Sunday, July 13, 2008

Things That Aren't Here Anymore

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen will occasionally include columns in the newspaper or on his blog site about restaurants and businesses that have closed, been replaced or are simply not there anymore.

I started thinking about some of the places I’d go with regularity around Claremont and the Pomona Valley when I was younger. It’s surprising just what isn’t here anymore.

For example, way back when I was really young, there was a restaurant on the corner of Foothill and Garey in Pomona called Henry’s, where you could park and the carhops would take your order and serve you in your car. It had an elaborate dining area inside, which seemed like a contradiction to the pre-fast-food approach outside. That place was long gone well before I could drive, so I never really experienced it much. It gave way to a series of other restaurants, including Tiffany’s, the Northeast Corner and the Odyssey Disco before becoming a strip mall.

My family would often shop in the center on the southeast corner of Garey and Foothill, where we called the Thriftymart grocery store “The Big T” because of the huge “T” sign. There was Owl Drug, Sprouse-Rietz, a pet store, a baseball card shop and a Keds shoe store that was run by midgets. Across Garey was the bowling alley, which was one of the few places kids could go hang out, along with the old miniature golf course on the corner of Foothill and Lynoak (where Dave Bosson was successfully convinced to switch girlfriends—for a couple of days).

The movie theaters were still single-screen theaters, except for the one behind the Montclair Plaza that had three separate theatres. Claremont had the Village Theater, which was the one and only form of nightlife in downtown Claremont at the time. The streets shut down early, including the few downtown restaurants. At night, Claremont was a ghost town, except for the Village Theater.

Pomona had the Fox Theater and the United Artists Theater. The Fox is still there, but it hasn’t been the Fox in probably 40 years – although it is currently being renovated. The Mt. Baldy Drive-In at White and Foothill in La Verne went away 20 years ago, but was always great fun on a summer night.

When the “new” Albertson’s opened on Towne and Foothill, we found ourselves venturing a mile east for some of our shopping. And in the same center sprang up a Value Fair, where you could find pretty much anything. All of those places – gone.

The other grocery store in town was the Stater Bros. on the southeast corner of Foothill and Indian Hill. There were tunnels that went under those streets so pedestrians wouldn’t have to cross in heavy traffic on the way to the old Claremont High School. I can barely remember when that was a campus, but I remember the previous iteration of shops that replaced the classrooms, as well as the Griswolds’ Restaurant. The old gym was known as “the Pavilion” before it became the Candlelight Pavilion, and we had quite a few dances and other events over there.

For a quick dinner, we’d go to Tugboat Annie’s or Magic Towers on Foothill. My friend Mike Radlovic’s dad owned Magic Towers, and I think most kids who grew up in Claremont around then remember the day when Batman and Robin made guest appearances.

We’d often eat at Jongs Chinese restaurant in Cucamonga, which is now a Vince’s Spaghetti restaurant (we always went to the Ontario Vince’s too, but that is still there). Any trip to the east meant a ride over "the dips" on Baseline just east of Padua. Those were flattened as the road was widened from the Piedmont Mesa area just west of Claremont east through Upland and beyond.

Even after the dips were gone, I still remember being in high school and driving home late from Jim Moore’s place in Upland, and not feeling the need to stop at any of the few stop signs scattered between Mountain Avenue in Upland and my house in west Claremont. There was nothing but orange groves on both sides of the street, and no traffic. The stop signs served little purpose late at night. There wasn’t a stop at Baseline and Towne until my senior year, and when they finally put one up, Jim wanted to take an axe to it.

All of those orange and lemon groves brought an incredible and memorable smell to the entire area. That is what I remember about summer nights in Claremont, but that strong but welcome aroma doesn’t exist here anymore, either.

When I got into high school, my friends and I would venture off campus for lunch down at the In-N-Out on Towne Avenue just north of Arrow, or across the street to Jack in the Box. Sometimes we’d get a burger over at the Orange Julius at Foothill and Berkeley, where lots of Claremont High people worked. Those are all gone.

