Rachel Pabon, a manager at Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain, talks about how the business has been at its South Pasadena location for 97 years, predating the Mother Road.
The business opened its doors in 1915 and became a popular rest stop on the westernmost end of Route 66 in the 1930s.
Pabon, a manager of the business since 2005, said a lot of customers still use the pharmacy.
“We get people from every state. On the weekends, it’s hard to even get a seat. On Saturdays we’re completely full, with people waiting in line for old-fashioned ice cream. We’ve even had to double our outdoor seating,” she said.
The business, which has been featured on the Travel Channel, has recently started a Facebook page.
Co-owner Ramila Patel holds a U.S. map created from old license plates from each state while inside the Wigwam Motel’s lobby in San Bernardino. The motel is a classic Route 66 destination.
The Patel Family
The Patel family – husband and wife Jack and Ramila Patel, with sons, Kumar and Manoj – purchased the iconic Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino in 2003.
The Wigwam has stood for more than half a century as a monument to all that is unique – outlandish, wonderful, quaint and quirky – about the Mother Road.
“The whole essence of the culture of Route 66 is people are seeking the real America – the way it used to be,” said Kumar Patel.
Even during extensive renovations, the family did not close the business, but welcomed travelers while work gradually progressed.
The “village” of 20 concrete tepee cabins is now on the federal list of historic places.
This year’s Route 66 Rendezvous T-shirt design features the Wigwam Motel tepees.
Joe Bono is the owner of Bono’s Restaurant and Deli, which is located along Route 66’s Foothill Boulevard in Fontana. Bono’s Restaurant has been closed for several years and faces the threat of partial demolishment due to the city’s proposal to widen Foothill Boulevard.
Owner, Bono’s Italian Restaurant and Orange Stand, Foothill Boulevard, a.k.a Route 66, Fontana
Bono, 81, uncle of the late entertainer Sonny Bono, owns iconic Bono’s Italian Restaurant in Fontana, started by his mother, Frances, on Route 66 in 1936.
A retired lawyer, Bono took over the restaurant and deli business after his mother died in the 1990s.
“I like to go out and talk to people who come here, because they are from all over the world,” said Bono, who has been instrumental in keeping Route 66 culture alive.
The restaurant, which has been closed since 2004, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
He has ongoing issues with the city regarding the widening of Foothill Boulevard in front of his property.
Lori Bluemel and Melody McKinney
Co-managers of the historic Saga Motor Hotel in Pasadena
The Saga Motor Hotel, the rambling terra cotta-colored motel on Colorado Boulevard, a.k.a Route 66, is the quintessential “Welcome to California” to those arriving from other states or countries, according to manager Lori Bluemel.
The timeless motel, surrounded by lush, tropical landscaping, is an original along Route 66.
Because the Rose Parade passes by the motel, reservations are already being taken for New Year’s Eve 2012.
Busloads of international visitors also arrive from time to time, Bluemel said.
The motel has been the setting for film crews, including a recent episode of “CSI” and a variety of commercials.