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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

FRANK ZAPPA: ‘Old Cucamonga’ book gives flavor of the town



At one time everybody in America knew the word Cucamonga, if only because the funny-sounding place name was a punchline for radio and movie comics. For nearly all of those listeners, Cucamonga may have been less a spot on a map than a state of mind.

Paula Emick grew up in Arcadia in the 1960s, where her parents would say “way out in Cucamonga” to indicate a locale that was off the beaten path.

“To me it was like Oz. I didn’t think it was a real place,” Emick recalled.

Emick later moved to Rancho Cucamonga, which became a decidedly real place after voters decided to incorporate as a city in 1977.

Now, she’s the author of possibly the first book devoted to Cucamonga proper. (As it’s a real place, her book is non-fiction.)

“Old Cucamonga” is the title, and it’s one in a vast series of slender books under the Images of America imprint. They are collections of old photos with captions rather than text-heavy histories. Most of our cities are the subject of one or two.

Emick, an educator with a long interest in history and genealogy, asked about a local history book when she and her husband moved here in 1989. She was surprised to learn there wasn’t one.

While there are now books about Alta Loma and Etiwanda, the other two towns that joined to form the city, she said there was nothing specifically about the third town, Cucamonga.

That’s why, after compiling “Rancho Cucamonga,” a 2011 Images of America book, as an overview, she plotted out books on the three towns — and started with Cucamon


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