There were all sorts of after-game Claremont hangouts that aren’t around anymore, like Betsy Ross (where I worked in high school), Sambo’s, the Railroader, Straw Hat Pizza (now Eddie’s Pizza). We’d go there when we weren’t headed to the after-game dances, which they don’t hold anymore, either.

Back when Claremont High was an open campus that operated with a college-style “module” class system, we’d frequently pass time by going to the Sportsman sporting goods store owned by Bim Jollymour and Rhino Records in downtown. Rhino is still around, but it has moved twice since then, now occupying the old Bentley’s market. Then we’d go look for more records at the Wherehouse and Music-Plus stores on south Indian Hill, and then go test stereo equipment at Pacific Stereo. I eventually worked there, too. Another place I worked, the Pomona Valley Creamery on Mission in Ontario, is also gone.

Indian Hill was an interesting street, too. I remember when my mom would drive past the bank in the downtown area, where the fountain was always filled with soap suds. It got to be such a problem that they filled the fountain with dirt and it became a planter. Up the street was Memorial Park, which we’d pass going to and from Little League games at College Park. It was during the 1960s, and I remember all of the hippies sitting in a circle smoking weed in Memorial Park, and we couldn’t go there because it was dangerous.

College Park is still the home of Little League in Claremont, but back then there were two leagues. They shared the fields, but Claremont National played its major league division over at St. Ambrose field, which was on Mountain Ave. south of the church on Bonita Ave. It’s been an apartment complex for probably more than 30 years now.

There were also a couple of Pony League fields in Claremont. They were the baseball fields from the old high school, just south of what is now the CHS football field. Those had to be the absolute worst baseball fields ever, but I bet Claremont school officials wish they had the land back to expand their athletic fields. Instead, the fields are now the site of town homes and weed-filled parking lots.

Looking back, the other thing people probably remember are the places they could buy beer before turning 21. There were a bunch of them, but I don’t think any of them exist today -- probably because they sold beer to minors. There was North Hills Liquor on Towne, right next to the Driftwood Dairy. Both were very lax about asking for IDs. Bourbon Street and Lasagne Liquor in Claremont were a little harder, as was the Liquor Locker in La Verne. But the best place was the 7-11 on Garey and Harrison in Pomona. It was a sure thing (except for Doug Jollymour). Everybody called the owner “Ali-Baba,” because he wore a turban (well before the days of being politically correct). Ali had to know he was selling beer to minors, because the pricetags seemed to change every time we’d go in. He knew he could get away with hiking up the price. Simple economics, until he got caught too many times and was shut down.

When I reached college and beyond, we'd go to drink and eat at now-defunct local places like Sneaker's, Lord Charlie's, El Gato Gordo and a few places in La Verne that seemed to change names and ownership every six months. Those have all disappeared, except the Buffalo Inn, which is still a reliable venue for a cold beverage.

I'd meet friends there after our softball games or after covering local sporting events for the Pomona Progress Bulletin. That was great experience and a lot of fun. The newspaper merged with the Ontario Daily Report many years ago. The old “Prog” building is still there in downtown Pomona, but it’s no longer used for the newspaper business. That’s another industry that has seen its better days, and may not be around too much longer, either. That’s because people can find all they want by reading blogs and such. And so it goes.

I’m sure there are a lot of other places and things that I’m forgetting about. If you have memories of these places, or of other things that aren’t here anymore, please leave a comment.


Unknown said...

I actually had a conversation with an older gentleman about Henry's and other spots before playing a concert in Yucca Valley last week...
Raveler keyboard player, Martie played at Tiffany's/The Odyssey while
in the L.A Bop band and others during the disco/funk era.

I told my kids how we used to go swimming at the Griswold's Hotel pool before they put the fence around it. My Dad took us there to swim when it was really hot one day in 1969. Unlike my pop to so something sneaky like that.

Nice list of memories there, Sid...I didn't know about the tunnel.


Anonymous said...

There were lions living in those tunnels. No one believes me or will confirm this, but I remember. It was terrifying.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sid,

Great compilation of places no longer here... I have a few to add. In Montclair, before they had the place with 3 screens, there was "Cinemas I and II" located where the Elephant Bar and Macaroni Grill now are in the parking lot. Also, a favorite hangout from Jr. High was Graziano's Pizza at the corner of Mountain and Foothill in the Alpha Beta parking lot. For a while, there was also "Joe's Italian Ices" next door, which were great!

