Remembering Sacred Heart

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A class at Sacred Heart, 1957

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.

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Pomona High fire, May 14, 1956

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.

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More things that aren’t here anymore

Reader Al Lopez of Victorian Mortgage on E Street, Ontario, compiled a list of businesses and sights that have vanished from the local landscape and faxed them over. “These are a few that I can remember. I’ve lived here since about 1949. My dad was born in Ontario in 1924 and has lived here his whole life,” Lopez wrote.

Unsure immediately what to do with it, I set the list aside, as I’m wont to do. The other day, tidying up my cubicle, I came across the list and made time to type it all up, essentially as Lopez wrote it. Enjoy.

On Holt Boulevard in Ontario: Bamboo Hut (bar, at Campus); Judy’s Past Time (bar and pool hall, between Lemon and Euclid), Tahiti Club (lounge, between Lemon and Euclid), Ford Lunch (restaurant, at Euclid), 1st Trust Bank (at Euclid), Orange Hotel (between Euclid and Sultana), Torley’s Market (at Sultana), Laddies (burgers, across from Torley’s), Sherman Williams (paint, at Sultana), Hoyt Lumber (at Plum), Dairy Queen (by Campus), Taco Lita (at San Antonio), Shady Grove Dairy (at San Antonio), Burger Lane (between San Antonio and Mountain), Citrus Motors (between San Antonio and Mountain), Mark Christopher (between Palm and Fern?), Valley Drive-In (movies, at Central).

On Euclid Avenue in Ontario: Bank of America (at B), California Theater (movies, at B), Fallis (clothing, at B), The Forum Theater (movies, ?), 1st National Bank (at E), Carnegie Library (at D), Walter’s Cafe (between F and G), Bank of Ontario (below overpass), JC Penney (below E), Bocanegra Bakery (at Francis), Donahoo’s Chicken (at G), Jasper the Ant picnic sign (for July 4th celebration).

On Mountain Avenue in Ontario: Market Basket, White Front, House of Pies.

Elsewhere in Ontario: Municipal dump on Mission — highest elevation in Ontario?, Hooker Headers, Drew Carriage, Chaffey College at 5th and Euclid, Daily Report building, Firestone Tires (Lemon and B), Grove School (near Sunkist), Greyhound Bus Station (on Transit Avenue), Ontario Police Station (behind old City Hall), GE Hotpoint plant, Delahoyt (sp?) Auto, radio stations KWOW and KASK, Lockheed Aircraft, National Guard unit with fighter jets.

On Holt Avenue in Pomona: Van de Kamp’s, International House of Pancakes, Standard Brands Paint, Angel’s Lumber, Pomona Valley Datsun, Bekins Storage, Thom McAn’s Shoes, Lloyds Lumber, Tate Cadillac, Catron’s Volkswagen, St. Charles Bar and Grill, Crocker National Bank.

Elsewhere in Pomona: Espiau’s, Orlando’s, Henry’s, Love’s Wood Pit, Xochimilco’s, Boys Market, Zody’s, Sears.

“Just to name a few,” Lopez notes. The understatement of the year.

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Larry Seibert at the Sage Hen, Claremont

Reader Bob Given alerted me to the existence of a vintage LP by organist Larry Seibert, recorded live at the Sage Hen Cafe in Claremont. The Record Robot blog has a picture of the (almost blank) cover and a wry writeup that begins like this:

“Should you have been traveling on Route 66 through Claremont, CA in the late ’60s, and the smell of manure hadn’t affected your hunger pangs, you’d have maybe stopped in at the Sage Hen Restaurant to dine sumptuously on glazed ham and a delicious fruit ring mold. If you were really lucky, Larry Seibert would be jazzing up the place on his Gulbransen Rialto Organ (with Gulbransen Select-A-Rhythm attachment) while you ate. And if you were really, really lucky, perhaps he’d autograph a copy of his album, Larry Plays Again!, for you, as he did for the fortunate soul who owned this copy before it became mine.”

Read the rest here. Given says he wants a copy of the LP regardless. Anyone own one?

