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Victorville

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Victorville

"Key City" of the High Desert

Victorville has many Route 66 sights: the Oro Grande Bridge, Emma Jean's Café and Truck Stop, the California Route 66 Museum and Route 66 Old Town gateway, an arch across Route 66.
Stop by its three Route 66 Motels: the Green Tree Inn, the Green Spot Motel and the New Corral Motel

Victorville CA

< Head West
Rialto ¦ San Bernardino ¦ Cajon Pass

Head East >
Oro Grande ¦ Helendale ¦ Hodge

 

About Victorville California

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation 2,726 ft (831 m). Population 115,903 (2010).
Time zone: Pacific (MST): UTC minus 8 hours. Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7).

Victorville is a city located on Route 66, in south western San Bernardino County in the south of California. (Map of Victorville).

Emma's Cafe at Victorville

Emma's Cafe at Victorville
View of Emma's Cafe at Victorville on Route 66
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

The History of the city of Victorville, California

This part of California has been inhabited for the last 10,000 years and during the recent historic period, the local natives along the Mojave River and the northern foothills of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains were named "Vanyume" or "Beñemé" by a Spanish missionary, Father Garces during his 1776 expedition to visit the Hopi in Arizona.

These Native Americans traded with other tribes that lieved on the Pacific Ocean coast and on the Colorado River. The Vanyume fed on oak acorns gathered in the Mountains and spoke a dialect of the Serrano language (The "Serrano", which in Spanish means "mountain people" lived in the San Bernardino Mountains to the southeast of Victorville).

The Spanish had explored California in 1602 and founded Los Angeles in 1769. From there they slowly moved west and established the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel (1771) and in 1810 reached San Bernardino where a mission established in 1819 and a Ranch in 1842.

Mojave Trail or Mojave Road

Father Garcés crossed the Mojave desert along the Mojave Trail, an ancient route used by the natives, running from Cajon Pass - a gap between the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains in the south- that reached to the Colorado River and followed the Mojave River.

Jedediah Smith became the first American to use it when he headed west from Utah in 1826. By that time, Mexico had become independent from Spain (1821) and what is now the southwestern USA was part of Mexico.

When the US defeated Mexico in the 1846-48 war it annexed these territories to the Union.

Later, the Mormons expanded west and settled along the "Mormon Corridor", buying the San Bernardino ranch in 1851 and founding the town of San Bernardino.

The first settler in Victor Valley was Aaron G. Lane a veteran of the Mexican-American war. He set up his homestead on the Mojave River, next to its lower crossing -close to what is now Oro Grande in 1858. At his way station and offered lodging and groceries to travellers trekking along the Mojave Trail. He catered to Lt. Edward Beale during his expedition that surveyed a wagon trail from Fort Smith in Arkansas to California.

Lane's Crossing was located at what is now Turner Rd., two miles north of where I-15 crosses the river. Lane sold his way station to John F. Miller who renamed the spot Pioneer Station. Population grew to 10 in 1860.

The Highmoor family were Mormon pioneers and they settled at Highmoor's Crossing, near today's Oro Grande bridge. In 1867 Lafayette Meacham, another Mormon made a wagon road from his station in Barstow to what is now Victorville, the "Stoddard Wells Road" it crossed the River at 6th St., at "Mormon Crossing".

A stage coach stop was built there in 1870 and gold was discovered in the area in 1873 (at Oro Grande).

Railroad

When silver was found in the Calico Mountains near Barstow in 1881 and the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) extended its line from Bakersfield to Barstow, and continued it west to block their rival Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (A & P) from reaching California. But they were late. A &P (which later was absorbed by the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad), had already crossed the Colorado River at Needles in 1883. Both lines linked there, but in 1884 A &P forced its rival to sell them the Mojave line. In 1885 it built its line south towards San Bernardino through Cajon Pass, passing through Mormon Crossing and building a siding there, which it named "Victor".

Victorville, the name

The siding was named Victor after the General Manager of California Southern Railroad, Jacob Victor Nash. But changed to Victorville in 1901 to avoid confusion with the town of Victor in Colorado.

The town was platted in 1886 and farming was the mainstay of the local economy until imestone and granite began to be mined. Cement became the most important industry in town.

National Old Trails Highway (N.O.T.) in Victorville

In the early 1900s, the use of the automobile had grown considerably and better roads were needed, so the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) association planned a road from Los Angeles to New York, and they aligned it next to the AT & Santa Fe railroad tracks from Cajon Pass, through Victorville, and then via Barstow, to Needles.

The Automobile Club of Southern California's map of 1912 showed Victorville as having gasoline; the road south of the town headed towards Hesperia, with a secondary road going along a shorter course towards Cajon Pass.

