Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66

Esotouric’s “Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles” tours each explore themes of industry, infrastructure, architecture and the built environment.

In this third installment in our ongoing architecture series, we explore California’s Mother Road and the building of its dream. The dream manifests at the turn of the 20th century as we explore how the climate was sold, the growth of the citrus industry and Tuberculosis hospitals. Then come the programmatic roadside architecture of the 1920s and 1930s and postwar V-8 visions fueled by gasoline and good climate (too bad you can’t run an engine on it).

The Reyner Banham tour series is dedicated to revealing greater L.A.’s infrastructure, history, the built and natural environment, transportation corridors, drive-ins, attractions and oddities.

This tour will focus on the built environment along the Mother Road with an emphasis on old and historic alignments of Route 66 as well as signage.

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. We will tour the orchard and hear more about the history of this family from 4th generation member, Jeff Ward.

Aztec Hotel. Though really Mayan in decoration, this 1924 Robert Stacy Judd-designed gem in the San Gabriel Valley’s crown is 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.

The McNeil & Vosberg Residences (The Feuding Slauson Sisters of Azusa). A hidden gem of Azusa lore, and family dynamics. It also serves 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.

Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles Tour Overview page