If you have ever travelled the high desert on I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, you have seen the Summit Inn. The Summit Inn was an iconic bit of Americana in the middle of the California desert, a landmark along the historic Route 66. The Blue Cut fire exploded in the high desert on August 16th, catching the area residents and emergency responders off guard. During the first day, it burnt about 30,000 acres and took with it numerous structures, homes and landscapes.
A History of the Summit Inn
It wasn’t an architectural point of interest for SoCal, but it was a significant landmark along historical Route 66 that represented a picture of Americana from the heyday of 1950’s travel. The Summit Inn took its name from the original location, between the east and westbound lanes of Route 66 in 1928. The present location was in operation since 1952, when Route 66 was changed along a lower elevation. In 1966, a new owner hit the scene and took control of the Summit Inn, with the idea of having just a Texaco filling station. However, his idea was changed and he agreed to keeping the restaurant portion of the Summit Inn, if a local German woman took control of the food service. Hilda Fish took control of the restaurant and operated it until 2002, when she retired. Route 66 was demolished in 1970 to make way for I-15, but the Summit Inn remained in operation and became an major attraction for travelers between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Remembering an Icon
We are sad to see the loss of the Summit Inn. It represented the best of Americana and preserved the history of Route 66. It preserved the memory of the era for future generations to experience. It is too early into this epic fire event to know if the Summit Inn will be rebuilt. There was so much memorabilia and historical articles lost in the fire. We can only hope the Summit Inn will return to its place of honor on along the American highway where it deserves to be.
The Summit Inn
Those Were The Days
A Bit of Americana