By 1915 the town had "Meals - Lodgings, Gasoline -Oil, Garage Repairs." and that year, the road from San Bernardino to Barstow became California’s highway LRN 31; it was the first section of the route to be brought under state jurisdiction. During the early 1920s, the N.O.T. guide described the town as follows: "Garage and camp grounds, stores and hotels. A new farming community is being developed here".

By 1924 the main road had bypassed Hesperia and Victorville had added "Hotel - Garage" and in 1926, the N.O.T. highway became part of the US federal highway network as U.S. 66. That year U.S. Highway 66 was paved from Victorville southwest to Los Angeles, and the road to Daggett was to be upgraded to a gravel surface.

The 1939 "Guide to the Golden State" written by WPA, described the town as follows:

"VICTORVILLE, 35.7 m. (2,716 alt., 2,500 pop.), is a curious blend of the present and the past a past carefully preserved.
[...] Mining here had dwindled to insignificant proportions by 1900, but the characteristic false front frontier buildings remained, attracting, a decade and a half later, the attention of the young motion-picture industry.
From 1914 to 1937 the town and its "wild West" back country were used as the locale for more than 200 films. [...] Victorville admits its attempts to recapture its waning movie trade.
The atmosphere of OLD TOWN across the railroad tracks (L) is zealously preserved. Even when new ranch houses, corrals, and stables are built in the cattle range back country, they are constructed in the old style to meet the demands of location scouts. Meanwhile, Victorville pursues a more prosaic destiny as the trade center for irrigated farming and poultry and cattle ranches, and as headquarters for quarrying and mining interests. In the heart of town is (L) the ARENA OF THE VICTORVILLE NON- PROFESSIONAL RODEO (two days each Oct.; adm. $1), sponsored by 50 Hollywood writers and actors. Only cowboys working on the ranges of the Southwest are permitted to compete.
US 66 crosses rolling desert country again toward immense blue ranges....

The Army Airfield was built between 1941 and 43 during World War II and it was deactivated in 1992, now it is the Southern California Logistics Airport, which is an airplane boneyard.

After the war, traffic grew peaking in 1960: over 1.1 million travellers passed through Victorville that year. A new safer road was needed and it was finally built: I-15. It was built in stages, the section from the foot of Cajon Pass through Victorville to Barstow was completed in 1958, sealing the fate of the towns of Helendale, Oro Grande, Lenwood and Hodges. Then across the Pass into San Bernardino in 1971 -72.

Faster flowing traffic meant that overnight stops in Victorville fell, hurting the Route 66 motels and as it bypassed the commercial district, where many shops closed.

Where to Stay in Victorville

Lodging in the City

>> Book your Hotel in Victorville

More Lodging Near Victorville along Route 66

Motels and Hotels close to Victorville, California

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>> Check out the RV campground in Victorville

Weather in Victorville

The weather in Victorville is dry -arid climate- with cool winters and hot summers (hotter than in the Los Angeles area). The average summer (Jul) high is 99°F (37°C) and the average winter high (Jan) is 60°F (16°C). The average low during summer (Jul) is 61°F (16°C) , and in winter (Jan) is 31°F (-1°C) - below freezing.

Little rain falls in the area: 6.2 in (158 mm), with most of it falling during the Dec. through Mar. period. June is the driest month (0.06 in - 1.5 mm) of rain only. There are 28 days with precipitation per year.

You can expect around 1.4 inches (36 mm) of snow on average yearly. You will see snow in the high mountain area south of Victorville, at Cajon Pass during winter.

Route 66 and Victorville, CA
Location of Victorville on the Old Route 66

Tornado risk

As Victorville is located very far from the Rocky Montains (western limit for tornados), there is no risk of tornados in this area.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Victorville

You can reach Victorville along old Route 66 which here is named "Old National Trails Highway". And I-15 (which runs through the city).

Map of Route 66 in Victorville

, California.

The map below shows the different alignments of Route 66 near Victorville and the color key is for Victorville only. It is the following:
(for the other parts of the map, check the color key of the map of the corresponding city)

Pale Blue: the 1928 - 1970s Route 66 through Victorville.
Red: I-40, where it covers the old roadbed of Route 66 or where it must be driven as the old road is closed.
Black: the 1926 to 1970s alignment west of Dagget that can't be driven as it goes through a U.S. Marines Base (at Nebo).

See Route 66's alignment in California Map

Remove or restore State shading
 

Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 through Victorville

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across California

U.S. Route 66 does not have any Byway or Historic designation in California despite having long sections of original roadbed between Needles and Santa Monica (like this one).

Click on the following link for an overview of Route 66 across the state of California.

