Monday, March 15, 2010

Ontario, California - Charles Phoenix, Graber Olives, and Thunderbird Lanes

Before we jump into our tour of vintage Ontario, we'd like to begin the wrap up of our Palm Springs trip with a few thank you's.

First, a huge thanks to everyone that stopped by to say hello and pick up t-shirts at the Charles Phoenix show and the following day at the Vintage Airstream show. We truly appreciate it!

We'd also like to say thank you so much to Jacques Caussin, Nickie McLaughlin, and Christy Eugenis from the Board of Modernism Week for letting us be a part of the show. We had an amazing time and can't wait for 2011! And a tremendous thank you to Charles Phoenix for spending a Sunday showing us the sights and sharing the history of his hometown of Ontario.

On to the field trip!

Our first stop of the day was at the Ontario Museum of History & Art. Housed in Ontario's second city hall, the museum has a wonderful collection of local artifacts on display. A few of our favorites were the items from the former Hotpoint factory, the Road Ways exhibit, and the neon sign from the former Thunderbird Lanes.

One of the highlights of the Hotpoint display was seeing the great product names once used by the company. Can you imagine the buzz at the dinner party once you announced you were now the proud owner of a brand new "El Stovo"?

Happy Hotpoint. Most famously portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore in the Hotpoint commercials of 1954. We're calling dibs on this outfit for Halloween 2010!

The mighty Thunderbird! When we began our initial research on Thunderbird Lanes as one of our t-shirt designs, we were thrilled to discover the museum now housed the sign. We'd been looking forward to seeing the sign in person and have to say, seeing a 17' wide neon Thunderbird at eye level is quite an experience. (If you'd like to see how our Thunderbird Lanes t-shirt turned out you can click here.)

The museum is open Thursday - Sunday and admission is free. If you're ever in the area it's well worth a stop. You can find more information on their website here.

Our next stop was Graber Olives. In business since 1894, Graber's is the type of place we love to visit. We're huge fans of "factory" tours and the tour of Graber's did not disappoint. Along the tour we saw how the olives were cured, canned, and labeled as well as hearing stories of the people behind the olives past and present. Two of our favorite parts of the tour were the equipment they still use, which dates to the 1940s, and Betty, our tour guide.

Tours are offered throughout the year along with group tours by request. You can learn more about Graber at their website located here.

Below, Betty explains how the labeling machine (over her right shoulder) operates.

A shot of one of their prize winning boxes designed by artist Rex Brandt.

We wrapped up our day in Ontario at Vince's Spaghetti - an Ontario institution since opening in September of 1945 as an open air French Dip stand. According to Vince's website they "serve over 9000 meals a week, over 1500 miles of spaghetti each year, and over 21 tons of spaghetti every month."

Below, Charles shares his tips on making the most of a visit to Vince's with Mrs. Roadside as well as trying to convince her that his dubbing of us as "Jelly" is a win-win for everyone.

After a great day around Ontario we pointed the car north and headed back to Vintage Roadside World Headquarters - with a few detours along the way.

Mini Jake stretches his legs in the pet area of a highway rest stop.

Hope everyone had a nice start to their week,

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside


Adri said...

I'm so so glad you went to Graber Olives, they make the ONLY olives I like to eat... I always like to take out of town folks there to the tour & gift shop!
I wasn't aware of the Ontario museum, looks like I'll have to make a little trip up there soon! Thanks for sharing!

~ Adri (hulahoney & thegirlblogger)

Vintage Roadside said...

Adri - The Graber tour was fantastic! It was our first time trying them, but needless to say we brought a few cans home :-)

The museum was really great. Well worth a trip over for you.

Thanks for giving the blog a read!

BC Computer Repair Ontario said...

I grew up in Ontario Ca. Now it's home to an indoor mall. I'm still wondering why they parked victoria gardens so close. The Apple computer store there rocks!