Column: Upland’s H. Salt closing; couple fishing for new spot

After nearly 50 years, the H. Salt Fish and Chips in Upland is closing Sept. 30. That might have been worth just a Valley Vignette, or overlooked entirely, but even a franchise restaurant can have a loyal clientele and dedicated owners, as I learned. I tell the story in my Sunday column.

Above, the signs on the door, either one likely to inspire a sense of gloom, and my lunch. Yes, they give you malt vinegar if you want it. Two photos below from Yelp by Letty F. and Justin A. for documentary purposes. So long, H. Salt.

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Roman holiday

Roman “Roach” Foronda was honored at the Lemon Festival, where the guitarist was performing with three bands, Blue Highway, Gene Pool and Backstreet, the latter of which he founded in 1973. The native Uplander still lives on the street where he grew up. The certificate of recognition from the City Council ends: “Thank you for providing melody and harmony for all to enjoy.” He’s also due to get a proclamation from the City Council at its June 12 meeting.

Here’s a 2015 video of Backstreet performing “Europa/Oye Como Va.”

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Heron in Upland

Reader Yvonne Cheyney writes that on her walk last week in the 1300 block of Upland’s North Quince Avenue, she saw “a beautiful white heron. It was on a neighbor’s lawn, then flew very low across 14th Street and settled on the lawn of a neighbor who has twin palm trees that are over 80 years old. I was very quiet and hid behind one of the palm trees to take pictures.”

Thanks for sending them, Yvonne.

Update: More specifically, this heron is a Great Egret, reader Cliff Hutson informs us. We egret the omission.

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‘The Void’/’The Warp Gate’

An unusual Inland Valley phenomenon of the 1980s was named The Void. I had heard only passing references to it over the years until a description by Kent Crowley in his Foothills Reader history column in 2015 about local Halloween-ish spots. Let me quote him in full (with one interjection).

“Ghost hunters are warned to stay away from the corner that extends from Route 66 north to Base Line Road along Benson Avenue near the Upland/Claremont border” — can you follow that? — “because in the 1980s thrill seekers sought a rumored mysterious ‘void’ on the property that gradually enveloped people in total darkness and unearthly silence. Some say the void was a gateway between dimensions or between the spirit and material worlds.”

Some say, eh? What about the rest of you? Did you ever experience The Void? Have you heard stories about it?

Update: On Facebook, where almost no one had heard of this — not surprisingly, since it can’t possibly exist — one man invoked the alternative name for the phenomena: The Warp Gate. He wrote: “Still there…south of 210 where they’re building new homes. Does that mean the new homeowners will disappear? Lol.”

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Gravity Hill

We’ve written about “the dips” on Base Line/16th Street (and 19th Street too) and other bits of local lore or urban legends beloved by people who were teenagers here at the right time, like the Green Mist in Chino Hills and rumors of a town for little people somewhere in the foothills. Here’s another one: Gravity Hill.

The handiest description I have came from a 2015 letter to me from reader Jerry Terrill of Claremont in which he commented on various historical subjects. Here’s what he had to say:

“This was a narrow isolated street in the north end of Upland, now gone but probably in the area of the dam. In the daytime or at night, the street definitely had an uphill appearance, but if you stopped your car, or got out and put a round object (most often an orange) on the pavement, it (the car or the object) would seemingly roll uphill, countering the gravity. Thus, Gravity Hill. It was some sort of optical illusion caused by the surrounding terrain, but it sure was convincing.”

Shades of the Mystery Spot! Do any of you remember Gravity Hill or have your own stories about it?

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