Resurrecting the Mayfair Hotel

So last week, the new owner of the Mayfair Hotel gave myself and the Enchantress of Alvarado a tour of the place. After the previous owner’s attempts to gut the building and restore it to some degree of it’s former glory, the new owner expects to finish the job and with a sparkle! Upon completion it will have a bar in the basement, a restaurant and shops on the first floor and housing for married students at Western University in the rest of the building.

I don’t have a useful digital camera, and so I was going to go with a fellow Pomona blogger, Ren, but for some reason every time I try to rendezvous with hir we just can’t seem to cross paths. This time, I wasn’t sure again, so as backup, the Enchantress of Alvarado joined me. Ever since hearing that I was going to get a tour, the Enchantress has been so excited and wanting to join me for the tour, so ze did. This time again, Ren and I were passing ships in the night, but I fortunately had backup (the Enchantress), for all the photos you see. Ren does have a most fabulous Pomona photo blog which you must absolutely check out if you haven’t seen it already.

My Invitation

When I first came to Pomona over nine years ago, one of the first places I went was to the Mayfair Hotel. I was looking for a dentist and while riding the local bus around a bit I remembered seeing a dental office on the first floor along that particular bus line, so I dropped on in and got my teeth cleaned, etc. For quite a few years I would go to my dentist there at the Mayfair and then they finally told hir that they were renovating the place so they kicked hir out and ze just moved down, further south on Garey.

While at the recent Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival at the Fairplex, I ran into one of the family who had purchased the place and we hit it off great, then the next day I was going to the second day of the festival and while bicycling through the neighborhood ran into a couple of neighbors who were talking about the family’s recent purchase of the hotel (that’s when I first found out about it), and then a while later, while docenting for the Pomona Historic Home Tour, the same family member I’d hit it off with was docenting at the same house I was at and ze invited me to get a tour in the coming weeks so I could write a story for my blog! I felt totally honored.

So last weekend, we met up with that family member’s spouse, John Speidel, and ze showed us all around this wonderful building in downtown Pomona!

The Renovation

When we arrived, we went in through the back entrance and noticed that at present, pretty much the building has been gutted down to the studs on every floor. Their goal in the coming months is to bring it up to present building codes, and flesh-out the interior according to their plans, but to restore as much of the historical aspects of the building that they are able to. Keeping the building, especially the windows and exterior historically accurate is very important to them – which I think we can all definitely appreciate. During the tour, one of the primary thoughts on my mind was, with such an awful trend to tear down beautiful old buildings in Pomona – good for them for bringing this icon of the city back to life.

The Enchantress was beyond wide-eyed and bushy tailed, and while I was getting a tour, ze just went crazy with hir camera, snapping pictures of anything and everything. Ze is an imagineer at Disney and uber enamored about the physical design of things. While I talked with our host, ze actually just wandered all over snapping photos.

In so far as the moving and the shaking details go, on March 1st of this year, they put in their bid for the building, there was a process of getting a whole bunch of signatures that they had to go through, in July they got title of the building, and since then all the engineering and architecture plans have been finished, they’ve been submitted to the city for approval, and once that is done, which they are expecting by the close of November, they’re planning to whip out the hammers and nails and get to it!

All portions of the building will be rented out. There is going to be a bar in the basement, and a restaurant encompassing most of the first floor. John says ze’s naming the bar “Cheers.” Ze told me of how ze so much enjoyed the days at a restaurant in Pomona called Orlandos. It was a steakhouse on Holt, past Dudley, and how every time they’d have have a successful missile launch, people would go there to celebrate. It sounded like ze wants to return some of those joyful feelings of celebration to our city through this new restaurant. In my conversation with hir, ze said, “I just live to have fun.”

As nearly all of our relations have become menippean phatic communion — don’t we all.

As mentioned, married student housing will be from the second floor up. The apartments will each be 1 1/2 bedrooms at $1100 a month, including water and electric, and wired with the latest and greatest so people can connect easily electronically from their dwellings, the apartments will all be 100% electric, no gas, and there’s going to be solar-electric panels on the roof of the Mayfair to help power the place too!!!! Totally cool!

Of other details:

• the main staircase going from the first to the second floor will be moved so as to go from the first floor to the basement,
• the old elevator looked pretty much gone – they’ll be putting in a new one in a slightly different location,
• one of the staircases will also be accompanied by an innovative moving landing for the less-abled to take the stairs,
• they’re going to keep all the old style windows, but amazingly make them all double paned!,
• 3/4 inch of concrete will be poured on every floor for sound proofing, and
• where the old I-beams hang too low for contemporary codes, they’re going to cut into them and weld into the old beams, higher strength steel that is smaller.

Innovations galore!

Hotel History

John also told me a bit of the history of the hotel. Built in 1915, the hotel was where many a movie star would stay while they attended the opening for their films at the Fox Theater kitty corner across the street. Lucille Ball even stayed at the hotel for hir honeymoon!!!!

Also, the building is really old, so when you see some of the pictures we took, a couple are just full of orbs (some believe orbs to be spirit folk!). Either they were attracted to laughter, or they just wanted to get in the pictures! Maybe the movie stars want stardom once again. lol!

All I can say after getting this tour is that I am so glad that someone has stepped up to restore this gem of a building. The Enchantress and I are always talking about how Pomona is coming up in the world, and it truly is. Another diamond restored.

Look out world, here comes Pomona!

This is the main staircase leading from the first and second floors which will be moved to go from the first floor to the bar in the basement. This picture also has orbs!
Looking west along the south wall on the first floor.
This a cool old radiator in the basement.
This is a large open area in the back part of the building which will eventually be filled out so the second floor will extend into this space. Orbs galore.
A stairway between the floors.
Here you can see the original studs for the walls, separating the rooms of the hotel.
Fire escape.
The back side of the Mayfair Hotel.
We’ll look forward to the delightful restoration of this genuine Pomona landmark!

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