La Verne, California

La Verne, California

Monday, December 28, 2015


The following is a transcription of an article that appeared in the La Verne Leader, Friday, March 4, 1938. The photo was not a part of the original article and is from the La Verne Police Department's collection.

La Verne Leader
Friday, March 4, 1938


Car Washed Down Firey Ave. by Torrent

Business Held at Stand-Still as Water Makes Shopping Impossible; San Dimas Canyon Dam Overflows Spillway; Puddingstone Sets New Record.

            With water surging through the business district and streets of the residence section, La Verne was inundated by four days of flood which caused and on unestimable amount of damage.
Business in La Verne was practically at a standstill for three days, with only meager transactions being made. Delivery systems from stores were taxed to capacity.
Water which is usually diverted around the city by means of a flood channel passing through the Peyton Corporation grove was released through the business district, flooding D, E, and F streets to the curbs, and late Wednesday all business houses on D street and Third had to be sand-bagged and dyked. Much of the water which flooded Third Street came from E St., but this intersection was dammed late Wednesday evening, throwing a torrent of water directly down E Street and making it impassable by motorists. Homes on the west side of the street were surrounded by water.

Man Washed Two Blocks in Car

A 1937 Pontiac sedan stalled while attempting to cross Firey Ave. at Fourth street, Wednesday afternoon, was washed down the street by the force of the water to the Santa Fe railroad tracks, where it lodged and was almost completely submerged by mud and water. The driver stayed in the car as it was washed two blocks, but jumped for his life as the car started to overturn.
Early Wednesday morning two sheriffs from the San Dimas substation were stalled in the Firey Avenue crossing at Third Street, while attempting to ford the torrent, and were pulled out before being washed away.
Numerous trees were undermined and fell across roads and power lines in the city. At the south corner of D and Second streets, a large umbrella tree crashed, and another tree on Walnut Ave. was reported to have fallen across power lines.

Nine drunks arrested in 24 hours

Practically all homes in the Seventh street region, as well as those south of town were virtually surrounded by water. The entire region along Third street from Firey Avenue to Bonita Union high school was under water, and traffic crawled at a snail’s pace.
In the twenty-four hour period from Tuesday night to Wednesday night nine drunks were reported by the La Verne police department. One car carrying a drunken man attempted to ford Firey Avenue, but stalled. When the drunk realized that he was in the middle of the flood, he opened the door, rolling into the swirling water. Quick action by his companions and Officer P. F. Canaday saved him from being washed down the street by the force of the current.
Traffic regulations were practically disregarded by La Verne motorists, as necessity altered man-made laws. Most all cars parking in the business district drove onto the sidewalk to avoid backing the water up in the deeper gutters, causing it to wash into store buildings. Other cars acted as ferries, carrying people across flooded streets.

La Verne Practically Isolated

All traffic attempting to enter La Verne had to be routed by way of Foothill Blvd. on the north or by the County Fair grounds on the south, since Firey Ave. on the West and Fulton road on the east were carrying water to capacity and impassable. Numerous cars were stuck in mud about town. One car, belonging to E.D. Watts, was buried to the running boards when it got off the alley back of the La Verne Electric Co. Another car mired to the axle just south of the Post Office when it tried to climb up into the parking. Another car dropped into a deep hole in front of the Texaco Service Station on Third St. The hole was caused by rushing water.
About $3,000 damage was estimated in San Dimas canyon, where numerous slides either had blocked the road, or it had been washed completely out. No entrance was possible into the canyon after 2:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, because of a large slide across the road. It was reported that 35,000 inches of water was being released from the dam all day Wednesday, but water levels raised until it overflowed the spillway.
Steep canyon walls were converted into actual waterfalls, dumping large volumes of water into the channel in the canyon below. A near capacity flow of water was being thrown into the flood control channel which empties behind Puddingstone dam. At the point where the water is released from the concrete channel at Puddingstone, the pressure was so great that the water was forced into the air higher than the channel itself.

Puddingstone Dam Sets Record

Water behind the Puddingstone dam was standing at the 54 foot level on Thursday afternoon, and a continued rise is expected as water is released from behind San Dimas and Live Oak dams. The lake has spread out in the basin until some of the trees in the citrus grove to the east are completely submerged. The basin now holds more water than ever before. Rivers of water are running into the reservoir from the flood control channels, the Pomona hills and the run-off passing through La Verne.
Pedestrian travel was almost impossible about the city. Practically all pedestrian planks were washed away and wading was the only possible way of crossing streets. College students, reduced to walking, donned shorts and walked bare foot, or wore boots about the school. No great damage was reported by the college, other than several severe leaks in the dormitory roof. The campus was under water for several hours, but water was kept out of basements, it was reported.

