Plan the Road Trip of your Life

Home | Blog

Route 66

La Verne

California Flag

Heart of the Orange Empire

Last Updated:

La Verne has a rare 1950's McDonald's "Golden Arches" building, Mr. D's Diner, the La Paloma Restaurant (1966) on the same site of the Wilson's Sandwich Shop (1920s).
Don't miss the historic sites: the historic Carrion adobe and the Charles Straight House plus the early 1900s architecture of Old Town La Verne.

La Verne CA

< Head West
Azusa ¦ Glendora ¦ San Dimas

Head East >
Pomona ¦ Claremont ¦ Upland



Rent your car advertisement

About La Verne California

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 1,060 ft (323 m). Population 31,063 (2010).
Time zone: Pacific (MST): UTC minus 8 hours. Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7).

La Verne is a small city located on old Route 66 in Los Angeles County in southern California and is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. (Map of La Verne).

A 1955 postcard showing the 2300 block on D Street, East side, between 3rd St. and Bonita Ave. in downtown La Verne

vintage 1955 view of downtown La Verne, along D Street in California
1955 photo of D St., La Verne, California, by

The same view in downtown La Verne nowadays, some of the buildings are sill there -click on the image and go to the interactive street view and you will see them:

present appearance of downtown La Verne CA
View of the same spot in present downtown La Verne. Google
>Click for Street View

The History of the city of La Verne, California

For the early history of the area, read the History of Rancho Cucamonga because what is now La Verne was open ranch land until 1886. The Mexican Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted 15,000 acres of land to Ygnacio Palomares in 1837; this land spanned Pomona, Claremont, Glendora and La Verne it was named "Rancho San José". Palomares later gave his nephew Jose Dolores Palomares a plot of his vast ranch.

The historic Carrion adobe was built there in 1868.

The townsite was laid out by Isaac Wilson Lord a wealthy Los Angeles entrepreneur who had purchase part of the San Jose Ranch in the early 1880s and in 1886, it was named after him: "Lordsburg". It was founded in 1887 on the Santa Fe Railroad which had acquired the line from San Bernardino to Pasadena that year. Lord built a 60-room hotel, which never lodged a single paying guest. Speculators bought land, but real settlers did not show up. me to grow, its hotel went broke and in 1889.

The investors agreed to sell out and cut their losses, so they invitd the Church of the Bretheren to visit the area and Mr. M. Eshelman purchased the bankrupt hotel and 100 city lots. The hotel was used to house their college, the University of La Verne which opened in 1891.

The name: La Verne

The Bixby family, ranchers living on the north side of town, in the foothills used the name "La Verne" for that area, as it was green and "spring-like". The word has a Gaulish origin and means "alder" -a type of birch tree. Maybe related to the Latin word vernus, "of spring".

The Bixby formed a land development company and named it La Verne. The community incorporated in 1906 and tried to change its name in 1912 but Isaac Lord, who still owned land there, objected. Only after his death in 1917 did the citizens vote to change the name to La Verne.

The Church of the Brethren

This Protestant group originated in Europe in 1708. Persecution led them to migrate to America between 1719 and 1740. By the mid-1800s they had expanded west. There they split into different groups. One of them based in Kansas. In the 1890s Many Brethren moved into Lordsburg.

The USGS survey along the Santa Fe railroad of 1915 says the following: "... West of Claremont a spur of the San Gabriel Mountains on the north extends nearer to the railway, and the San Jose Hills, a northern extension of the Santa Ana Mountains, approach from the south. Owing to these conditions the valley narrows to about 3 miles at Lordsburg. In order to pass the San Jose Hills the railway has been deflected to the northwest, a course that soon takes itnear the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, which are closely skirted from San Dimas to Pasadena. Lordsburg was originally a Dunkard settlement. It has numerous orange and lemon groves."


National Old Trails Highway (N.O.T.) in La Verne

By 1915, use of cars on the roads in California had grown considerably and the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) Association had advanced with their project for a highway linking Los Angeles and New York. This road followed the Santa Fe railroad tracks from California into Arizona and New Mexico. It was aligned along Foothill Blvd. in La Verne.

The 1912 map by the Automobile Club of Southern California's map shows the N.O.T. road across the area but does not mention La Verne - Lordsburg at all. Only Glendora and Claremont figure in this map.

Route 66

In 1926, the N.O.T. road was incorporated into the brand new U.S. Highway 66. The road was slowly widened and improved, by 1939 the "Guide to the Golden State" written by the WPA, described the town of La Verne as follows:

"LA VERNE, 21.4 m. (1,050 alt., 2,860 pop.), is a citrus-packing center. Retail stores depend heavily on the patronage of LA VERNE COLLEGE students. La Verne originated as Lordsburg during the 1890 land boom. When the bubble burst, the promoters found themselves burdened with a $75,000 three-story hotel. In 1891 the Santa Fe Railway induced new settlers to come to the region, among them a group of Dunkards who later bought the hotel and founded Lordsburg College. In 1916, when the town changed its name to La Verne, the college did likewise. It is a co-educational institution with an enrollment of 250.".

