Get your kitsch on Route 66.
The stretch of the fabled highway that crosses through Claremont and
nearby cities as Foothill Boulevard mostly consists of stucco strip
malls and other standard fixtures of suburbia. Don’t let that get you
down. You can still find some roadside relics of another time if you’re
willing to work at it.
The Wigwam Motel – The weirdest relic on Foothill Boulevard may be the
Wigwam Motel in a shaggy section of Rialto. The “wigwams” are really
cone-shaped concrete rooms meant to look like teepees. Dating back to
1949, this location was the last built of a series of Wigwam Motels
across the country, of which only three remain. As Route 66 declined, so
did the Wigwam Motel, and for many years the sign outside read: “Do it
in a teepee.” But a new owner is fixing up the place, hoping to cash in
on Route 66 nostalgia.
The Giant Orange – Decades ago, citrus groves lined the route through
Fontana and growers set up stands to sell juice and fruit. This stand
was shaped like an orange and dates back to the 1930s. As the groves
disappeared, this stand has been moved around many times and now finds a
home next to Bono’s Restaurant & Deli, 15395 Foothill Blvd., another
interesting relic from the 1930s.
Rancho’s restaurants: A stretch of the road through Rancho Cucamonga
offers interesting old-fashioned eateries. The Sycamore Inn dates back
to 1848, when founder William Rubottom opened an inn along the dirt path
from L.A. to San Bernardino. Murders, fires and floods followed.
According to the restaurant’s Website, the current building went up in
1920. Two decades later a Dutch immigrant bought the place, turning it
into an upscale restaurant. Just across the street, the 50-year-old
Magic Lamp Inn steakhouse lures people in with its lamp-shaped
sign—complete with burning oil—and its swanky fireplace lounge. For
folksier fare, head next door to the Red Hill Inn and plop down on the
swivel seats with taped-up vinyl. Gawk at the celebrity photos that
cover just about every inch of the walls as you wolf down your five-egg