Monday, April 06, 2009

The Two Route 66s through San Bernardino...

Most of you from around San Bernardino know the story of how the McDonald brothers moved to California from New England to California, where they tried running a drive-in restaurant in Arcadia. They moved to San Bernardino, where they thought it would be better, but it was no different.

The books (and the brothers) always said something about both establishments being on US 66.

Those of us who grew up after the freeway was built (originally I-15, then I-15E, now I-215) remember that Business Route US 66 (the old highway) joined Business Route US 395 at the corner of Fifth Street and Mount Vernon Avenue. Past Highland Avenue, the route moved to Cajon Boulevard where it left San Bernardino.

But there was also a City Route, which was discontinued when the freeway was built: At the intersection of Fifth Street and Mount Vernon Avenue, City Route 66 continued eastward to E Street. At E Street it went north until it hit Kendall Drive, which almost paralleled Cajon Boulevard, but at the end, when Kendall met Cajon, that was where the City Route ended. That was until 1964.

And it was on this road that the original McDonald's was located.

From 1964 to 1982, the section of this route from Highland Avenue to the Interstate was marked as California State Route 206, which didn't include the former McDonald's site.

Now, if you can find an old Riverside-San Bernardino Street Map, which you probably got for free at a Signal Gas Station in 1961, you can see what I mean.


Frank W. Woolworth (1852-1919) was the first major discounter in the United States. His was a success story that actually worked...

However, in the 1980s, the company wasn't doing so well... The company owned Kinney Shoes and the Foot Locker. It tried to outdo Kmart and Walmart with its Woolco chain.

San Bernardino had two stores downtown. One was in the Central City Mall (now the Carousel Mall, Berdoo's infamous monument of an idea gone horrible.) The other one was at the corner of Fourth and E Streets. The company fought to keep the E Street property. Unfortunately, even though the contract would expire in 12 years, the chain completely shut down.

Woolworth's had one of the better lunch counters. Only Grant's was better.

Der Wienerschnitzel

I have some sad news for you but it might seem a little late:

There is no such hot dog stand as Der Wienerschnitzel...

Actually, it hasn't existed since 1977, about the time the stands started selling hamburgers. They dropped Der... Now it's just Wienerschnitzel...

The chain started by John Galiardi in 1961 in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles and is probably the closest thing we have to a national hot dog chain. They do not serve the Austrian veal specialty, Wienerschnitzel. They never did. And they never will...

But one of my favorite sayings: Name changes never happen without a reason. In Der Wienerschnitzel's case, it was the addition of hamburgers...

Here is the original menu... Everything was 15 cents, except the Polish Sandwich, which was 45 cents... very expensive at the time...

  • Mustard Dog
  • Chili Dog
  • Kraut Dog
  • Relish Dog
  • Polish Sandwich
  • French Fries (actually offered later)
  • Soft Drinks

Later, a Ketchup Dog was offered, but most window people would sell you a Mustard Dog without mustard with a couple of ketchup packets. For a hot dog purist like me, I still don't know why they don't still do that...


Safeway was one of the biggest supermarket chains, not just in the United States, but the world. In 1979-82, when I was stationed in Berlin, Germany, when the Army band was on a trip to Hamburg, I can remember visiting a Safeway supermarket there that even had Cragmont soda pop!
On trips to Ecuador and Indonesia, I saw Safeway brand names at grocery stores there. More Cragmont soda pop!
I don't know what happened but the whole chain went crazy a couple of years after I got out of the Army in 1986. All the old Safeways became Vons. For a few years it was as if there were no Safeways in Southern California (they linger on in NorCal). And then, in the mid 1990s, they dropped most of the Vons brands and replace them with Safeway house brands. Some of the old names were gone. There was something quaint about Mrs. Wright's Bread. But they still had Lucerne milk. Which meant that Jerseymaid milk was gone. They kept that name for the ice cream.
By the way... I don't know if the building is still there, but there used to be a Safeway at the corner of F and Ninth Streets in Colton. While they were building the new library on Ninth Street, it served as a holding area for the books...
Safeway is gone in Germany. It was taken over by Morrison's in the United Kingdom and by Woolworth's (no immediate relation to the former F.W. Woolworth chain in America...)
The old library on La Cadena Drive (Eighth Street) is now the Colton Museum... More about that in a future posting...

Canada Dry Jamaica Cola...

It had more caffeine than a cola had a right to have. Made by Canada Dry, we were able to get it until the Coca-Cola Bottlers of San Bernardino started selling Canada Dry flavors (it would be many years before we got Fanta.)

A few years after this, I did see Jamaica Cola in other parts of the country but I think it's gone now.
This was one of the last cans. I remember it having a much prettier one than this.
Canada Dry ended up resorting to selling only mixers like club soda, ginger ale, and tonic water. They had wonderful fruit flavors and root beer.
Too bad it's all gone.