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The old forbidden places

Here’s the portion of Greg Nelson’s letter that I saved for its own post, a few lines about the secret, and possibly dangerous, places near Pomona that kids of the ’50s and ’60s liked to get into. Take it away, Greg:

“As far as tunnels under Pomona goes, there were real tunnels, but they were the storm drains, and we used to break into them in Ganesha Park and travel miles around the town underground. My pal Phillip O’Brien was always talking me into going down there with him. I heard he died in a hang-glider accident somewhere around San Dimas Canyon years ago. I remember his parents were fanatical Catholics. They said a rosary together as a family every night. If you spent the night at his house you had to do it with them.

“Those storm drains were a forbidden place, and we stopped going once we saw the movie ‘Them’ about the giant bees that built nests in the Los Angeles storm drains.

“The other forbidden place to go was Walnut Falls, on the far side of Puddingstone, behind the dam. We loved to hike out there early on summer Saturdays and jump from the cliffs surrounding the pool created by the falls. In the summer there was just a trickle of water over the falls, and around noon the local L.A. Sheriffs would raid the place and chase us all away. It was too dangerous a place to let kids play, I guess.”

Your turn, readers: What risky stunts did you pull as kids? Where did you go that you knew you shouldn’t?

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Memories of Pomona

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1437 Gibbs St., where the Nelsons lived. Photo by Ren.

New reader Greg Nelson sent me a long, fond epistle a few weeks back about his childhood in Pomona. Warm, detailed, it’s worth reprinting in full. I did cut one section for use at a later time. And now, take it away, Greg:

“I just stumbled on your blog and loved every picture and phrase. My family moved to Pomona in 1956 when I was 4, from New Orleans, and I didn’t leave until I went to college. Our first house was at 1714 Calatina Drive. It was down in the south and right on the edge of the wilderness at the time. It got its name from the developer, who crossed the L instead of the T in Catalina. They decided they liked it like that. We moved uptown later.

“I graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1966 and from Damien in 1970. During my first year at Damien it was still called Pomona Catholic, or ‘PC.’

“We dated the girls from Sacred Heart and St. Lucy’s, and occasionally from Pomona, Ganesha, and Fremont Highs.

“At St. Joseph’s I served many a mass (more than a hundred) for Monsignor English, the 6-foot five pastor, who was a millionaire before he entered the priesthood, and built St. Joseph’s with his own money. It was hard to serve mass there because the altar was a lot higher than at most churches because of his height. Sometimes we went to mass at Sacred Heart because they had a 7 PM Sunday mass.

“My best friend was Lloyd Purpero, whose dad, Carl, owned a pancake house called Breakfast At Carl’s, and also a place called Perp’s.
Continue reading “Memories of Pomona” »

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Remembering Atwood’s

The passing of Jack Atwood has revived memories of Atwood’s Department Store, which from the 1930s to the 1980s sold general merchandise in downtown Upland, at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Ninth Street.

The building later burned in a fire and was demolished. The lot sat empty for a decade until a very nice two-story retail and commercial structure plugged the gap a couple of years ago.

At this point, that’s about all I know, although I’m hoping to write something in my column soon about the store. What can any of you tell us about Atwood’s — the store and the family?

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Archibald and Foothill, Cucamonga

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This undated postcard image, presumably from the 1950s, is in the collection of the Ontario Public Library. This was downtown Cucamonga.

As Frank Zappa wrote in his autobiography:

“Cucamonga was a blotch on a map, represented by the intersection of Route 66 and Archibald Avenue. On those four corners we had an Italian restaurant, an Irish pub, a malt shop and a gas station.

“North, up Archibald, were an electrician’s shop, a hardware store and the recording studio. Across the street was a Holy Roller church, and up the block from that was the grammar school.”

His memory was pretty sharp. In 1965, the year Zappa left, this would be what you’d have found at or around this intersection, according to research by Kelly Zackmann of the Ontario City Library into phone books and criss-cross directories:

NW corner: Caf Italiano (9690 Foothill), the Zappa-mentioned “Italian restaurant.” Ancil Morris’ Cucamonga Service Station was next door to the west and still stands, albeit closed and fenced off.