Below you will find detailed information on Old Route 66 in Victorville

Sights and Attractions in Victorville, California

What to Do, Places to See

Victorville and its Route 66 attractions

Where the Mojave meets the mountains

The town's motto is "Key City" of the High Desert ("High Desert" is a name used to define the southern California desert region between 2,000 feet (610 m) and below 4,000 feet (1220 m).

Victorville's classic Route 66 sights include: the Oro Grande Bridge, Emma Jean's Café and Truck Stop, the California Route 66 Museum and its arch across Route 66: Route 66 Old Town gateway plus three Motels: the Green Spot Motel, the Green Tree Inn and the New Corral Motel.

We will follow the alignment of Route 66 through Victorville, starting at the old 1930s steel truss bridge located to the northwest of town, on the Mojave River, This map shows the itinerary from the bridge into town.

Oro Grande Bridge

3.2 mi. northwest of Downtown Victorville (D St. and 7th St.) Old US 66 crosses the Mohave River. Here, unlike its northern course, the river carries water year-round because of the bedrock under the river bed. To the north, when sand replaces the bedrock, the river flows under the surface and appears dry.

The banks of the river are verdant and forested. Here is the Mojave River truss bridge built in 1930.

This is the Map with directions.

Route 66 truss bridge at Oro Grande

Route 66 steel truss bridge in Oro Grande, across the Mojave River
View of the Oro Grande Mojave River Bridge on Route 66
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

This Baltimore truss bridge is located in Oro Grande ⁄ Victorville and measures is 575 ft. long. Its deck is 34 ft. wide. Its longest span is 270 ft in length.

It is also known as the "Victorville Route 66 Bridge" and the "Oro Grande Bridge".

Head southbound towards Victorville, and on your right, 1.1 mi. from the bridge (2.1 m. from downtown) is a classic Route 66 Café:

Emma Jean's Café and Truck Stop

17143 N D St.

Route 66 Marker Plaque on the site

Self proclaimed as home of the Brian Burger (after Brian, Emma's son, owner of the café). See Photo above

There is a plaque dedicated by the Billy Holcomb Chapter of the Ancient and Honorable order of E Clampus Vitus (2011), that tells the story of the Café

It opened in 1947 and was built by Bob and Jate Holland. Emma Jean, wife of Richard Gentry worked as a waitress here for many years and when Richard bought the cafe in 1979, he renamed it after his wife as "Jean's Holland Burger Café".

Emma Jean died in 1996 and Richard in 2008 but his son Brian and his wife Shawna still run the place. Read more at www.hollandburger.com.

Old Town Victorville

Follow Route 66 (North D Street) towards Victorville you will see the cement plant to your left, on the other side of the railroad. Pass under I-15 at Exit 153 and you will reach the city of Victorville, many of the classic old buildings are gone. The railway Depot is one of them. On your right, between 5th and 6th Streets is the California Route 66 Museum:

California Route 66 Museum

16825 South D Street.

This is an interactive museum set in the old "Red Rooster Cafe", covering more than 4,500 sq.ft. (418 m2) including a recreated 1950s diner, a Hippy 1960s VW Love Bus and a 1910s Ford T.

Do visit the "outhouse" and pick up some Route 66 gifts at the gift shop. Check the timetable and opening days at the California Route 66 Museum Website.

Bottle Tree Ranch and Hulaville

If you have stopped by the Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch in Helendale, you should know that it was inspired by another weird site on Route 66 named "Hulaville" (or Mahan's Half Acre) which also had wine and beer bottle sculptures, but these were created by Miles Mahan (1896-1997).

Hulaville was razed long ago but fortunately some of its works of art (the Hula Girl, the Howdy cowboy are on exhibition at the California Route 66 Museum, here in Victorville.

There is a scale model of Hulaville too. In case you wonder where it was actually located, head south along I-15 past Exit 147, 8.8 mi. from Victorville, you will see it on the west frontage road here (map).

Take a right along 7th Street. This was the old town's main street. Ahead is the "Route 66 Old Town" gateway across the street.

Route 66 Old Town gateway

Part of a City renovation plan of the old Town on Route 66, which for the time being is on hold.

The Old Town gateway across Route 66

Old Town gateway
View of the Old Town gateway in Victorville, across Route 66
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

At the first corner (C St.) take a left and in the middle of that block, on your right (See map with location) is a classic Route 66 motel: "Green Spot Motel":

Green Spot Motel

16937 C St, Victorville

The postcard below proclaims it is "Southern California's finest auto court - truly de luxe... private showers and tub bath... Beauty rest mattresses... running ice water in each unit... Air conditioned by Frigidaire... H.E. Roy, Proprietor".

It seems to have kept its original apparance, with its individual cabin-style units around a central courtyard.

