About Duarte California
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 512 ft (156 m). Population 21,321 (2010).
Time zone: Pacific (MST): UTC minus 8 hours. Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7).
Duarte is a city located Route 66 in Los Angeles County in southern California on the San Gabriel Mountains' foothills; it is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. (Map of Duarte).
A view of Route 66 in Duarte:
The history of Duarte
The area at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains has been inhabited for more tha ten thousand years. When the Spanish explored the region in the 1600s, they met the local "Tongva" natives, which they called Gabrielino (Gabrieleño) after the San Gabriel Arcángel Mission which they founded nearby in 1771.
The Mission owned a large area of land which after Mexico's independence from Spain (1821) eventually became fiscal land which was granted to local citizens. The Governor Juan Alvarado granted a 6,596-acre (2.670 ha.) tract to Andrés Duarte (1805-1863), a former military, in 1841 which became known as the Rancho Azusa de Duarte.
Duarte built a home in adobe on what is now Tocino Drive.
After Mexico lost California to the US during 1846-48 war, Duarte had to file a claim for the recognition of his grant under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. He sold parts of his land to pay the legal costs and back taxes. The ranch was finally awarded to him in 1878, but by then the whole ranch had been sold.
The new landlords owned 40-acre plots and grew citrus on them.
The Santa Fe railroad extended its line through Duarte in 1887, linking its main line in San Bernardino across the San Gabriel Valley and into Los Angeles.
The Name: Duarte
The city took its name from the Ranch which in turn was the surname of its owner, Andrés Duarte.
It means "the son of Edward", from the English saint born in 1004 and a Portuguese king (1391-1438). First recorded in writitng in 1509 in Vizcaya, Aragon.
National Old Trails Highway (N.O.T.) in Duarte
The 1915 survey conducted by the USGS along the Santa Fe railroad shows the station on the map, but said nothing about the town. At that time, the automobile had increased and the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) Association was formed to promote a modern highway link between New York and Los Angeles. In Duarte it followed the Foothill Blvd., and it appeared in a 1912 map, as Duarte on Foothill Blvd, followed by Monrovia (20 mi.) and further west Pasadena (10 mi.)
1926: Route 66 created
Route 66 was created in 1926 and it was aligned using the N.O.T. highway in California. It ran along Foothill Blvd. through Duarte. The 1935 Road map of Los Angeles, the 1939 map and The 1940s Caltrans road map shows Route 66 running west from Azusa, crossing the San Gabriel Wash, into Duarte and then Monrovia.
The 1939 "Guide to the Golden State" written by the WPA described the Duarte section of Route 66 as follows:
"The name of DUARTE, 31.9 m. (600 alt., 1,326 pop.), center of an old orange-growing district, commemorates Andreas Duarte, grantee of a 4,000-acre tract on the site, who constructed a ditch to bring water from San Gabriel Canyon for irrigation purposes."
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse rode the whole of Route 66 in 1946 and wrote his "...Guide Book to Highway 66" in which his entry of Duarte is merely one town among many: "More towns you pass through include LA VERNE at 336 mi., GLENDORA, 241 mi.; AZUSA, 343 mi., DUARTE, 347 mi.; MONROVIA, 350 mi., ....".
Route 66 was replaced by the freeway network in the mid 1950s and in 1964 it was officially bypassed in the San Gabriel Valley, but in 1966 Duarte and Fontana teamed up to try to have a large sign posted in San Bernardino proclaiming that Route 66 remained a through route into Los Angeles. They failed.
Alton Glenn Miller, the famous big band musician, composer, and bandleader in the swing era, built a house in Duarte where he planned to settle after World War II, he died in 1944 serving in France. The home burned down during a wildfire in 1980.
Where to Stay in Duarte
Lodging in the City of Duarte
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Weather in Duarte
Duarte has a warm Summer Mediterranean climate, which is semi-arid, it has hot and dry summers with cool winters. The average monthly temperatures does not surpass 71.6 °F (22°C).
The town has an average of 290 sunny days yearly. During fall (autumn) the strong hot and dry Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert and increase the risk of wildfires.
The summer average high is 90°F (32°C) and the average low is 62°F (17°C).
The winter average high (Jan) is 68°F (20°C) and the average low is 43°F (6°C). The peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains will be covered with snow but none falls in Duarte.
Rainfall averages 18.2 in. per year (461 mm), with the period May to September being the driest one with less than 0.3 in. monthly (8.4 mm) and mostly 0.01 in (0.3 mm).
Duarte is located near the Pacific Ocean, well beyond the Rocky Montains (which are the western limit for tornados) so there is no risk of tornados in the city.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Duarte
You can reach Duarte along old Route 66 or via Interstate 10, 15, 215, 610 or state higways 57 and 210. All of them are freeways.
The Map of U.S. 66 in Duarte, California
Display Duarte Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
This is the map of Route 66 through Duarte. The following color key applies only to Duarte. Check the color key for other cities on their respective maps.
Pale Blue: the 1928 - 1964 Route 66 through Duarte.
