Empire on Route 66 - Page 3
California - At the Base of the Foothills
Soon you will arrive at
Upland, which was first called North Ontario when George and W.B. Chaffey
arrived in the area in 1882. Immigrating from Canada, the pair
sought to build a new colony and found the perfect place on the lush and
fertile ground set against the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
After purchasing the land, the began to plan their new settlement. In May, 1906, the city was officially incorporated with the name of
Upland. The area was quickly transformed into a thriving
agricultural center, with most of its population involved with the
production, shipping or processing of citrus fruit and grapes.
Today, Upland has developed into a
residential and retail community which continues to retain its charm from
a great neon sign can be seen at the Taco King at 1317 E. Foothill
Boulevard and a classic 1950's style McDonald's stands on the
southeast corner of Benson Avenue at 1590 Foothill Boulevard. These
classic arches are one of the few that remain from our vintage past.
An absolute "must stop” in
Upland is the vintage Buffalo
where buffalo burgers have been served since 1929. Here, in this frontier saloon atmosphere, you can enjoy a burger and a brewsky in a laidback atmosphere before continuing your journey
westward. The Buffalo Inn is located at 1814 W. Foothill
Claremont - City of
Getting nearer and
nearer to downtown
Angeles, Claremont is just some thirty-five miles this side of the city
center. Best known for its seven colleges, tree-lined streets,
and historic buildings, the town began as one of the many town sites
that were laid out between
Bernardino and Los Angeles by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1887.
The same year, the
first of the city’s colleges – Pamona College was established. The
"New England style” school became the center of the community that
grew up around it, reflecting much of the founders’ New England
Citrus ranches soon
spread out around the college and before long the town sported four
citrus packing houses. In addition to its many orchards, the
town also began to build more and more colleges, until today, the
Claremont Colleges Consortium includes
undergraduate colleges, two graduate institutions and a central
organization that provides services shared by all students, faculty,
The orchards continued to thrive until
after World War II when demand for residential development caused many
growers to sell their land. Today, the town, with a population
of about 35,000 residents, displays its heritage in its many historic
buildings which provide a wide variety of architectural periods.
While in Claremont you can visit the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden on the
right side of
just before the intersection with Indian Hill Boulevard.
Just beyond sits the Claremont Griswold Center at the northwest corner of Indian Hill and
Foothill Boulevards. Here, you can find a theatre, art, shops and
restaurants in a 1911 Art Deco school building.
While not on Route 66, Claremont's Padua Hills Theatre is a
Landmark catering to visitors since 1930. Built as a centerpiece for
local artists, the Spanish-Colonial building entertained its patrons up
until the early 1970's when the City of Claremont purchased the property. Today, it serves as a banquet
and meeting facility sitting on six acres of land amongst olive trees, a
beautiful central courtyard and magnificent landscaping. This
historic building is located north of Route 66 at the base of the
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park at 4467 Via Padova.
California - Goddess of Fruit
As you continue on, Foothill Boulevard curves
slightly to the right when entering Pomona, California.
The city of
began as a Mexican land grant to Don Ingacio Palomares and Don Ricardo
Vejar in April, 1837. That same year, Palomares and his wife , Dona
Concepcion Lopez de Palomares, completed their first home, which continues
to stand today as a museum called La Casa Primera de Rancho San Jose. After living there for 17 years, the couple built a grander home a mile
north of the first house. The 13-room adobe home served as a way
station along the
Stage and 20- Mule Team freight routes. Called the Palomares Adobe, it too
continues to stand today. Both historic homes have been preserved
and can be visited on Sundays.
Don Vegar sold his portion of land to two men from
who in turn, sold it again to Louis Phillips in 1866. Phillips sold
5,600 acres to a group of speculators in 1875, who began to develop the
town site, naming it "Pomona”
after the Roman goddess of fruit. In that same year, Louis Phillips built
the first brick house in the
area, which continues to stand today as a museum.
Like the many
other towns of the area, vineyards, olive groves, and citrus orchards
until demand for new homes created more and more developments. Today, the city prides itself on its rich history, diversity and
commitment to continuous improvements.