North Corona Life said...

You've brought up many things that I remember from my days in Claremont. Thanks, Sid.

Anonymous said...

Sid, thanks for the plug. Since you showed the photo of the Garey Bowl Coffee Shop, did everyone know that sign now adorns the front of Boomers Coffee in downtown Upland? The owners rescued the sign when the bowling alley was being demolished. It's very distinctive, albeit less blurry than in the photo!

Anonymous said...

What was the story with those tunnels anyway?

Mike Greer said...

Tony Wickey work at the Odyssey Disco as a bar back, can you name the bartender?

Anonymous said...

Keds PF Flyers. That's what we bought from the midgets running the shoe store!

Anonymous said...

Oh gawd the smorgasbord at Griswold's- where I'd have like six pounds of swedish meatballs-

there was a big ice cream place at Montclair Plaza where you'd have big parties and the big deal was called the "Trough" and included dozen of scoops of ice cream fo you and all yer friends.

There was a club where the closed Pep Boys on Foothill in La Verne is now.

Back when Arrow was a secluded road across the desert to the 15 there was a topless joint out in the woods out where Cucamonga is now.
the Green Door in Montclair.

Anonymous said...

Great article Sid, it brought back so many fond memories. The smell of the orange blossoms and the freedom to roam, unsupervised, all day (until the streetlights came on)are some of the things I remember most about growing up in Claremont. Renee Ross and I put together a slide show (remember those?) about the disappearance of all the groves when we were in Junior High at La Puerta, the greatest Junior High ever, that isn't here anymore!. We used Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi as the background music. Kristen chose the Counting Crow's version as part of a power point presentation on deforestation recently. Talk about things coming full circle!

I came up with a few additional dining opportunities to add to the list of those that are no more. How about Soups On (Claremont), Phoenix (Montclair) and Orlando's (Pomona)? If the members of the rat pack were passing through the Pomona Valley they would have felt right at home at Orlando's! It was a little bit of Vegas in our own backyard.

On the shopping front, Buffums in Pomona was the best. Remember when people got dressed up to go shopping? One of the great things about Buffums was the Tea Room where you could stop for lunch or dessert. For men there were Ewart's (sp?) and Silverwood's. Closer to home for young ladies was Teeka's Teens.

Pinkberry has nothing on us, we had DerFreehlings Frozen Yogurt, or "frogurt" in the village. That was a huge fad in the late 70's and early 80's. It seems to have morphed into "froyo" this time around but it is back and bigger than ever.

One final thing that doesn't seem to exist anymore is live music at school dances. Ironically, my mom hired a band called Hit and Run for a Junior High School Dance back in 1975. Ten years later I married the drummer, every mom's dream! When he quit the band in 1978 (?) Robby Haerr took his place. As we always remind our kids, a la Neill Young, "Live Music is Better"! Remember the battle of bands at CHS every year? Good times.

Thanks again for the memories, Sid!


PS- The ice cream place in Montclair was Farrell's!

Anonymous said...

That was fun reading, Sid!
I remember the citrus groves north of Baseline long before any houses were there. Late one night, in high school, we were dropped off in the middle of them as an initiation to making the cheerleading squad and then went running, screaming back to find "civilization!"

Reminiscing makes me feel like an "old" person. Can we really be in that stage of life?!


Anonymous said...

Yep...we're that age, not old, just that age. But this Reminiscing makes me want to go drink out of the hose and jump through sprinklers.

Anonymous said...

Yes it was Farrell's-

and every A&W drive-in that gets converted into a used car lot diminishes me (Holt & Central(?))

*Across from Vince's: see for yerself*

KarenR said...

Ok, Mike - who was this infamous bartender at Odyssey's - the suspense is killing me. John Travolta?

Right on "annonymous" with the additon of Buffums and Soup's On!

Sid, thank you for your insights. What fond memories indeed! I suppose every small town has versions of these places and experiences, it's the people who made them significant. That's what I remember - a very special group of people.

