to 1980. “The entrance to the Fun Zone at the fair was one of Southern California’s most spectacular works of neon ever,” he declares.
The $950 million Gold Line extension may never be built, as currently there’s no funding source, but never count it out. If nothing else, they should build Pomona’s station. Put it on wheels and cart it around town.
I knew there were towns named Pomona elsewhere in the world, but I had no idea how many until recently: 25, including ours. I’ve got a list, as well as restaurant and cultural news, in Sunday’s column.
With Pomona hosting a community read around the memoir “Farewell to Manzanar,” the two first events focused on Manzanar and other World War II-era internment camps for Japanese-Americans. I attended both and write about them in Wednesday’s somewhat somber column.
Above, Jim Nakano, wearing his camp identification number, and Joyce Okazaki speak at the Pomona Public Library. A video of Okazaki talking about Ansel Adams taking her and her sister’s photos at Manzanar can be viewed here.
In Wednesday’s column, I profile an L.A. County Fair food vendor, Colossal Gelato, that sells gelato and uses the profits to fund nonprofits. Its parent company, Working to Give, has a website and video that explain more.
Big Boy No. 4014, one of the world’s largest steam locomotives, will soon leave the Rain Giants Train Museum at Fairplex after 50 years, the topic of my Friday column. Above, Cub Scout Pack 650 from Claremont and parents pose with the engine after a recent tour. Below, from inside the cramped cab, Scouts peer into the firebox. At bottom, Bob Krave of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, which runs the museum, talks about the Big Boy’s finer points with one of its giant wheels behind him.
A request to local librarians for information on a visit to Ontario and environs by the royal family of Thailand in 1960 turned up a different but related piece of information.
In 1962, the queen of Afghanistan visited Pomona. Why, we even have photographic evidence. (She’s the woman in the sunglasses, no doubt worn for protection against the harsh Pomona sun.)
According to Kimberley Erickson of the Cal Poly Pomona University Library’s special collections department: “Here is a photo taken Sept. 15, 1962, during the Queen of Afghanistan’s visit to Cal Poly Pomona. The Queen, Her Majesty Homaira of Afghanistan, is standing next to the Arabian stallion, Poly Royal. Immediately to her left are campus president Charles McPhee and Mrs. McPhee.”
The horse was named Poly Royal? The queen must have felt right at home among fellow royalty.
So what was with all the Asian monarchs — Afghanistan, Thailand — traipsing around out here in the Kennedy years? That I can’t answer.
Fairplex has offered me a family package (admission for four, $60 value) for its Kaboom! fireworks show, which you won’t be surprised to learn is July 4, to be given to readers in whatever fashion I choose. “The evening features monster trucks and motocross stunts as well as one of the largest fireworks displays in California,” says Heather Tanji, communications associate.
Rather than ask you to be the seventh caller to my blog, let’s do it like this: Share a favorite memory of fireworks shows past, from whatever venue, state or time of life you wish. Best story (at my discretion) gets the package. A winner will be named Friday morning.
This is new to me, too, so we’ll see if this idea goes well or goes Kaboom! Above is a 1:28 video from the 2007 show.