Route 66 Road Trip: Roadside Architecture, Citrus, Drive-Ins & Cemeteries

Join us on an afternoon's exploration of California's Mother Road and the building of its dream in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. From the real estate boosterism of the 1880s to the citrus industry, health farms, TB hospitals and daffy roadside architecture, from its earliest days Southern California branded itself as something new under the sun.

Highlights of the Route 66 tour include:

E. Wald Ward Farm, purveyors of fine preservatives and other delicacies. We will visit the barn store of this venerable Sierra Madre citrus family which has been in business of producing and selling the highest quality preserves from their orchards since 1918. Come tour the canning facility and mini museum, and hear all about the history of this uniquely California family from 4th generation proprietor Jeff Ward.

Aztec Hotel. Designed in the Mayan style by architect Robert Stacy Judd, this 1924 National Register landmark is being restored by its new owners and is again becoming the place again to get your kicks. Judd's buildings in Southern California were an important influence on Frank Lloyd Wright's Mayan houses, and are among the most lyrical and inventive architectural spaces in the region.

The McNeil & Vosberg Residences (The Feuding Slauson Sisters of Azusa). A hidden gem of Azusa lore, and family dynamics. These historic residences, set in a growing new suburb, also serve as a reminder of the fragility of ecologies to the incessant crush of progress.

Fairmount Cemetery, a remote and fascinating Civil War-era hillside burial ground.

This four hour tour will include a complimentary coffee and cookies stop in the early afternoon. We recommend bringing a bag lunch as well. Please note: comfortable walking shoes recommended. One of our shorter tour stops takes us over slightly rugged ground, and less agile passengers may prefer to remain on the bus.

This tour is just one of our California Culture tour series (formerly known as the Reyner Banham Loves L.A. series).