The 1940s Caltrans road map shows Route 66 running west from Claremont across a non-incorporated area (Pomona was to the south, along state highway 71) and into La Verne, crossing its northern part. Then it ran north of San Dimas and reached Glendora. They were all separate towns at that time surrounded by open rural areas.

In 1946, Jack DeVere Rittenhouse rode the whole of Route 66 and wrote "A Guide Book to Highway 66". In it he pointed out that the towns in this area "... are so close together as to be practically indistinguishable from each other..." adding "More towns you pass through include LA VERNE at 336 mi., GLENDORA, 241 mi.; AZUSA, 343 mi., DUARTE...", so La Verne was just one among many.

It was a farming community (citrus) for many years, named the "Heart of the Orange Empire" and it did not have any motels recommended by the AAA during the 1940s and 50s. Then after World War II, citrus farming declined and the groves were uprooted for development and subdivision. It is still a college town community.

During the 1950s, the LA freeway system grew and diverted traffic away from Route 66 which was replaced here in 1964 by I-10; traffic along Foothill Blvd. dwindled.

Where to Stay in, at La Verne

Lodging near the City

> >Book your Hotel in neighboring: Pomona
or in San Dimas or Claremont

More Lodging close to La Verne along Route 66

Motels and Hotels close to La Verne, California

Heading East.... In California

Heading West... Hotels & Motels in California...

Book your hotel in neighboring Pomona

>> Check out the RV campground near La Verne, in Pomona

The Weather in La Verne

Latest La Verne, California weather
Route 66: La Verne, California location map
Location of La Verne on Route 66

The weather in La Verne is warm Mediterranean (Continental Mediterranean climate), which is semi-arid, it has hot and dry summers with cool - chilly winters.

The town has on average, 287 sunny days per year and the strong dry - hot Santa Ana wind blows through Cajon Pass during autumn (fall) drying out the area and increasing the risk of wildfires the foothill communities.

During winter, the average high is (Jan) 68°F (20°C) and the average low is 43°F (6°C). During summer the average high is 90°F (32°C) and the average low is 62°F (17°C).

Rainfall averages 17.3 in. per year (440 mm), with the period May to September being the driest one with less than 0.2 in. monthly (5 mm).

During winter the peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains receive plent of snow, but none falls on Route 66 in La Verne.

Tornado risk

As La Verne is located right next to the Pacific Ocean, beyond the Rocky Montains (western limit for tornados) so there is no risk of tornados there.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.

Getting to La Verne

Use old Route 66 to get to La Verne along old Route 66 it is the Foothill Blvd." or use Interstate 15, 10, 215 or state Hwy.210. They are all freeways.

The Map of U.S. 66 in La Verne, California

See the alignment of US 66 in La Verne on our California Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.

Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 into La Verne

Route 66 logo

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 La Verne.

Sights and Attractions in La Verne, California

What to Do, Places to See

La Verne and its Route 66 attractions

College Town

La Verne has several Route 66 attractions: a very rare McDonald's building with golden arches (1950s), the La Paloma Restaurant (1966) on the site of the Wilson's Sandwich Shop (1920s).
Also the historic sites of the historic Carrion adobe and the Charles Straight House plus the early 1900s Old Town La Verne and Mr. D's Diner.

The view, towards the north is great, you can see the San Gabriel Mountains and the outstanding peak of Mount Baldy (actually Mount San Antonio) which is the highest point of the San Gabriel Mountains, elevation: 10,062 ft. ( 3,069 m). These mountains are covered in snow during winter.

City tour

Start your tour on the eastern side of La Verne, on the border with northern Pomona at Williams Ave. to your right is a classic Restaurant: La Paloma:

La Paloma

2975 Foothill Blvd. La Verne

The oldest restaurant in La Verne, originally Wilson's Sandwich Shop.

In the late 1920s, the Wilsons served food to their farm workers and they turned it into a business by buildind a larger place for the guests. That building still stands, modfied, till this day: Wilson's Sandwich Shop.

As it faced Route 66, soon drivers along that highway began to pull in to eat. So it added steaks and other specialties. After the Wilsons died in the early 1960s the restaurant closed.

Wilson's Sandwich Shop

Wilsons, whose sign announced "Wilson's Sandwich Shop - Dinners - Steaks" had a long building with a gabled Spanish tile roof with an overhang over the front, facing Route 66, providing shade to the guests. It promoted itself in the postcard (below) as "Steaks - chicken - rainbow trout and regular dinners":

The Wilson's Sandwich Shop in a vintage postcard

the Wilson's Sandwich Shop on Route 66 in La Verne, California
Old postcard of the Wilson's Sandwich Shop Route 66, La Verne, California, by

As you can see comparing it with the image below, the place is still there, though somewhat changed in its appearance:

It was reborn in 1966 as the La Paloma, a Mexican restaurant opened by Joe Parker, and is still run by the Parker family.

The Paloma Mexican restaurant, since 1966 on Route 66:

The La Paloma restaurant on Route 66 in La Verne
View of the La Paloma restaurant in La Verne. Google
Click image for street view

Don't miss its Route 66 sign, a classic with geometric shapes and colors plus neon letters. A real 1960s icon. By the way, the name is Spanish, and means "Dove" and you will see one depicted in the sign, on top of the Mexican hat.