City Receives No Mail Service

Practically no mail entered or left La Verne all day Wednesday, and Thursday, since transportation facilities throughout the southland were disrupted by washouts. Electric lights were off in La Verne for several hours, and telephone communications were interrupted from time to time.
With semi-clearing skies yesterday morning, business men worked most of the day digging mud and debris from in front of their stores. A layer of mud an inch deep was deposited in the doorways on the south side of Third street, making pedestrian travel hazardous. Several inches of silt was deposited over sections of the City Park, which was turned into a lake Wednesday evening.
Although greatly inconvenienced, the people of La Verne assumed a jovial attitude as they cleared the debris, and prepared to open the town again for normal business.

New Year Flood of 1934 Does Less Damage Locally

The heavy rains of January 1934, and the rains of 1916, and one other are perhaps the only rainfalls that can be compared to that of the present week, according to any records available here. A. R. Peck, former Santa Fe agent, who had kept records of the rainfall year from 1888 until he was quoted in the La Verne leader in January, 1916, stated that “the recent rain of 10.08 inches was the heaviest rain for any one storm with the possible exception” of fifteen years before when ten inches fell in a day and a night.
In the flood of Jan. 17 and 18, 1916, the Leader files show that all railroad connection was broken for two or three days by washouts of many bridges and tracks. Thompson Creek and Live Oak Canyon both poured flood waters through the city, flooding especially the residence section at the west end. A torrent went down Firey Ave. and the Houdyshel and adjoining places were flooded. Especially heavy damage was done by Live Oak water to the groves of Hayes Wheeler, the Abbott grove (now owned by Will Gillette), F. G. Rosa, Hall, and Dr. Clark groves, where flood water carried out orange trees and ruined three or more acres of valuable orange groves. Pomona also suffered heavily in his storm.
The rainfall which did immense damage at Montrose and La Crescenta on the last day of December, 1933 and January 1, 1934, probably recorded the largest rainfall for a single 24-hour period. The measurement here was 9.66 inches. While immense damage was done elsewhere, very little loss was suffered in La Verne and vicinity.
The present storm was broken by a bright day on Tuesday, followed by a heavy downpour Tuesday night and Wednesday. It is possible that the total 11.19 inches is the heaviest rain for a single storm as it may be regarded, since records have been kept here.
The opening of the ditch passing through the Evergreen Ranch, and the opening of the flood gates of Live Oak dam sent the flood waters through the main streets of La Verne, the greater volume passing down E street and then west mainly on Fifth, Fourth and Third to D, where sand bags were necessary to protect the business houses from the flood.
Rainfall Recorded on LEADER Gauge
               Sunday                                    1.00
                                                Monday                                   1.52                   2.52
                                                Tuesday                                   1.77                   4.29
                                                Wednesday                              5.44                   9.73
                                                Thursday                                  1.46                 11.19
                                                            Total for season to date                        24.15
                                                Last Season                                                      23.11

Using fire hose to clean the 2300 block of D Street

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1927 Street Name and Building Number Changes

In December 1926 two City Ordinances were proposed to the La Verne City Board of Trustees (the governing body that preceded the City Council) regarding street name changes (No. 106) and building numbering (No. 107). These ordinances were approved and adopted at the Board’s meeting of January 3, 1927, and published in the La Verne Leader on January 6, 1927.

Ordinance No. 106 called for the changing of South 1st Street to Walnut Street and South 2nd Street to Orange Street. Here is the Leader article from January 6, 1927:

Ordinance No. 106 affected the people in only a few blocks, but No. 107 affected those people as well as every other building owner in the city. It called for a new numbering system throughout the city. The previous numbering system was similar to what San Dimas had and still has, a three (in a few areas, four) digit number with an east-west or north-south designation. Now, all numbers would be four digits. Here is the Leader article regarding Ordinance No. 107, published on January 6, 1927:

This article from the Leader, published on February 24, 1927, gives more details about the numbering system and how to determine the number of a building. There are a couple of errors in the sixth paragraph. It should read “Numbers on the north and west sides of the street will be odd, and those on the east and south will be even.”:

To help in my own research, as well what others may be doing, I have created a document that indicates La Verne building numbers before and after the 1927 numbering change. I haven’t completed it yet and there are no doubt errors in some of what I have done. Sometimes it appears that there was more than one number assigned to a building. Some buildings were built in 1926 and I have no record of the old number. Where there were vacant lots before 1927, and subsequent building took place, I have indicated the year of construction in parentheses. I hope to find more information as new sources come to my attention. I welcome any information or questions my readers might have. I intend to revise this from time to time, but here is what I have found so far (Six Pages):

Friday, April 4, 2014

La Verne Business Ads from 1946

I was born in 1946 in Park Avenue Hospital in Pomona at a time when my parents lived at 1970 Seventh Street in La Verne. I am posting a sampling of advertisements from various sources published that year for La Verne businesses.

