A fast-moving wildfire in the Inland Empire in California left a trail of destruction along Interstate 15, including leveling a historic Route 66 diner which in its heyday was frequented by Elvis, John Wayne, and more of Hollywood’s elite.
The iconic Summit Inn diner, located in Oak Hills along the Cajon Pass, was a popular roadside destination for people traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas since the 1950s.
The vintage building’s signature red neon “Summit Inn” sign would flash on and off, beckoning drivers along Interstate 15 to stop in for a bite to eat or visit the gift shop full of memorabilia.
It is now in ashes.
“It is beyond comprehension how this could possibly happen,” reads a message posted on the diner’s Facebook page.
Ten tables full of customers and a half-dozen employees fled the restaurant around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when firefighters told them they had to leave. The restaurant was destroyed just hours later.
The Summit Inn, which opened in 1952, was visited by both tourists and celebrities alike. Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Pierce Brosnan are just some of the famous faces that have visited the diner.
“Elvis stopped at the restaurant and kicked the jukebox when he didn’t see any of his records,” owner Katherine Juarez said.
Juarez said the family plans to visit the site Wednesday to see what memorabilia can be salvaged.
She said that the diner was insured and that the family hopes to rebuild.