I had the pleasure of bringing my family back to Claremont recently for the 4th celebration. I shared w/ them many fond memories of the past, and great memories for the future!
Karen Robert (Myers)

Anonymous said...

i too use to go to in-out burgers on town ave take off from school and hang out.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember the Tip Top Toys in the shopping area across from the Bowling Alley?

Mike Greer said...

Aloha form Hana Maui!
Actually, Tony didnʻt work at the Odyssy Disco, it was called Tiffanyʻs and his sister, Sheila was the bar tendress.
Da kine, Sooz B-W

Mike Greer said...

Mike Greer has a new invention. He and Andrea are visiting us in Hana. He should be interviewed regarding this brilliant new development.

Mike Greer said...

...and one more thing, "Lions living in the tunnels"? but the writer is anonymous?

KarenR said...

Ok I realize this site is all about Sid's story here - but that was a while back so sorry to use it as a tool to send a "hello" to an old friend - If you are out there Tony - "hi" from the past - as far back as it gets!! Karen. But I was thinking of you and your family this summer - we went to Maui (Napili Kai, love the place) but also to Lanai - what a great place this is - we had so much fun, felt like we were worlds away from any where - the most friendly people ever in all our travels, next to New Zealand! What a great island to explore. I have two sons and I have to say they were enchanted by the un touched nature - we jeeped (non green of us) to beaches that no one had been on for days - we stayed in the "up country" and loved it. It was such a different expereince. Anyways, it's fun to kind of re-connect w/ people from the past - we were lucky to have such fun growing up together! Kathy kind of up dates me on what's going on (your daughter is an incrediblle surfer!) Take care - and all the best to you and your family!
Karen - as in K&K!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh what great memories your comments bring back! I grew up in Claremont, and went to La Puerta Junior High. My kids don't believe me that we wouldn't have PE in school on days we couldn't see the mountains cuz of the smog. I remember buying rabbits feet (now, ew!) at Sprouse-Reitz for a nickel, and riding bikes with my sister all the way to 31 flavors for my first triple scoop -- she paid the whopping 45 cents each - then getting sick on the way home. I remember the reservoir in the field behind our house between Baseline and Occidental drive, and the little shack there that we always swore was inhabited by hobos. And the sound of the coyotes roaming the fields at night! I wonder how many get squashed on the freeway thats replaced it now? Last time I was in California though I could still see the pillar-like Italian cypress that my mom planted in '64 along our back wall. Thanks for the memories!

Richard Lewis said...

Sid: How are you? I was just at Fairplex this week. When were you at CHS?

Richard Lewis

Rolland Withrow said...

I, too, remember Graziano's (aka Scardino's) as (still to this day!) the place for the best pizza I've ever had. Coming home from El Roble in 1965 my friend, Mark Ervin, and I would alternate days stopping there or at the sponsor of our junior high school basketball team coached by Harry T. Lund, The Little Pigs, located next to Tony and Mike's barber shop on the east side of the Alpha Beta center. The Helber family-owned Orange Julius on Foothill just west of Indian Hill was also a favorite haunt as was Bud's Bike Shop in the village. Many were the after school hours spent there eating a glazed donut and drinking a Double Crown cola shooting the bicycling breeze with ol' Bud. Was them the days or what!

Rolland Withrow

Unknown said...

I just stumbled on those pictures of Garey Bowl and it brought back many memories. My father actually worked on the building in the 1990s before it was converted to a church. As a kid I remember walking into the coffee shop and lounge and thinking I was walking into a scene from the Jetsons. Very clean mid-century modern 1950's architecture that even amazed a young kid as myself. It's kinda neat that the exterior has been preserved today. Do you have any larger resolution pictures? I would love to share them with my dad.

Tim said...

Thanks for posting the pics! My parents were in a bowling league there in the early 80s and my brother and I have fond memories of running around there. The cafe' had the best burgers and fries and the chefs wore those traditional tall white chef hats. Really cool vibes, funny characters and bowlers...the whole place was just a great hang. They had a pretty extensive game room area for us kids and I blew a lifetime of savings in quarters on Pac Man (which was brand new at the time). My grandma gave me $20 as a b-day gift and I lost it all on Pac Man one night. I was bummed out, but my mom told me "she gave it to you to have fun. If you had fun, then it wasn't wasted." Such great advice that stays with me today.

