Inland Empire Wrap-Up

Sorry, my pesky day-job has really gotten in the way of my final post!  Gotta earn that gas money.  It’s hovering around $4 here in SoCal — and Sparkle is a bit of a guzzler.  But I’ll make the wait worth it I hope with a double dose of photos.  No photos of the dogs on this trip.  It was just way too hot to be fooling with them much.  I saw some  photo-ops but the pavement was way too hot to torture them.  I ran them in the early morning and end of the day.  It’s so nice to be home at the foggy beach!

If it’s rusty crusty signs that you like, I’ve got plenty of them.  Let’s start with a couple from La Verne.  This is now Fairplex Liquor but the sign still hovers in the background:



The La Verne entrance to the Pomona fairgrounds:



Back to Pomona — a still-operating trailer park.  Although the neon’s gone, the sign still has a lot of class:



The Mr. Milkbottle sign in Pomona is still there — missing some letters and neon:



From Upland.  The text panel’s a bore — but, oh, that arrow!



I was happy to FINALLY check this place out in Rancho Cucamonga.   It’s been on my list for years.  Around 2005, Victoria Gardens, a modern kinda upscale shopping center, was built.  To create a sense of “layered history”, they installed a dozen or so vintage signs here and there.  I have no idea who collected the signs or where they came from.  They’re installed high enough so as not to confuse customers about what is sold in what store.  But being up-high presented photo-taking challenges because of trees and the angle of the sun.  I’ll give you a few here and then the rest of the collection at my website in a month or so.

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Onward to Riverside,  I’d love to know what was in those circles.  And some of the holes at the top of the sign don’t match the tubing for George’s — so probably another name originally:


George’s has a BIG canopy:



More Riverside.  Looks like the Square Dance Center adapted this CowTown USA sign.



Tio’s Tacos.  Known for not only its Mexican food — but for the incredible sculpture garden.  Fun stuff!!  This is just a tiny sampling.  For more about the place, check out this link:

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There are two structures at Tio’s Tacos built out of bottles.  This is the chapel:


A detail of the bottle butts from the exterior:


and an interior shot showing the bottle necks & other stuff:


If you like bottle houses, I’ve got a bunch over at my website here:


Still in Riverside.  A crusty but wonderful Shakey’s sign.  The red has faded to pink.  Sssshhh — don’t let “corporate” know about it!  Notice the neon that spells out “Shakey’s” on the side of the sign.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.  This photo link shows that the sign was lit in 2009 — so it might still be now:



The weekend’s most adorable discovery — still Riverside.  A barn-shaped sign…



…with barn-shaped units.  Looks like probably apartments (or less) now.  A forbidding gate around the property:



I’ve seen a few of these giant old Stater Bros. supermarket signs in SoCal.   But most of the stores have updated them with modern boring signs.  This one in Riverside had TWO of these older neon signs:



On to Rialto.  A nice, long-legged fella.  When a canopy gets this big, is it a roof?  A Canoof?



And now we’re in San Bernardino for the duration of this post.  This one’s got lots of nuances — so give it more than a glance.  Note the way the sign post splits from the top.  The irregular shape of the “San Bernardino” part, the angle of the roof, etc.



Dib’s has been around since 1926!  I don’t know how old the sign is.



This is a fancy “used car” lot — with all restored classic cars.  Appropriately, a fenced lot — and the place was closed on a late Sunday which made this the only angle I could shoot this sign at:



A fun building — no idea of the original use:



and the next door neighbor:



Previously (and probably originally) the Sharene Motel (the tubing holes seem to match):

But I think I like this wild paint job better:



And finally, this nice complex design ends our tour:




I hope you enjoyed tagging along.  The dogs and I will be back on the road for another weekend in a couple of weeks.  Probably more Orange County stuff.  Til then — enjoy what’s left of summer!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out some other photos from this trip over at Ipernity:

25 thoughts on “Inland Empire Wrap-Up

  1. Tio’s Tacos shots are freaking amazing. you know i love those glass houses you have been photographing for years.

    sort of just totally blown away by the fact that the Shakey’s sign, in 5 years, is so faded and wan looking. if there’s ever an argument for preservation and restoration, that’s it!

    so glad you’re posting and able to take some of these little mini jaunts!



    • Re: Shakey’s. I assume it’s the heat and sun there — and probably some cheap paint used during a repainting. Porcelain enamel signs (baked-on paint) from the 1950s and before that don’t fade & the color holds up.

  2. Oh, the milk bottle! He almost appears to have googly-eyes. 😉 And the Tio Taco’s stuff…very cool. There’s always almost too much to talk about in your posts, they’re such fun to peruse!

    • Yes, Mr. Milkbottle is one of those sweet signs that will just quietly disappear one day.

      I passed a lot of platefuls of food at Tio’s — looked pretty good!

      Glad you’re enjoying tagging along. I’ve got to start putting together the list for the next ones already (just two weeks away) — and then Labor Day right after that. With three days off, how could I sit at home?

  3. George’s lights up at night, but barely. The neon was repaired, and it shone brightly for a short time, but it is back to where it was before now. I think it may have something to do with how low to the ground the sign is, easy for vandals to get.

    I believe the Farmhouse is vacant, it had been for a couple years. I think something sketchy was going on there. 6 or so years ago I pulled into the parking lot to take a photo of the fantastic sign (it used to have smaller signs attached, hanging from the bottom) and got chased out by the proprietor.

    The Stater Bros. neon is a wonderful pink, they turn the signs on well before sunset so it’s possible to catch them with a beautiful sky in the background. There’s another great/similar Stater Bros. sign in Newport Beach, right where the 55 freeway ends. You likely already knew this =)

    • Thanks for the input! I was probably too quick at the Farmhouse to get yelled at. Too bad!

      I know I’ve seen those Stater signs recently on these L.A. & Orange County trips. Could have been Newport Beach but I was too braindead to shoot them or write anything down.

  4. Popping back in to let you know that I drove by the Shakey’s sign today. Someone must’ve told corporate, because the sign is freshly painted and there was a fellow up on a cherry picker working on it. You made it just in time!

  5. At last, confirmation on the Shakey’s sign…. It has been repainted and the neon completely repaired and replaced. I have yet to get a photo of it at night, though I am happy to report that it’s alive and well.

  6. I’m one of those sign guys. In fact, I went to look at that CowTown sign today. Someone liked it so much they ran into it. I’m going to try to save it. I have people telling me to recommend that the owner pull it and toss it. Yeah, that’s never going to be my recommendation. Although it’s not looking too good. Hoping to get the community involved in it’s salvation. Wish me luck..

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