Saturday, July 14, 2007

Donahoo's Donawhere?

Did you know that Pomona is not the only city where you can find a Donahoo's?

Donawhat? Yes, it's true, a Donahoo's can also be found in Ontario, and Riverside. The Riverside location even features the same funky rooster. In Riverside, the rooster sits on their roof, as opposed to Pomona where he is proudly perched up high on their sign. The only location to get a glowing review by the local bbq and greasy spoon reviewer was our very own Pomona location. Pomona was noted for chicken that was crunchier, spicier and cooked longer than the other two locations.

David Allen's column this week nominated the Pomona Donahoo's chicken to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World:

"Wonders here, too!
By David Allen, Columnist
Dated 7-10-07

NO WONDER: Well, the new Seven Wonders of the World have been announced, and immediately the choices - including the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum and Machu Picchu - proved controversial.

Especially at my desk.

Where is the Inland Valley in all this?

Sure, the Taj Mahal is beautiful. But do you mean to tell me it's more inspiring than the fiberglass steer watching over Sunny's Food Mart in Upland?

Or take the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. Compare it to the Donahoo's Chicken rooster in Pomona, which perches high above the street and is visible from blocks away. Honestly, which one makes your pulse beat a little faster?

(When author Charles Phoenix spoke in March at the Pomona Library, he said of the Donahoo poultry: "It's practically the Statue of Liberty of Pomona.")

So that's two down. Any other nominations for the Seven Wonders of the Inland Valley, readers? Send 'em to the addresses at the end of this column, and feel free to bolster your case with a photo."

You can read David Allen's whole column here. By popular demand, I've also added a link to his column on my sidebar.

I would have to agree with the idea that the Donahoo's Chicken rooster is the Statute of Liberty of Pomona. But this got me worried about whether the Donahoo's Chicken rooster is protected as an historic landmark. I believe it would be, because it is located within the Lincoln Park Historic District, but does anyone know for sure?

Felix the Cat, off the Harbor Freeway near U.S.C., did not have historic status until this past Thursday when preservationists finally prevailed against developers backed by quite a political force. The Times covered the victory here. Felix got lucky. Roosters, on the other hand, don't usually have nine lives, much less one whole one. Let's hope the Donahoo's Chicken rooster is an exception.


John Clifford of Pomona Heritage said...

Goddess of Pomona receieved the following email from John Clifford of Pomona Heritage regarding Donahoo's, which he agreed to let me publish here:

"At this time I don't believe that it has any protections at all. While it is on the periphery of the Lincoln Park national and local historic district, the district is only made up of the contributing residential homes in the neighborhood.

I'm unsure of the actual age of the rooster, but can say that historic guidelines in the city and nationally usually only cover things that are 50 years or older. However, should Donahoos decide to remove the chicken (and we found out about it) I'm sure there would be a Hue and Cry over it.

Unfortunately it wasn't among the candidates for "7 Wonders of the Modern World" and I don't think that David Allen's list has any official role in the designation of historic monuments. So, I don't believe that there is any current protection for the rooster.

If you and your readers should decide to mount an effort to have it designated under the Pomona Historic Preservation code, we'd be more than happy to testify on your group's behalf at the designation meeting. We have the criteria and other designation information listed on our web site
Please feel free to contact me or anyone else at Pomona Heritage should you need any additional information/assistance for this or any other issue regarding Pomona's historic resources. Please also remember that our sister organization, Historical Society of the Pomona Valley and their president Mickey Gallivan are also very friendly and helpful.

As a family blog you might want to visit and report on the Historical Society's museum in the old Pomona Ebell club on Holt. A very interesting venue."
-John Clifford, Pomona Heritage
(Please note that links to both Pomona Heritage and the Pomona Historical Society are on the blog's sidebar.)

me said...

Last Saturday, only hours after making the Donahoo's post, I went to the local comic book shop where they happened to be eating a big old box of Donahoo's. I was offered a piece, so I finally got to try that "golden chicken." It was pretty tasty, although I've nothing to compare it with given that it's been years since I've eaten KFC or Churches' or any non-ethnic fried chicken.

I was told by the group at the comic book store that Donahoo's storefront used to be a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop until the early 1980's when it became Donahoo's. I find this hard to belive, given the circa 1967 look of the sign. The group of people who told me this have lived in Pomona their whole lives, so I have to think they're right.

Was the chicken moved from somewhere else at that time, I wonder?

calwatch said...

Well, Baskin Robbins used to be next to Donahoo's for the longest time. (That is why that wooden bench is there, if it's still there.) Maybe that is where the confusion was. If you are talking about the comic book shop in the Flower Lane/Prudential Overall Supply plaza, that has never been Donahoo's, by my memory.

Donahoo's has been owned by Chinese immigrants for as long as I've lived here, which is since 1989. I remember winning some BS award in fifth grade and we stopped by to collect the prize at Donahoo's. They gave out a lot more than was promised on the coupon.

me said...

You're right about BAskin Robbins being next door, calwatch -- at least according to the daughter of the original owner (who has emailed me and who I plan to interview for yet another Donahoo's post). She remembers many a 31 flavor ice cream cone as she hung out at Dad's chicken place. He was irish, last name Donahoo. More to follow.

Oh and the comic book store was just where I was talking to the people who erroneously told me Donahoo's used to be a BAskin Robbins.