Mar 202013

GLAD to see this thing coming all together – wished I lived a LITTLE closer to it!!

RANCHO CUCAMONGA–Work to restore the historic Cucamonga Service Station on Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga is revving up after a kick off ceremony held on Wednesday.

The Route 66 Inland Empire California nonprofit group now owns the the propery after it was deeded to them by the Lamar sign company earlier this year.

The nonprofit was formed to save the structure and members intend to renovate and rebuild the gas station to what it looked like during its business heyday in the first part of the 20th century.

“It’s really exciting to see the community want to see this gas station, this service station, come back to its golden years,” said Anthony Gonzalez, president of the Route 66 IECA.

A main goal of the organization is to turn the site of the old Richfield service station into a landmark Rancho Cucamonga tourist destination and museum for Route 66 fans and travelers from all over the world.

Known as the Cucamonga Service Station, it opened in the 1910s and provided service up to the 1970s, he said.

Gonzalez said the group plans to bring back the old gravity-fed pumps from the 1930s, and possibly have old signs, oil cans, souvenirs, and literature related to Route 66 for visitors and the community.

The group’s members had been concerned about the fate of the old building in recent years. A larger adjoining garage in the rear had been demolished in the recent past.

Group members say the plan is raise money with the help of the public to restore the gas station and rebuild the demolished garage. Gonzalez said the hope is to have something open by 2015 in time for the 100 year anniversary of the station.

“We open the door to whoever would like to come in and assist us and bring this dream, this historic station, back to its golden years,” Gonzalez said.

Lamar has donated the land to the nonprofit, and the company should get a tax break from the deal, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said his group will also look to the state and federal government to assist in available grants.

By Neil Nisperos – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Feb 012013

It’s about time!! I know they have been struggling for years trying to get this historic old Richfield Gas station – and now it is finally a reality!!

Rancho Cucamonga – Ownership of a historic Route 66 gas station near the northwest corner of Foothill Boulevard and Archibald Avenue was granted this week to a nonprofit historic preservation organization.

A main goal of the organization is to turn the site into a landmark Rancho Cucamonga tourist destination for Route 66 fans and travelers from all over the world, said Anthony Gonzales, president of the Route 66 IECA.

The gas station, which was opened in the 1910s, had provided service to the community up to the 1970s, he said.

“We have Route 66, the ‘mother road,’ and it’s been around since the 1930s, and it’s representative of an era back in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s,” Gonzalez said. “For people from the middle part of the country, the road they used to travel to California was Route 66.‘ Several times, walking past this gas station, I started wondering to myself, who was here, what famous people were here who traveled this road and stopped here. There is a lot of history.”

Members had been concerned over the fate of the old building in recent years. A larger adjoining garage in the rear had been demolished in the recent past. The group initiated efforts to acquire the property from the Lamar advertising company, which also owns tall electronic billboards near the site.

Lamar has donated the land to the nonprofit, and the company should get a tax break from the deal, Gonzalez said. Gonzalez had the grant deed signed by county officials on Thursday.

The Route 66 IECA (Inland Empire California) nonprofit group hopes to gain community and corporate support for money toward architectural review, renovation, marketing, and future upkeep.

“The desire is to try to restore it to a period of time in the past that would bring a little historic site to Route 66 and have the community have a treasure like this historic gas station, come in, visit and learn about the history of the gas station and learn about the history of Cucamonga as a whole.”

Gonzalez said the hope is to turn the place into a museum where travelers and locals could come and learn more about the history of Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga.

“The desire is to have the city become a partner with us in whatever they can,” Gonzalez said. “As far as soliciting funds from the city, the city is faced with financial issues. Our hope is to have the city as a partner to look for community sponsors and corporate sponsors.”

Gonzalez said his group will also look to the state and federal government to assist in available grants.

Neil Nisperos – Inland Newspapers

Jul 262012

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Route 66 is getting some more attention.

Motorists on the 15 Freeway should keep their eyes peeled just past Victoria Gardens for two new signs alerting them to the historic highway.

City workers this week put up the signs on the northbound and southbound sides of the 15 at Foothill Boulevard.

“It’s my intent to again let the people know that this is part of Route 66,” said Edward Dietl, vice president of the California Historic Route 66 Association

Dietl worked with city officials to install the brown signs that read “Historic Route 66, Foothill Boulevard Next Exit.”

“People come down from the 15 (Freeway) from Las Vegas and bypass Foothill Boulevard because they don’t know it’s Route 66 and go to Santa Monica instead,” he said.

“What I’m intending to do is bring the traffic tourism to come down the 15 and see the sign and get off onto Foothill Boulevard. That would bring in a lot of tourism tax dollars to the businesses and follow Route 66 through its termination and get us some local taxes.”

Route 66 was once the preeminent highway of the western United States bringing travelers and migrants to California. The highway originally ran from Illinois to Los Angeles.

Dietl said he started trying to have the signs installed about two years ago. Caltrans informed him that he would need help from the city as well as its approval.

Rancho Cucamonga officials have been working for about a year with state transportation officials to meet the proper requirements to get the signs approved, Councilman Sam Spagnolo said.
“I think it’s going to be a great addition to the city, especially for Foothill Boulevard,” Spagnolo said.

“It was probably 10 years ago that we were able to get the state to relinquish control of the Foothill Boulevard to us so we could have control. Prior to that, it was a state highway, and the state did little to promote Foothill Boulevard and the city of Rancho Cucamonga.”