Red: I-15, where it covers the old roadbed of Route 66 or where it must be driven as the old road is closed.
Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 into Duarte
Route 66 across California
U.S. Route 66 does not have any Byway or Historic designation in California despite the survival of long sections of original roadbed between Needles and Santa Monica.
Click Here for an overview of Route 66 across the state of California.
Below you will find detailed information on Old Route 66 in Duarte.
Sights and Attractions in Duarte
What to Do, Places to See
Duarte and its Route 66 attractions
City of Hope
Duarte has several attractions: Don't miss the only Route 66 Motel in town, El Rancho Motel (formerly the Yearling Motel). See the City of Hope Murals (1936), a "drive-thru" Alta Dena Dairy a race car museum (Justice Brothers Racing Museum) and the bronze statue of Andres Duarte on his horse.
Begin your Route 66 tour of Duarte at the east end of town at the San Gabriel River bridge; just past Encanto Pkwy. to your left is a Museum:
Justice Brothers Racing Museum
2734 E. Huntington Dr.
For those who love motor sports, this is a place to stop at. Founded in 1985 it has many vintage racecars, classics, Indy cars, dragsters, antique gas pumps and more.
Further west, on the S.W. corner of Route 66 and Crestfield Dr. is an old Alta Dena Dairy:
Alta Dena Dairy drive-thru
2444 E Huntington Dr., Duarte
The company was founded in 1945 in Monrovia by the Stueve Stueve brothers -Ed, Harold, and Elmer, and they became a "certified dairy" in 1953. They were against pasteurization and by the 1980s were the largest producer and distributor of "raw" (unpasteruized) milk in the U.S.
Health concerns about Salmonella led the California Sate Health Department to a long legal battle with Alta Dena and eventually the new owners stopped selling Stueve' Natural raw milk in 1999.
The company had, back in 1951, understood that Californians loved to do thins without having to get out of their cars, so he implemented the "cash and Carry" drive through dairy outlets like this one, which is now a market.
Alta Dena Dairy in Duarte
Salute to Route 66 Parade
The Duarte Salute to Route 66 Parade is an event that takes place every year on the last weekend of September along Huntington Drive between Mt. Olive Dr. and Buena Vista St., but it is taking a break in 2016.
Andres Duarte's Brand
The brand, registered in 1843, is a stylized "d", it is included in the City's seal and flag, and also on a hill overlooking Duarte. Map with location of the brand.
Bronze statue of Duarte
1551 E. Huntington Dr. In front of the City Hall
Duarte Bronze, Duarte. Click image for Street View
The equestrian bronze shows Andres Duarte riding his horse. It is located in Plaza Duarte, on the north side of Route 66. It was dedicated in 2007. Head west for one more block, and on the right is: The El Rancho Motel:
El Rancho Motel
1515 E. Huntington Dr.
The old "Yearling Motel is now the El Rancho Motel. It dates back to the 1950s and was owned by Abe and Mary Doornbos.
The original name refers to a young horse (the Santa Anita racecourse is very close to Duarte), it was a "cottage" style motel, with independent cabins.
It is the only motel that has survived from the classic days of Route 66 in Duarte, all the others have gone, razed to make space for new developments.
The Yearling Motel a 1950s postcard
Below is the present view of the old Yearling Motel. The sign with the horse head has gone, and has been replaced with a contemporary sign, but the buildings are clearly recognizeable among more greenery and trees.
Check out another antique Vintage Postcard of the Yearling Motel.
El Rancho Motel today
City of Hope Murals
1500 E Duarte Rd., Duarte
It is a 1.4 mile drive to the south of Route 66 as shown in this Map with directions.
Detail of "History of Medicine", photo: Gray Brechin
The Murals painted in 1936 by Philip Guston and Reuben Kadish were part of the Federal Art Project and the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression as a "New Deal" project. They were restored in 1998.
There are two, "Physical Growth of Man" and (see image) “History of Medicine”, each covering 163 sq. ft. (15 m3). They are in the Visitors Center, in those days it was the Los Angeles Tubercular Sanatorium.
Medicine: City of Hope
The dry climate of the San Gabriel foothills led to the establishment of the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association in 1913 (A tuberculosis sanatorium - TB was a mortal disease until the discovery of antibiotics), which later became the City of Hope National Medical Center (a world-renowned cancer treatment hospital).
The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles opened the Santa Teresita Rest Home in 1930 which is still open as an outpatient health care center.
Tours & Itineraries
Old Route 66 in Duarte California
From Irwindale to Duarte
The first highway through the area built specially for cars, was the National Old Trails highway projected in the early 1910s to link Los Angeles and New York.
Route 66 in Duarte
There has only been one alignment through Duarte since the creation of US Highway Route 66 in 1926 and it was aligned on the N.O.T., along Huntingdon Drive. It begins at the San Gabriel River (after Irwindale) next to Encanto Parkway in the east and then curves a bit, heading west along Huntignton Drive all the way to Mountain Ave. (where Monrovia begins). It is 2.7 miles long.
This is the Map of Route 66 in Duarte.
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