Here is an ad for the First National Bank of La Verne from the 1946 Bonita High Echoes yearbook. The bank was located at 2307 “D” Street, now the site of Aoki Japanese Restaurant. The bank occupied that spot from 1910 until 1954 when a new building was built one block north at 2079 4th Street, now Bonita Avenue:

This ad for Baker’s Sweet Shop was published in the 1946 La Verne College Lambda yearbook. The building was replaced in 1980 by a two-story suite of offices and it now houses a variety of businesses:

The 1946 Bonita Echoes published this ad for Bishop’s Cleaners at 2336 “D” Street. That building now houses Wild Earth Spa:

The La Verne Leader ran this ad for La Verne Feed and Fuel on December 13, 1946. This building eventually became the La Verne Fire Station and was located where the parking lot for the present Fire Station now sits at the northeast corner of 3rd and "C" Streets. Note the sale of coal and coke for heating and cooking:

This ad for Everybody’s Garage was published in the April 12, 1946 issue of the La Verne Leader. The garage was located west of City Hall on property now occupied by the La Verne Public Safety Building:

The 1946 Bonita Echoes contained this ad for Chuck Overholtzer’s Insurance business. He was City Clerk at this time and had his business office at City Hall. City Hall at that time was located where the Police Station parking lot is now:

This ad, also from the 1946 Echoes, is for La Verne Malt Shop. It occupied the western-most building of the three buildings (2121, 2123 and 2125 3rd Street) that now house Henderson Insurance Services, 2123 3rd Street:

The 1946 La Verne College Lambda had this ad for Jack Chesney’s Tractor and Truck repair shop. It was located in a building that is now occupied by two businesses, Serendipity Spa Boutique (2134) and Chase’s Restaurant (2136):

This is the masthead from the December 13, 1946 issue of the La Verne Leader. A weekly newspaper, the Leader began in 1910 as the Lordsburg-La Verne Leader. In 1946 the Leader was located in an area that is now a driveway on the west side of the Telephone Building:

The Leader for April 12, 1946 ran this ad for the dental office of Dr. Worth. The building (2122 Bonita Avenue) is now occupied by a Mexican Restaurant:

In the same issue of the Leader is an ad for Smith Realty, across the alley to the east from Dr. Worth. The building is now occupied by La Verne Animal Hospital:

The 1946 Echoes carried this ad for Entre Naranjos Café, located at 1917 Foothill Blvd. Entre Naranjos is Spanish for Among Orange Trees. The café later became The Old Corral. The building is gone as are the orange trees. A building at the northwest corner of Emerald Avenue, numbered 1911 Foothill Blvd., houses several businesses and is located approximately where the café was:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The History of Palomares School in The La Verne Leader

I find that one of the best ways to present a history is to use contemporary writing like that which is found in local newspapers. The La Verne Leader began publication in 1910 as The Lordsburg-La Verne Leader, a newspaper that reported on happenings in the city of Lordsburg and the community of La Verne to the north. The newspaper changed its name in 1917 when Lordsburg became La Verne. The community to the north became La Verne Heights.

At the time the grammar school was built in about 1908, its main building was adequate for the number of pupils in the city. The new Sloyd or Manual Arts building that was added in 1913 would have opened up more classroom space in the main building.

This article from the June 6, 1921 issue of the Leader reports on the eighth grade graduation. One of my mom’s older brothers, Homer Jay Kreps, was in that class. There were 24 members. We will soon see an article about a later class to demonstrate the growth of the school.

As time went on, more people came to live in La Verne and it was deemed necessary to expand the main building. By 1922 it was decided to do this by adding a wing of classrooms on both the north and south sides of the old building and remodeling the main building to conform to the new structures. This architect’s drawing appeared in the Leader on March 23, 1922.

This article from the Leader issue of August 24, 1922 tells of the progress to date.

This article from the Leader for May 28, 1925 tells of the coming eighth grade graduation. My mom, Esther M. Kreps, was a member of that class of 33 pupils. Even though that is only nine more than in 1921, it is an almost 38 percent increase over that four year period.

This June 3, 1926 Leader article tells of newly hired teachers. Some of them had long careers in the district.

This July 1, 1926 Leader article tells of re-roofing the central building and a program of general improvement. However, something of more significance, historically, is the mention of the need to handle the overflow of pupils. There is a short-term solution to what is called “The Mexican Problem,” and also the proposal of an additional school.

This September 16, 1926 Leader article tells of the new principal’s program and the teachers for the coming year. You can see by some of the classes that there was already some segregation in the school.

Less than six months later on February 24, 1927 we find a Leader article telling of the decision to build a separate school for the Mexican children.