The Green Spot Motel in a 1940s postcard

Old 1940s postcard showing the Green Spot Motel on Route 66 in Victorville, California
Old ca. 1940s postcard of the Green Spot Motel Route 66, Victorville, California, by

The Green Spot Motel nowadays:

present appearance of the Green Spot Motel
View of the Green Spot Motel in Victorville now
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Go round the block and back to 7th St., head south along it. Nothing remains of the old cafes and diners, the garages and service stations. Time has been relentless. They have been torn down, but some cameos remain...

New Corral Motel

14643 7th St, Victorville

It is a 1.7 mile drive (Map) from D St. and 7sth St., on the left side of Route 66. You will spot it immediately by its rampant colt sign.

It opened in 1953 and has a "L" shaped layout with a central parking area with lawn and pool.

The New Corral Motel today:

present appearance of the New Corral Motel
View of the New Corral Motel Victorville today
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

The New Corral reminds us of the days when Old western movies and Roy Roger were an important part of Victorville's wild west ambiance.

Green Tree Inn

14173 Green Tree Blvd

Continue south along 7th St. and 2.5 miles from D St. you will reach the Green Tree Inn (Map with directions), it is on your left (reach it via. Green Tree Blvd.)

The Inn was built as part of the Golf Country Club in the 1960s, and as I-15 was already there at that time, it was located at a convenient spot, next to the freeway and its exit.

Below are some "Then and Now" views of the Green Tree Inn, which has 200 rooms and suites and a restaurant that first opened in 1963.

The Green Tree Inn: an early 1960s postcard

early 1960s postcard showing the Green Tree Inn on Route 66 in Victorville, California
Early 1960s postcard of the Green Tree Inn Route 66, Victorville, California, by

The Green Tree Inn today:

present appearance of the Green Tree Inn
View of the Green Spot Motel in Victorville
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

The sign is similar, but lost its 1960s appeal. The pine tree has grown into a healthy tree and the building retains its original looks.

Victorville Trivia

Roy Rogers, whose real name was Leonard Franklin Slye (1911 – 1998) was a famous cowboy actor and singer known as the "King of the Cowboys". He starred on a radio show in the 1940s and in the Roy Rogers Show (1951 - 57) on television, appearing in more than 100 films. He is also remembered for his horse, Trigger, his dog Bullet and his wife, Dale Evans, "Queen of the West".

Rogers and Evans lived in neighboring Apple Valley, where both are interred.

The Roy Rogers - Dale Evans Museum closed in 2003, it was next to the freeway in Victorville, it moved to Branson Missouri, where it finally closed a few years later.

Tours & Itineraries

The Alignment of Old Route 66 from Barstow to Victorville

From Barstow to Victorville

route 66 shield California

As mentioned above, the first road through Victorville was the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) road which was a highway that was projected to link New York and Los Angeles in the early 1910s. This road ran close to the Santa Fe Railroad between Victorville and Needles.

This is a simple route, and a relatively intact one too. Just head west from downtown Barstow along Main St., and stick to it. It passes through neighboring Lenwood, Hodge and Helendale in a wide sweeping curve towards the west in the Mojave desert, running next to the old SF Railway and the Mojave River just beyond it.

Mojave River

The Mojave is an itermitent river that flows in a closed basin with an area of 4,580 sq. mi. (11.862 km2), its source is in the San Bernardino Mountains at almost 3,000 ft. altitude (900 m) and it discharges into Soda Lake, in the Mojave Desert.

110 mi long (177 km), its discharge varies from nil to a maximum of 70,600 cu. ft. (2.0000 m3). Most of its water flow is underground as the river bed is dry most of the year.

Father Garces named it Arroyo de los Mártires (Martyrs Creek) in 1776. When Jedediah Smith followed it westwards into California in 1826 he named it "Inconstant River".

The underwater course of the Mohave River was marked by vegetation growing next to it, and therefore was in sight of Route 66 and the SF Railroad all the way from Newberry to Victorville, but in its last section, past Oro Grande, it was a visible water course.

After Helendale, the road swept towards the southeast, crossing the tracks via an underpass at Oro Grande and, after crossing the Mojave River on the steel truss Oro Grande Bridge, it heads straight into Victorville along D Street and turning right (south) along 7th Street, which it followed until leaving town.

Total distance 36.2 miles, see map with directions.

Route 66 in California

US 66 in California
Route 66 Victorville to Barstow, California.

 

> > See the previous segment Ludlow to Barstow (east)

> > See this segment Barstow to Victorville (west)

> > See the next segment Victorville to San Bernardino (west)

Sources

Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.

A Guide to the Golden State, by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, Hastings House, New York, 1939.

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License

Map Icons by Nicolas Mollet under its CC BY SA 3.0 License