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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.

6 Responses

  1. Funny how this works. You might think that it may raise the value, but these days people just want to tear everything down.
    Great photography!

  2. Great photo!

  3. Thanks, Quinta

  4. Quinta:

    Just wanted to let you that I really enjoy your blog, especially your stories about research and background for your book.

    Your Route 66 book was the first one I read on the topic back when it came out. It’s still, by far, my favorite Route 66 and overall read. The only 66 that comes close is Tom Teague’s book.

    I just purchased your second 66 book and am looking forward to reading it. I am hoping you’ll do another 66 book, maybe as a way of updating your past efforts, soon.

    I think I have all of the 66 books out there, at least ones that interest me. I have to say most are just rehashing, with that God awful 66 commercial theme, or the Wallis School or travel writing. You go into detail, treating the subject with a more historical POV. And, your pictures are the best.

    If you come out with something you can bet I’ll be there to buy it right away.

    Thanks for the work your doing, giving us a solid portrait of a unique subject.

  5. Thank you.

    The issue of solar or wind farms in the Mojave Desert has me thinking about an geological/ecological tour of U.S. 66, from the glaciated prairies of Illinois to the California coast.

    • Quinta:

      Just finished reading your new Route 66 book. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to any Route 66 fan, or anyone with an interest in near modern American history. Great book, hope you’ll have some new ones for us to read soon.

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