Didn't they have a bar in there called The Lion's Den (?). Great memories. Got any other pics of Garey Bowl? I heard it was converted into a school. I recall a Love's Restaurant across the street and I think M&I surplus & Shakey's Pizza were just down the road. Thanks for posting!

Tim said...

Just an addendum to my previous post...the bar inside Garey Bowl was called "The Red Lion Inn" if I am not mistaken.

Spent many a time at Mt. Baldy Drive In, with flea markets on weekends. We then went to Edwards Drive In as an alternative once Mt. Baldy was razed and converted into a Target (around 1984-85?). Eastland Mall with PJ Pizzazz and Moskatel's were other places we frequented from around 1976-1986. Great times!

Hubert said...

Great memories! I lived in Claremont from 1966 to 1970 on Morgan Ave. I went to Condit, El Roble Jr. High, the brand new La Puerta (1968) and Claremont High for freshman year before moving away. I used to deliver the Progress Bulletin by bike in the afternoons. I remember hearing the dragsters in Pomona, smog days, Alpha Beta, Betsy Ross, Griswolds, riding my bike EVERYWHERE, listening to Vin Scully, neighborhood ice cream trucks in the summer...(sigh)

Anonymous said...

Just a few of my own memories from the 60's and 70's. The Magic Lantern, The Midway Tavern, Stinky's at Foothill and Mountain and Lloyds at Foothill and Central. I worked at Betsy Ross Ice Cream in Pomona while I was in Jr.High & High School. It was next to the Ebell Club at Garey Ave. and Caswell St. I spent way too much time at Henry's when I was in High School, but I don't regret on moment of it. Thanx for the blog. I love this stuff.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Claremont from 1959 to 1976 when I graduated from HS (Webb, not CHS). Visited off and on after that. Educated at Vista, Condit, La Puerta, and one year at CHS. The old Staters at Foothill and Indian Hill was a real throwback: ceiling fans and a real butcher shop meat section. Our Little League pancake breakfasts were held there. Anyone remember the Sugar Bowl across from the Village Theater? Two old ladies, who acted as if they were on valium, ran it and it was always out of ice cream. The reservoir on Baseline between Towne and Mountain was a good fishing hole. All gone now. They exist only in memory or on a blog such as this. Enjoyed the post!

P.S. Chicken in the Rough at Henry's was great!

Anonymous said...

I remember Pinnacle Pete's Steak house,They cut off your tie and put it on the wall. In La Verne on Foothill blvd was Chubby boy's, my friend Steve Walker Mom worked there.
My Godfamiy The Scarlatta's owned the concessions at Ganesha park and several other parks, they had some at the fair as well.
San Dimas canyon and Bonita had Baker's and the Canyon Theatre .50 admission. I worked at both Pizza n Stuff's, La Verne and Alta loma. My Granparents owned 2 MTI's, 1 on Indian Hill and a 2nd on Holt ave .
La Verne was all orange groves, the 210 freeway ended in mid air.
My Uncle was The Tijuana smalls man.
He was pals with Bob Seagren.

Rick Lee said...

Man reading this blog reminded me of places I actually worked at and places I hung out at. What about the A & W next to Pomona high. Lunch time was a place to get a quick bite. We used to cruse Henry's most every night and race up and down Gary.

Mary Anne '64 said...

I just came across this today and I'm sure glad I'm not the only one who remembers Stinky's and the Midway. What a fun read this was.

Unknown said...

The ice cream parlor was Farrell's. It was a chain in the SGV. If you had your bday there, you were the MAN!

What is now the 99¢ Only store used to be a nightclub, Toppers. Short lived, but fun!

Anonymous said...

Don’t forget Tasty Bagel Works, Pipeline skatepark, and buying VANS shoes made in house!! Those were great times but to look around at all the so called progress it makes me sick and as much as those childhood times were great today’s world is full of difficulty and sadness...... progress as consequences!!!