Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Our first visit is to the historic SYCAMORE INN

Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

 The Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail recently committed to launching our YouTube Channel and visited some of the historic landmarks that grace our city.  Our Media Team visited several locations, including:

•             The Sycamore Inn – 1889

•             The Thomas Winery – the oldest winery in California

•             The Alta Loma Packing House

•             Marks Bicycle

•             REI

•             Etiwanda Pacific Electric Depot

•             Chaffey Garcia House

•             Day Creek Trailhead

•             China House

Just to name a few


In the coming weeks we will be adding additional videos of trail safety, bike repair and of course the 21-mile Regional Pacific Electric Trail.  If you enjoy the PE Trail and have a suggestion for a future episode, please comment below.


We seem to always be passing by the Sycamore Inn. Driving by, or riding bikes past it, or even walking by it. But when you stop there, you cannot help to be struck by its early California charm and its’ important place in Cucamonga’s development.

Early in California history, the wide boulevard that calls home to the Sycamore Inn was just a dirt path called the Santa Fe Trail. In March 1774, it was this trail that brought Spanish explorer Captain Juan Batista de Anza to this lush oasis of giant Sycamore trees, situated next to a natural creek from the majestic mountains above.



The local Kukamonga Indians invited the Spanish soldiers to remain in the oasis for a while, and the Spaniards were taken with the way that the local natives seemed to share the site that was teaming with wildlife. This grove of Cottonwoods, Willows, Sycamores, and trickling creeks, joined by relatively friendly California bears was named by the Spaniards "Arroyo Los Osos", later translated to Bear Gulch, a name that remains to this day.

The Spaniards enjoyed this lush region of California and some, decided to remain.  Felipe Santiago Tapia, one of Anza’s original soldiers, was one. 



In 1839, the Spanish Governor of California, Juan Alvarado granted Felipe’s grandson, Tiburcio Tapia, a land grant of over 13,000 acres, named Rancho Cucamonga, which lay between Rancho Santa Ana del Chino in the south to San Bernardino in the East.  Don Tapia immediately began construction on an adobe ranch home on the crest of Red Hill, overlooking the oasis at Arroyo de Los Osos where his grandfather once camped with the Anza expedition.


By the mid-1800's, the dirt road that ran past the lush sycamore grove had become a main thoroughfare from San Bernardino to the growing communities of Los Angeles to the West.  Horses, wagons, carriages, and stagecoaches dug deep ruts into the well-traveled road. Eventually William Rubottom, affectionately to be known as "Uncle Billy" recognized opportunity and saw value in a strategically placed inn and tavern that could provide warm hospitality to weary wayfarers and locals settlers, anxious to share an evening of relaxation with each other.





That old dirt road that fronted the Inn became the fabled Route 66, the primary route from points east in Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. During those colorful years of the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's, before freeways, the Inn hosted the rich and famous...movie stars and notables, both the famous and the infamous, en route to Las Vegas and Palm Springs. The Inn is rich with folklore. Legend has it that both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Short (the "Black Dahlia") dined at the Sycamore in the weeks before their untimely demise. Other notables claiming to have eaten at the Inn include Al Capone, and Bugsy Segel....We all know what happened to them.

A new generation of hospitality began in 2002. Proprietors, Linda and Chuck Keagle, Brady Main, and Executive Chef Louis Alvarez, long-time restaurateurs, became enthusiastic owners of the historic old Inn. With a renewed vitality, and an affectionate recognition for the rich tradition of the Inn, the new owners have continued the long tradition of hospitality and good food, excellent service, and a welcoming ambiance, the new Sycamore Inn honors its roots and welcomes new traditions.  Do you have a favorite story to share about the Sycamore Inn, please comment below.

Dennis Jones Friend of the Pacific Electric Trail
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