A week later, on March 3, 1927, we have the following Leader article about funding for the new school.

On March 31, 1927, the Leader ran an article about the new school giving details about construction and proposed costs.

In another post on this blog, these lines give more details about the new school:

In the spring of 1927 bonds for $25,000 were voted by the citizens and a new five room steel and tile building was constructed at the corner of “A” and Palomares streets, especially for the Mexican school population. All of the Mexican children were required to go to this school except those in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. According to law, a principal was appointed for each building, and the office of district superintendent was created.

On the new building $17,000 was expended and the remainder of the bond issue was spent in equipment and rearranging of the rooms of the Lincoln School. An auditorium was extremely necessary and the waste space in the central building of the Lincoln School, including one small classroom, was built into an auditorium with a nice stage and room for 200 people.

In this October 13, 1927 Leader article we find that the school was being used even before its completion. I apologize for the quality of this copy and hope everyone can read it. Let me know if you want clarification.

Palomares School, located at the Southwest corner of Palomares and "A" Streets, is shown at the bottom of this 1952 photo from the La Verne College Lambda yearbook. The L-shaped building was built in 1927 and the straight building below it was added in 1937. The large building to the east is Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, torn down in 1968 to allow for the widening of Arrow Highway.

Even though the school opened in the Fall of 1927, it was not named until 1928. Nor was the "D" Street school named Lincoln until that time, the two schools being referred to as Unit No. 1 and Unit No. 2 of the City Grammar School. This June 21, 1928 Leader article tells of the naming of the schools and the teachers assigned to each for the coming year.

Segregation of the elementary schools ended in 1947 and that Fall all children of the La Verne City School District in Kindergarten and grades one and two began attending Palomares School. Those in grades three through eight attended Lincoln School. In the Fall of 1949 a new primary school went into operation and Palomares School began being used for recreation and other purposes.

Friday, December 6, 2013

2111 Bonita Avenue

OneWest Bank, located at the Northeast corner of Bonita Avenue and "D" Street since 2009, occupies an area that has known only two types of businesses since construction of a new service station began on the previously vacant lots in late 1934.
This photo was taken by Joseph B. Bixler in 1930 from the tower of the Church of the Brethren, looking West. This is the intersection of Fourth (now Bonita Avenue)  and "D" Streets.
This ad was part of a New Year's greeting from the Merchants and Business Men of  La Verne that appeared in the La Verne Leader on December 28, 1934. Apparently this was a preview of things to come because the following article appeared in the February 8, 1935 edition of the Leader:

The proprietors of this station were Dwight Shirk and Joe Roynon. Shirk had been the operator of Court Auto Service at 2023 Third Street since 1930 and Joe Roynon was the brother of J. Marion Roynon.

Dwight Shirk operated the station until 1945 when we read this item:

Ben Wells' Christmas greeting appeared in the Leader on Christmas Eve 1948.

This photo of Ben Wells' Service Station was taken by my aunt Eunice Kreps from her back yard at 2130 Fifth Street after a snow storm in January 1949.

Henry Marshall, a retired Standard Oil employee, gets his windshield cleaned by Ben Wells in the early 1950s. The Historical Society acquired this photo from Marshall's great granddaughter.

On January 22, 1953, Del Myer announced in the La Verne Leader that he was assuming the management of La Verne Chevron along with Ted Todd. Del is pictured here in a 1959 ad from the La Verne College Lambda yearbook.

By 1960 Lewis Smith had taken over the station. This is an ad from the 1960 Lambda.
Lewis Smith (R) and his brother Robert breaking down tires in this ad from the 1964 Bonita High School Echoes yearbook.

   I believe that Smith had the station through 1965 when he sold the business to John Johnson. The July 17, 1968 issue of the Leader contained a notice that Johnson was selling the business to Terry Lambert and escrow would close on August 8. I believe that Lambert was the last owner of the business. In a column of the December 24, 1970 issue of the Leader, an announcement was made that the Chevron station was being torn down.
   In the legal notices of the Leader dated December 16, 1971, we find that the La Verne Planning Commission will be considering an application for a Conditional Use Permit, submitted by First Federal Savings and Loan Association of San Gabriel for a relocatable structure to be used as a temporary office. It was to be located at "D" Street and Bonita Avenue, with an address of 2111 Bonita Avenue.
   Dwight Shirk still owned the property until it was sold to the savings and loan.
   Federal Savings and Loan Association of San Gabriel Valley held a House-Warming party at their temporary office March 13 through April 10, 1972.

This photo from the May 11, 1972 issue of the Leader shows the Savings and Loan temporary office at the bottom.

First Federal customers received this letter in May 2000.

The bank became IndyMac Federal Bank in July 2008.

On March 19, 2009 IndyMac Federal Bank became OneWest Bank.