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  • April 2009
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Cucamonga Gas Station


Cucamonga Gas Station

Cucamonga Gas Station

Cucamonga, a Jack Benny joke and a city of orange groves when Henry Klusman built the old gas station at Foothill and Archibald.  The City of Rancho Cucamonga says the station was built in 1914. I have it dated as 1934, when the Spanish Mission style was all the rage along U.S. 66 and the oil companies were using Spanish Mission to establish their identities.

No matter the city has given it historic landmark status, making it harder to raze. The big billboard company, Lamar Advertising which owns the building, is not happy about that. The buildings historic status might reduce its property value, making it harder to sell it. It is roadside building standing from the heyday of Route 66, which means Meyer’s Service Station is gone.

Meyer's Service Station, 1950

Meyer's Service Station, 1950

Meyer’s station was at the Cajon Cut-off, which allowed travelers to Las Vegas could avoid San Bernardino in order to go north.

New use of the old buildings along 66 is problematic. I haven’t been out on the road for over ten years, but in 1998 hopeful people had set up shop in the old roadside buildings and invoking the magic name, “Route 66,” in order to lure customers. Sometimes it worked. More often it didn’t. 

I’m not sure anybody has cracked the nut of making a living from the old buildings, certainly not the living the buildings provided their original owners.

There are a handful of motels that could be turned into bed and breakfasts if they were well managed and well advertised. But, old gas stations, I’m not sure.