Route 66 in the News

Touring Route 66 East of L.A.

2010-10-28 20:26:27

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY, Calif. - For westbound Route 66 travelers headed for "the good life in Southern California," reaching the San Gabriel Valley city of La Verne, some 35 miles east of Los Angeles, must have been a milestone.

Founded in 1887 and incorporated in 1906, the town was originally called "Lordsburg," after Isaac Wilson Lord who made a fortune selling his real estate holdings when the Santa Fe Railway extended its line to the area. In 1916, the name was changed to La Verne after a promoter of nearby La Verne Heights.

With the commissioning of Route 66 -- which ribboned through the citrus ranches of La Verne -- garages, restaurants and motor courts sprung up, as they did in many towns along the route. Today there are remnants of those entities as a reminder of the glory days of the Mother Road, such as La Paloma Restaurant at 2975 Foothill Blvd. Once called "Wilson's Restaurant," it has been serving travelers since 1966.

Today, Foothill Boulevard motorists passing under the 210 Freeway find themselves in the Wild West town of San Dimas, originally known as "Mud Springs." In addition to treasuring its Route 66 legacy, this town has revived its western history, which is evident in the old west architecture displayed in the downtown area, including wooden sidewalks and false wood storefronts.

A favorite steakhouse on America's Highway is located in San Dimas. Pinnacle Peaks, 269 W. Foothill Blvd., is a landmark of the Wild West kind, anchored by a wagon train. It sits on the site of an old Wells Fargo stage stop and has been serving travelers for more than four decades. And gentlemen, don't wear a tie to this establishment, or it will be clipped off and hung on the wall.

Just west of San Dimas is a town that has proved itself to be earnestly dedicated to preserving its Route 66 history. The city of Glendora undertook the monumental step of re-adopting the street name of "Route 66" and subbing it formally, retiring the street signs for "Alosta Avenue." This trend is often bucked by businesses and residents because of the paperwork and cost inherent in such a name change, but Glendora did the deed, adding credibility to its Route 66 highway markers.

Established in 1887 when the railroad arrived, Glendora blossomed when its portion of Route 66 was officially dedicated. While old motor courts, cafes and garages have largely disappeared from the scene, some survived as viable businesses; most have vanished.

Of the many Mother Road establishments celebrated on the Route, the Golden Spur Restaurant, 1223 E. Route 66, remains a favorite, still in business after 80 years. No longer is it a hamburger stand on a dirt road where classic cars and horses once graced its quarters. Today patrons enjoy a little peek into the ambience enjoyed during quieter days gone by.

~Claudia Heller,


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