Pomona Fox Theatre in its heydays, courtesy
Pomona offers numerous glimpses of its vintage past
in both public and commercial buildings in a variety of architectural
styles. One great view of the past can be found at the
Pomona Fox Theater located at the corner of Third
Street and Garey Avenue. Opened in April, 1931, the theatre served
as the venue for several Hollywood movie premiers in its early days.
Continuing to entertain the public for decades, the suburbanization of
California took its toll on the Fox. Falling into
disrepair, the Fox was closed and the building served as a church before
being leased out for wrestling matches and rave parties. With its
"undesirable" location, the historic theatre soon became the site of gang
related killings until the City of
Pomona stepped in and bought the building in 2000.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, plans are underway to
restore this premier example of Art Deco architecture.
On 2nd Street, just east
of Garey Avenue, you can find a newly revitalized shopping district called
Antique Row. Here sits more than a dozen stores which feature
hundreds of antique dealers. Across the street is the Art Colony,
which houses artists' studios, galleries, and shops featuring
original homes of the Palomares land grant can be visited on Sundays. The 1837 La Casa Primera is located at
1659 N. Park Avenue
and the Palomares Adobe is
located at 491 Arrow Highway. The historic Phillips Mansion is
located at 2640 Pomona Boulevard.
La Verne - Holding on
to Small Town Charm
La Verne began in 1887 as the City of Lordsburg as one more town along
the Santa Fe Railroad. In fact, it was Isaac W. Lord, a Los Angeles
businessman, who persuaded the railroad to extend its line through the
area, where he owned a significant amount of property.
the railroad was completed, Lord sent brass bands up and down the streets
Los Angeles inviting people on a free ride to the new town of Lordsburg.
On May 25, 1887 over 2,500 people arrived for Lord’s land sale, the
largest in Southern
up to that date. Lord pocketed $200,000 from the sale of lots, and the
building of new homes and businesses began almost immediately.
town promoters installed water mains, a post office, a newspaper, and
construction on the 60 room Lordsburg Hotel was begun, all within the
first four months. Lord spent $300,000 on the palatial, 96-foot high
hotel that featured cupolas, balconies, domed rooftops, and an electric
bell in every room.
Though situated adjacent to the railroad for the convenience of travelers,
by the time the hotel was completed the land boom had gone bust and the
beautiful hotel never hosted a single paying guest. The hotel’s
failure forced Lord to place the building up for sale in 1889. Four
German Baptist men bought the vacant hotel with plans to open it as an
academy. In the fall of 1891, Lordsburg College was established with
135 students and the town soon drew more and more Brethren people.
Though the town bore his name, Lord was not well liked by the residents
and in 1912; they tried to change the name of the community. However, the narcissistic nonresident land owner blocked the attempt. However, five years later when Lord died, the citizens voted to change the
city name to "La Verne," after the northern orange-growing district, and a large
celebration was held to honor the event. The Lordsburg College also
changed its name, today known as the University of
As the college continued
to grow, it moved into Founder’s Hall and the original Lordsburg Hotel,
was torn down in 1927.
In addition to the
college, most of the economy of the fledgling city was supported by the
citrus industry. However, by the 1940’s, the quality and size of the
fruit had dramatically declined and groves began to be sold for housing
La Verne supports about 30,000 residents, retaining much of its small
town charm on its tree lined streets. As you enter
La Verne, look for
signage at the Hi-Brow 66 Lounge and Coates Schwinn in the 500 block of
east Foothill Boulevard, and just a couple of more blocks down the road a
vintage sign advertising the Village Car Wash. Other
stops include the
Territory Gift Shop at 2418-D Foothill Boulevard where you are sure
to pick up a memento of your trip. If you’re hungry for a taste of
Mexican food, the La Paloma Restaurant at 2975 Foothill Boulevard has been
travelers since 1966.
©Kathy Weiser, Legends of America, updated April, 2017.
The La Paloma restaurant in
has been providing tasty Mexican
food for thirty
years, Kathy Weiser, December, 2005