City improvements have been made to widen Foothill in the western end of the city. Also, work was recently completed on a recreational pedestrian bridge over the highway for the Pacific Electric Trail.

“Going east in San Bernardino County, all the cities are trying to gain control of Foothill Boulevard,” Spagnolo said.

“They’ve seen what we’ve done and want to do the same … You never go wrong when you have local control.

– Neil Nisperos, Staff

Feb 062011

A new pedestrian bridge connecting the final section of the Pacific Electric Trail will be just one of the amenities included as part of the Foothill Boulevard Improvement Project.

I will cut to the chase and just have you go straight to the story and the ‘virtual’ drive and walk-thru of the proposed project.

I am VERY impressed with the 3D work they did for this presentation. It is well worth the 4 minutes to watch it.

Click HERE to go to the website – read the story – and view the video.

Feb 062011

I was notified this Historic Gas Station on Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga was scheduled to be leveled in the near future.

An offer of $150,000 was presented to purchase it from a private owner – and the offer was refused.
One of the reasons was because of ‘not enough parking’. Apparently there are plans to tear it down with the other buildings behind it and use the property for some other type of business. It seems not a matter of ‘if’, but more like ‘when’.

I find this a little upsetting with Rancho Cucamonga in the news so many times lately about how they are embracing and realizing the importance of Route 66 running through their town and how to capitalize off of it like so many other towns up and down the route.

I do not know if this news is old or not – but the topic was brought up again just a few days ago – and it seems the town will not change their mind about saving this building and any type of preservation.
If this is so – is saddens me such a picturesque building has to simply ‘disappear’.

If anyone has any other additional information on this property or if there are any correction – please Email me at

Jan 162011

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – There were many reasons why Ed Dietl founded the Historical Preservation Association of Rancho Cucamonga in 2005.

But his main motive is to save the abandoned gas station on Foothill Boulevard west of Archibald Avenue, which in its heyday, served the migrants who left behind the Dust Bowl in hopes of a brighter future.

Dietl recently stood in front of the Mission-styled structure and weighed the future of the old gas station.

“I’m really kind of sad about it,” he said. “I sure would like to see this place saved.”

Dietl and many others invested in the preservation of Route 66 have been dealt a major blow. During the recent storms, the back building that once served as a service garage

Dietl, with the Historical Preservation Association, wants to preserve the old Cucamonga Service Station along Foothill Boulevard in Rancho Cucamonga as a possible Route 66 museum. But the property is owned by Lamar Advertising, which has requested permission from the city to demolish the rain-damaged structure. The sheet metal roof couldn’t hold the rainwater and collapsed.
“I’m really disappointed that this happened but I’m still excited about the opportunity to save it,” Dietl said.

The gas station, characterized by its signature square columns in front of the garage, was not damaged.

Planning Director James Troyer said with two walls of the service garage still standing, it’s possible to save the building.

The property is owned by Lamar Advertising, which also owns the two adjacent billboards at the intersection. The billboard company recently requested permission from the city to demolish the rain-damaged structure. The city is expected to make a decision this week.

Two years ago, the city gave the Cucamonga Service Station, also known as the Richfield Gas Station, historic landmark status. The move was opposed by Lamar Advertising because such a designation lowered the property’s value.

With the historic status in place, the property owner now must gain the city’s permission before tearing it down.

Dietl wants to buy the building. He wants the property and its neighboring lot on the west side be developed into a Route 66 attraction – with a local history museum, gift shop and a place where classic car enthusiasts can visit and have their pictures taken.

Through the years, Lamar Advertising has listed the price from as high as $600,000 to as low as $125,000, Dietl said. But the historical group doesn’t have the funds to purchase the property or fix up a structure that doesn’t have electricity or water.

Deputy City Manager Linda Daniels said the city is in negotiations with Lamar about acquiring the property.

“We’re interested in both the property and the building,” Daniels said.

These are shaky times for local fans of the nation’s famed highway.

Earlier this month, a Route 66 memorabilia store housed in an 110-year-old building, closed because of an unforgiving economy.

Jim Conkle, founder of the Route 66 Preservation Foundation, said Foothill Boulevard stalwarts Magic Lamp and Sycamore Inn are fine additions to the historic thoroughfare but aren’t enough to draw tourists.

“That can’t happen with a restaurant or two. We need the gas station,” Conkle said.

The recently damaged garage was built in 1910, according to Dietl, and was moved back when the road was widened in 1914. That was the year when the gas station with an island of gas pumps framed by arches was built.

It served as a pit stop for travelers on the Chicago to Los Angeles route and was later a hub of old Cucamonga. It was a gas station in the midst of vineyards.

The station closed in the mid-1970s and served as various small shops until the 1980s. At that point, the once bustling station became a victim of neglect, weather and vandalism. Those three factors were damaging.

“One alone is severe, but when you add all of that, the place deteriorated to where most people look at it as blight, but there’s so much potential,” Conkle said.

For the Route 66 Preservation Foundation, saving the former gas station is one of five priorities for the Mother Road.

“We’re not trying to bring back outhouses and un-air conditioned cars. We’re trying to bring back something that exists nowhere else on the road,” Conkle said. “Rancho Cucamonga is sitting on a gold mine, and they don’t realize it.”

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