Route 66 in the News

Car Enthusiasts are Being Invited to get their Kicks on Route 66

2011-07-15 16:06:05

The California Historic Route 66 Association and the Route 66 S.O.S. Committee are hosting an inaugural Cucamonga Classic Car Show on July 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Magic Lamp Inn, 8180 Foothill Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga.

It's a match made in heaven for those who know their history. And for those who don't, the event is part of a campaign to introduce and promote local Inland Valley history to residents and visitors.

First, here are some simple facts. Route 66 is known as the Mother Road linking Chicago to Santa Monica, which once served as one of the main avenues to get across country and it went right through the Inland Valley. Route 66 picks up near Needles and runs to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. Along the 320-mile stretch, it winds itself through California's deserts, mountains, cities and beaches.

It still does. Locally, it's called Foothill Boulevard. Yep, the road made famous in movies and songs and the one that brought so many people to the Golden State runs right through the cities of San Bernardino, Rialto, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Claremont, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas and Glendora.

"Route 66 was built around the automobile and this year marks its 85th anniversary. It all just makes sense," said Ed Dietl, long-time Rancho Cucamonga resident and history fan.

He's a member of the board of directors of the Cooper Regional Museum in Upland, the founder of the Historical Preservation Association of Rancho Cucamonga and the vice president of the Victorville to Pomona segment of the famous route with the California Historic Route 66 Association. The association is so large that it is divided into three segments.

"What we want to do is bring back the fun and enjoyment of Route 66. Traveling along it really gives you a view of what this area and our country was once like. We want people to get off the freeways and see our communities," Dietl said.

Nostalgia aside, he said, the campaign to preserve and promote Route 66 also means business -- as in the promotion of those located on the road.

"We want people to bring their business to those whose businesses are located on Route 66 or in our case Foothill Boulevard. They can learn about our communities and help them out business-wise," he said. "If another 100 people came down off the 15 Freeway and used Route 66/Foothill Boulevard, that would represent a big jump for our businesses."

Dietl has lived in the area for the past 40 years and is a huge fan of its past. When the licensed contractor became concerned about an old building being torn down six years ago, he made some inquiries and was surprised to learn more people weren't showing an interest in preserving local history, that of Route 66 and beyond.

"So we started the Historical Preservation Association of Rancho Cucamonga because over the years I've seen the communities locally change and history being lost," said Dietl.

One of the tag lines of the nonprofit is "Don't Pave It, Save It." The group of like-minded individuals does what it can to promote local history. One of Dietl's personal goals is to and save the historic 1915 Richfield Service Station in Rancho Cucamonga, located on Foothill Boulevard. He said the almost 100-year-old site is eligible for National Historic Registry consideration.

"I'd also like to see more highway signage that tells people that Route 66 and Foothill Boulevard are the same thing. I'd eventually like to see Foothill Boulevard renamed as the historic Route 66. There's so much to do and I think if people just knew about it they would want to help. My wife and I travel a lot and Route 66 is known throughout the world. There are many car clubs in Europe who want to plan trips along Route 66," he said.

But for now, the goal is to get 100 owners of classic cars, pre-1975, to register for the show. The cost is $30 per vehicle. Each entrant can enjoy a delicious free buffet lunch from the Magic Lamp Inn. Non-entrants can enjoy the lunch for $20.

Entertainment will be by Mark Burnet. There will be games, raffles and prizes. Twelve old gas-pump style trophies will be awarded for categories from Ladies Choice to the Best of Show. Admission to the show is free.

~Suzanne Sproul,


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