Drive 0.7 mi. west and on the NW corner of Fruit Street you will spot the McDonald's with golden arches:

McDonald's Golden Arches building

2269 Foothill Blvd., La Verne

This "vintage" McDonald's from the early 1950s has the peculiar Golden Arches design incorporated as two real arches into the building's structure.

The McDonald's with the Golden Arches in La Verne:

present appearance of the McDonald's with the Golden Arches in La Verne
View of the McDonald's with the Golden Arches in La Verne. Google
Click image for street view

In 1952 the McDonald brothers (Richard and Maurice) decided to create an eye-catching building for their restaurant chain and believed that an arch would make it stand out. So they hired Stanley Clark Meston, an architect from Fontana to design it.

Meston came up with the well known yellow arches, now classic, the "Golden Arches". They were two stylized yellow parabolic arches which stood 25 ft. (7.6 m) tall, at eaach side of the building. The "golden arches" had been born.

They were immediately included in the design of the new restaurants opened after May 1953. But after the early 1960s, the arches were eliminated from buildings, and incorporated into the logo, as part of the two arches that form the "M" of McDonald's.

Read about the other three memorable McDonald's on Route 66 in this part of California: the First ever McDonald's in San Bernardino (now a museum) and the Monrovia vintage logo McDonald's and the Golden Arches in Upland.

Continue west for 0.4 miles and take a right along Emerald Ave. for 0.3 mi., to visit a historic home right next to CA-210 freeway:

Charles Straight House

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

4333 Emerald Ave., La Verne. Only 0.3 mi from Route 66 up Emerald Ave. (Map with directions).

On the left side of the road you will see The Charles E. Straight House, a Colonial Revival styling with Queen Anne details. See Street View.


Now head into the Old Town it is a short 2.1 mile drive south of Route 66:

Old Town La Verne

This is the map of the 1.5 mile drive covering the Old Town's attractions.

A drive down Third Street (where the University of La Verne is located) clearly displays what Lordsburg and later La Verne looked like. Don't miss D Street, with its quaint shops (see the photo above showing the downtown in the 1950s and today).

Queen Anne style houses on E St. and Bonita Ave. (See Street View) are a good sampling of buildings in the area and of course the "Brethren Church" on E Street with its Gothic Moderne style (See Street View).

As you head back to Route 66, take D Street and visit the location of a classic movie scene:

Trivia: "The Graduate" in La Verne

The wedding scene, which ends the film "The Grauate" (1967) were shot in La Verne - though in the film it is supposedly Santa Barbara.

The secene takes place in the United Methodist Church (3205 D St. La Verne.) and it is there that Ben (Dustin Hoffman) convinces Elaine (Katharine Ross) to run away -from the wedding ceremony with him. Both elope into an unknown future taking a bus that still runs along D St.

Head back to Foothill Blvd., and head west, past CA-210 to see a modern yet classically designed Diner: Mr. D's Diner:

Mr. D's Diner

919 Foothill Blvd. La Verne to your right.

A shining stainless steel building with a classic look, the Diner is an eye-catcher. Check their website.

The classic yet modern diner:

a modern yet classic diner in La Verne
View of the Mr.D's Diner in La Verne. Google
Click image for street view

Those interested in history, can go further afield and visit the site of an ancient abode from 1868. (map with directions):

Carrion Adobe

California Registered Landmark

919 Puddingstone Drive, La Verne (Map with location).

There is a plaque at the site. The house was built in 1868 by Saturnino Carrión on his ranch that covered 380 acres and was part of the Rancho San José which belonged to Saturnino's uncle, Ygnacio Palomares.

Carrión mortgaged his home to fight against the creation of the Puddingstone Reservoir o nhis land. He lost (as the lake next to it proves).

The place lay abandoned and served as a hen run until it was restored by Paul Traweek in 1951.

The home, built in sun baked bricks (adobe) has an L-shape. Now it is private property.

Tours & Itineraries

The Alignment of Old Route 66 in La Verne California

From Pomona to La Verne

route 66 shield California

The first road through the area, built for cars, was the National Old Trails highway (N.O.T.), which was laid out in the early 1910s to link Los Angeles with New York. It followed the Santa Fe railroad tracks in California, Arizona and New Mexico and went through La Verne.

Route 66 in La Verne

The course of Route 66 between Pomona and La Verne is a simple segment, both towns are next to each other so you will not notice where one ends and the other begins. Actually it is the northern tip of Pomona that extends up to Route 66, separating La Verne from Claremont.

Route 66 extends for 2.5 mi along Foothill Boulevard in La Verne, between Williams Ave. in the east and Baseline Rd., just north of CA-210 freeway, where San Dimas begins.

This is a Map of Route 66 in La Verne.

> > See the previous segment Victorville to San Bernardino

> > See this segment San Bernardino to Pasadena (west)

Accommodation Search box:


Rentalcars advertisement


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

Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.