The Victorville Daily Press reported co-owner Otto Recinos began this week salvaging what was left of the burned-out property near Oak Hills, California, at the top of Southern California’s legendary Cajon Pass.
Recinos is on the lookout for anything that will bring memories of the old into the new Summit Inn once it’s constructed, including the fireplace that survived the fire.
“We’re taking the fireplace apart stone by stone,”Recinos said. “Those stones are from the original building that burned in 1936. Now it’s burned again, and we’re going to save all the stone and build it again in the new Summit.”
Additionally, what’s left of the barstools will also be salvaged and included in the new restaurant, according to Recinos, who said there’s already a general contractor and architect involved in the rebuild project.
Recinos said he will have to build a new septic system, and the rebuild will need some a few codes relaxed from the city of Hesperia to speed the rebuilding. Once construction starts, he anticipates it taking eight to 12 months.
Based on that time frame, it’s possible Summit Inn could reopen by late 2017.
Recinos also told the newspaper he plans a hot-rod show as a requiem for the restaurant. A date for it hasn’t been set. He also eventually will set a relighting ceremony for the Summit Inn sign, which survived the fire.
“I’ve had a lot of locals tell me the top of the Cajon Pass doesn’t feel the same without the sign, so we’re working on getting power up there,” Recinos said. “We’ll re-light the sign and raise the flag. The sign was like a guiding post (for Interstate 15 travelers).”
The Summit Inn changed owners mere weeks ago when C.A. Stevens, just short of his 50th anniversary there sold it and the rest of the complex for about $1 million.
The Summit Inn had operated at its present site since 1952, although its roots in Cajon Pass date to the late 1920s. Celebrities who ate there included Elvis Presley, Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood and Danny Thomas.
(Image of Summit Inn in 2008 by danpadilla via Flickr)