SW corner: Cucamonga Caf (9671 Foothill), which is listed under ice cream in the phone book. Must be Zappa’s “malt shop.” Now it’s The Deli and Carl’s Liquor.

NE corner: Cucamonga Hardware (9710 Foothill) must be the “hardware shop.”

SE corner: Ray Ford’s Texaco station (9705 Foothill) was there, if apparently not operating by 1965. Nearby was The Tavern (9741 Foothill), which may be the “Irish pub” Zappa mentions. Was this the same pub known as Shanty Devlin’s?

Zappa’s studio was at 8040 Archibald, on the west side above Estacia Street and next to Citrus Electric (“electrician’s shop”) at 8036. South of them, below Estacia but above Foothill, were the Cucamonga Justice Court at 8076 and Cafe Italiano.

The “grammar school” Zappa mentions was Central Elementary, which is still there (7955 Archibald). Zackmann couldn’t locate a Holy Roller-type church across the street from the studio via phone records. But then, why have a phone if you’re going to speak in tongues?

If you’ve never been to The Deli, by the way, not only is the place worth it for the food, but one wall boasts a series of B&W and color photos of the intersection from various eras. Well worth a look.

Zappa maintained that when Archibald was widened in the mid-’60s, his studio was among the casualties. I think there’s a drive-through dairy there now. Is the courthouse building still there? I don’t know. There is some disagreement among old-timers as to whether the row of older buidlings on the west side above Foothill is original or not.

Feel free to add to or correct any of the information and suppositions above.

* Meanwhile, here’s a 1942 of the same intersection, looking east, courtesy of Darin Kuna of the Growing Up in Upland Facebook page. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Upland in the 1940s, part 2

Continuing Shelby Garrett’s memories of old Upland:

“Over on Foothill at Fifth Avenue was Booth’s Market on the SE corner and a small filling station on the NE corner. In 1948 there was a miniature golf course on the SW side of Foothill and Third Avenue. We had such fun playing there.

“In the early ’50s, over towards Second Avenue on the south side of Foothill, was the Shopping Bag, Upland’s first big supermarket. It was so different from the neighborhood grocery stores we were used to. Jan’s Drive-In to the east of the market was a local spot to hang out.

“On the north side of Foothill from Third Avenue on over to Euclid there was nothing but orange groves. On the south side were groves too, from Second Avenue west to Euclid, until Bob & Dave’s Chevron Station went in on the SW corner of Second and Foothill.

“In 1950, Yum Yum’s Frostee Freeze was put in by Mary Weitzel on Foothill across from the Memorial Park. In their recreation and eating area on the side of the building there was a jukebox. Teenagers went there for great hamburgers, shakes, malts and dancing. The adults got wind of the fun we were having and several of them came in to dance with us often.

“Across Foothill at the ball park, my brother, Kirby, used to announce the ballgames.

“For fine dining, people went to the Magic Lamp (formerly Lucy & John’s) or to the historic Sycamore Inn, both east on Foothill past Grove Avenue.

“In 1951 the Swim Club was built out on West Foothill. They had great folk music by various artists performing around the pool.

“Another unforgettable place was Stinkey’s on the NW corner of Mountain and Foothill. They had the best hamburgers in town and were open all night for the boys and men who went out smudging in the wintertime. Jack, the owner, always had a cigar with a long ash on it in his mouth, but I never saw it fall off into the food.

“Matteo’s Pizza was out on Foothill and Central, as was Lloyd’s. Both great places to eat.”

Hope you enjoyed the piece. Anyone have memories of these places to share, or just general comments on the above?

Two short comments by me: I believe the Shopping Bag building is now Pep Boys; if memory serves, circa 2000, construction exposed a brick wall with a painted sign for Shopping Bag to motorists on Foothill, until further construction covered it up.

Also, the idea that Foothill was lined with groves is hard for us to picture today, but it does explain an odd news item I saw in an old Daily Report (’40s? ’50s?) about a controversial zoning plan to make Foothill a (gasp!) commercial district!

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