Lying at the
base of the San Gabriel Mountains, the 200 square mile valley that was
once primarily agricultural, is today highly developed into a diverse
urban area. Steeped in history, the drive through the valley
provides an abundance of museums, historical landmarks, roadside peeks,
and entertainment for a new generation of
travelers. To the north of the valley, in the San Gabriel Mountains,
adventurous travelers can find find hiking trails, camping, water sports,
and old mining towns among the forests and canyons.
San Dimas - A Slice of the
the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys, San Dimas was first called Mud Springs when people began to settle
there in the early 1800’s. Part of the Rancho San Jose, the last Spanish
land grant, the area was swampy, hence its nickname.
was officially formed by the San Jose Ranch Company when the railroad
came through in 1887 and the community’s name was changed to San Dimas to reflect the San Dimas Canyon to the north. E.M. Marshall opened the
first business – a hardware store at the corner of Bonita and Depot
of the town sites along the railroad, a hotel was built for the
expected rush of settlers. However, the land boom lasted only two
short years before collapsing in 1889, without the San Dimas Hotel ever
having had a single visitor. This historic building is the only one of
the many hotels along the line from
that has survived into modern times. When the hotel failed, it
was purchased by the J.W. Walker family whose family occupied the home
for six generations, from 1889 to 1978. After a stint as a restaurant,
the old hotel was listed on the National
Register of Historic places, and is now owned by the City of San Dimas.
Also known as the Walker House, Carruthers Home and the San Dimas
the historic landmark is located just north of the intersection of
Bonita Avenue and San Dimas
San Dimas developed as an agricultural center like the
many other small towns along the railroad. After trying out
several different crops, area farmers recognized that oranges, lemons,
and avocados did the best. At one time, the city boasted four
citrus packing houses and a marmalade factory. It was here that
the Sunkist name, originally spelled "Sunkissed," originated. The
San Dimas Feed Company, established in 1897, continues
to operate today and is the oldest business in the city.
Unfortunately, by the 1950’s the citrus trees were suffering from a
disease and the quiet agricultural life came to an end as groves were
cleared for housing tracts.
today prides itself in its heritage, especially that of the
West. In the 1970’s a "Western Village” concept was developed for the
downtown core, complete with wooden sidewalks and false wood
storefronts for a frontier look. In the fall each year,
hosts a rodeo at Horsethief Canyon Park along with Western days, and a
myriad of equestrian paths exist throughout the city.
peeks can be seen at the
Train Depot, which now serves as a museum, located on Bonita Avenue at
the west end of Old Town; the old hotel, called the Walker House
today, is just north
the intersection of Bonita and
Avenues; and the Chamber of Commerce located in the
historic Martin House at
246 East Bonita Avenue.
San Dimas, a "must stop" if
you're hungry is the Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse at 269 W. Foothill
Boulevard. Here, you will find great mesquite-broiled steaks in an Old