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Blue Cut Fire victim: Route 66 diner Summit Inn, haven for road-trippers and hotrodders




BEFORE THE FIRE: An undated photo of the Summit Inn in the Cajon Pass, a haven for hotrodders.
BEFORE THE FIRE: An undated photo of the Summit Inn in the Cajon Pass, a haven for hotrodders.
Courtesy Bobby Green
BEFORE THE FIRE: An undated photo of the Summit Inn in the Cajon Pass, a haven for hotrodders.
AND AFTER: The historic Summit Inn burned in the Blue Cut Fire Tuesday, with a few walls still standing.
Stuart Palley for KPCC


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The Summit Inn, in the Cajon Pass a couple hours from L.A., was a Route 66 landmark, and Tuesday it became a victim of the in the Blue Cut fire. Off-Ramp host John Rabe revisited its history with L.A. bar owner Bobby Green. 

Green is part of the 1933 Group, which has restored a number of historic bars in LA like the Highland Park Bowl and The Idle Hour in North Hollywood. He's a old time hot rod enthusiast, and the Summit Inn, opened in 1952, was a haven for hotrodders.

"In 1952," he says, "You're gonna drive your hot rod or your race car from Los Angeles 12, 14 hours to the Bonneville Salt Flats. You're gonna stop at several points, and the Summit Inn was the perfect place to stop. You make it up this hill from Los Angeles, and hopefully you haven't overheated. Most people did, and they'd stop at the Summit Inn and let their car cool down.

Green says it was also a happy reminder that you were almost home after the long drive from the Salt Flats. Now, it's gone, and Green says there's nothing else like it.

"The whole valley beyond it is modern and corporate. It's familiar, and when you're traveling, you're lonely, you miss home. So you have these little icons along the way. And we have so few of them now. The Subways and Starbucks don't really cut for me. I need a place like the Summit Inn to feel a little slice of home."

A Route 66 sign is one the only things still standing after the Blue Cut Fire burnt the historic Summit Inn diner to the ground overnight, at the top of the Cajon Pass in Hesperia, California, on August 17, 2016.
A Route 66 sign is one the only things still standing after the Blue Cut Fire burnt the historic Summit Inn diner to the ground overnight, at the top of the Cajon Pass in Hesperia, California, on August 17, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to the audio in the player for much more of the conversation.