Reader Erik Griswold found these images on flickr from the Boston Public Library’s collection. The Orange Hotel, above, was in downtown Ontario; the Melody Ranch, below, was a bit west on Holt. Beautiful, eh? I like the visible texture of the linen postcards too and how it affects the image. Instagram should offer a “linen” option.
Griswold also found similar images for the Peppertree Hotel on Valley Boulevard in Ontario and the Eldo Hotel at 987 E. Holt Ave. in Pomona.
The library’s complete California postcard collection can be found here. (Among the postcards are images showing orange groves, Pomona Valley Creamery and W.R. Shadoff Chevrolet in Pomona.) Thanks to Erik for finding these so we can admire them.
For many of us, Saturday matinees were a staple of childhood. At Upland’s Grove Theatre, the ritual was formalized in the 1960s as the Pal Club. Kids got a membership card that would be stamped on the reverse on each visit.
Mike Guerin found his card a while back while cleaning his garage. What an artifact! He’s like the Indiana Jones of Upland. We blurred his address and birthdate as a favor. The photos are presented as thumbnails; click on them for a larger, readable view.
“I remember standing in line on 3rd Avenue queued up for quite a while for some of the more popular movies,” Guerin says. “The Beach Party films were all Pal Club movies and I remember enjoying them. [Manager] Gene Harvey would indeed come on stage and introduce each film.
“Attendance was of course contingent on my having completed my homework, which also included occasionally writing ‘I will not talk in class’ 100 times.”
According to the card (as best I can read it): “In accepting Pals Membership, I promise to conduct myself in an orderly manner and to observe the Grove Theatre Rules.” According to the reverse, to every fourth movie you would be admitted free, and on your birthday “you and Mom & Dad or a pal” would also get in free.
Upland’s Buffalo Inn is a restaurant and watering hole at 1814 W. Foothill Blvd., located in a sort of compound of old buildings and thick trees around an expansive patio. It’s hard to get more than a sense of it from the exterior, as even enlarging the thumbnail photo below should make obvious. Their staple item (besides beer) is a burger made from buffalo meat and their housemade potato chips.
The signs say “Established 1929,” and based on the evident age of the structures, it’s quite possible there have been businesses on the property since the Depression, although they weren’t the Buffalo Inn, which opened circa 1976.
Previous businesses known to have been on the site, based on phone directory listings: the Green Frog (1974-75), Hazel’s Tavern (1971-73), Ellis Tavern (1967-69), Ray’s Place (1964), Roy and Kitty’s Cafe (1954) and El Montecito Cafe (1945-51). Notice the many gaps when there was no phone listing. Either the place felt no need to be in the phone book or the property was used only as a residence then.
Kelly Zackmann of Ontario’s Ovitt Library found the above for me but said she “pretty much lost the trail in 1945,” unable to find anything definitive before that date. Could be the restaurant’s owner or employees know more. No newspaper seems to have produced a written history of the site, at least nothing that’s on file at the Ontario or Upland libraries.
If you know anything about the site’s history, or just want to comment on the Buffalo Inn, please do so.
This surfaced recently on YouTube: photographs of Ontario’s All States Picnic from 1948 done for Life magazine by Allan Grant and turned into a video montage by Gary Cliser. The video lasts six minutes, and there’s some neat stuff. The pictures can be seen individually on this blog.
According to Wikipedia, “The All-States Picnic, an Independence Day celebration, began in 1939 to recognize the varied origins of the city’s residents. Picnic tables lined the median of Euclid Avenue from Hawthorne to E Street, with signs for each of the country’s 48 states. The picnic was suspended during World War II, but when it resumed in 1948, it attracted 120,000 people. A 1941 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon listed Ontario’s picnic table as the “world’s longest.” As native Californians came to outnumber the out-of-state-born, the celebration waned in popularity until it was discontinued in 1981. It was revived in 1991 as a celebration of civic pride.”
Midway Building Materials got its name due to its location midway between Ontario and Pomona, although as the years passed the location on Holt Boulevard at Ramona Avenue was absorbed into Montclair. Ric Pearson opened Midway in 1952 and closed it in 1998. A Jack in the Box, SavOn and Albertsons and CVS are there now.
The business was probably known for its products among the contractor set, but most of us knew it solely from its neon sign, in which a bricklayer endlessly moved his trowel and the stack of bricks grew. The sign, created by Ontario Neon, was donated to L.A.’s Museum of Neon Art in 2002, thanks to the urging of the city of Montclair.
The sign is currently in storage, as the museum is planning a move to Glendale, but two years ago it was briefly back in the 909. The sign was part of a neon display at the L.A. County Fair’s Millard Sheets Center for the Arts in 2010, where I shot these two photos, the trowel in a different place and the stack of bricks different in each, and then promptly forgot about them.
I was surprised to learn recently that I’d never posted about the sign or the business. Let me rectify that now. Posterity demands it. And my admiration to the bricklayer, who’s been stooped over for 60 years — but still manages a smile.
This postcard image shows the northeast corner of Foothill Boulevard and Archibald Avenue in Cucamonga with the old Bank of America, with Vath’s drugstore and soda fountain next door. Jane Vath O’Connell sent me the postcard after reading this blog post about that intersection, which served as downtown Cucamonga in the old days.
B of A later moved across the street to the southeast corner.
The chain, now named Anchor Blue, was launched in 1972 with locations in Ontario, Pomona, Upland and El Monte, although its roots go back to 1948 in Ontario. My Sunday column has details on that. Check out this November 1972 ad from the Ontario Daily Report. For a larger view, click on the image. And thanks to Kelly Zackmann of the Ontario Library for the ad.
Sacred Heart Catholic School operated from 1949 to 1998 on the grounds of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pomona at Hamilton and Grand. The school educated up to eighth grade; students usually went on to Damien or Pomona Catholic high schools.
A reunion is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2010 at the Ebell Museum of History, 525 E. Holt Ave. For info: (909) 938-1599. The school has a Facebook page with a page of nifty photos, from which the accompanying picture was taken.
Did you attend the school? Feel free to post a comment here about your experience.
This is described as the only known footage of the fire that gutted Pomona High School, and it probably is. The event is still described as one of the most traumatic in the city’s history, even though no one was injured. Classes were never held again in the East Holt Avenue building, which was later torn down and replaced by a shopping center. The school was rebuilt elsewhere in town.
I’m not sure what I think of the “Chariots of Fire” theme as background music, but the video is fascinating, if sad, viewing.
A separate video made last year of a former student’s reminiscence of the event can be seen here. It’s informative and moving.