The San Gabriel Valley on
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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
Boasting a wagon train in its parking lot, Pinnacle
Peak's has been serving great food to travelers of the Mother Road
for decades. But, know going in, that this is no "fancy" place. In fact, if you where a tie in here, you'll soon find it dangling from the
ceiling with hundreds of other ties "donated" by the many other patrons
who made the same mistake.
Route 66 Proud
Within just a few blinks you will know have
entered Glendora, very easily the proudest
town along this stretch of the vintage highway. Dotted with signs
and businesses named for the famous road, Glendora was the first city in
to change the name of its main street, which was Alosta Avenue, back to
was first settled by two former confederate soldiers by the name of John
Bender and Bryant Cullen in 1874 when both were homesteading 160 acres. Soon more families moved into the area and when the railroad came through
in 1887, the town was laid out and given the name "Glendora”
by a large land owner by the name of George Whitcomb. The name was
coined from the glen behind his home and his wife’ name, "Ledora.”
The new settlers began
to plant castor beans, wheat, potatoes, and the ever present citrus
groves. By the turn of the century,
become the center of the citrus industry, shipping product all over the
world. Over the years, the city continued to grow and orchards were
replaced with new homes and businesses.
In addition to Glendora's new signs and businesses along the
the city continues to sport several vintage views of an earlier time along
At 1223 E.
you will find the Golden Spur Restaurant that has a history dating back
more than eighty years. Though its "new" stucco exterior belies its long
history, the Golden Spur began as a ride-up hamburger stand for the
equestrian crowd. Today, the old restaurant offers a full menu of steak
and seafood, but its vintage neon sign, complete with a cowboy boot,
remains as a reminder of its colorful past.
On the southwest corner of the intersection of Route 66
and Loraine hides a 1940’s gas station. Unless you stop and look for
this wonderful relic, camouflaged by a tall evergreen hedge and a chain
link fence, you'll never see it. A bit further down the road at 437 E
look for the old
Alta-Dena Dairy painted in a myriad of vibrant colors and
at 619 W.
you will see the Palm Tropics, one of the best maintained old motels along
Glendora also sports a quaint downtown district where several of its
buildings haven’t changed for more than a century.
Glendora offers several
annual festivities that celebrate its rich heritage such as the Flashback
to the ’50s, the Great
Glendora Festival and the
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