Take a trip down memory lane with these roadside attractions and other interesting places along Arizona’s highways.
The Twin Arrows Trading post, originally Padre Canyon Trading Post, was built on the 1937 Route 66 alignment. It came into its own in 1955 when the Troxell Family turned it into an experience that would put the property into history books as an icon of Route 66.
Two telephone poles were put into the ground, “tips and feathers” were added, and Twin Arrows was born.
Over the years the curio shop and Valentine Diner were added, along with a gas station with above ground tanks that are still visible today.
The once vibrant Twin Arrows Trading Post sits empty now among the flat plains and high desert terrain. Except for Interstate 40 which runs in front of the property, the vistas haven’t changed since the Native people were the only inhabitants of the area. Sitting vacant in the hot dry Arizona climate has taken its toll on the buildings. The Hopi Tribe, owners of the property, has great hopes for the property, and have already restored the iconic arrows. The State of Arizona, owners of the land, has blocked off the property for a variety of reasons.
Ghost Gas Station
Is a passing mention in a 40+ year old rock song lyric cause for civic celebration? In Winslow it sure is. When the Eagles first decided to “Take it Easy” in a song written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, the reference to “standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona” was just a catchy almost-rhyme. But the song has endured on classic rock radio, a sleepytime anthem for aimless 1970s wandering. In 1999, the town put the finishing touches on their “Standin’ on the Corner” Park. The downtown corner was designed to include a life-size statue of a relaxed dude-with-guitar and a two-story Trompe L’oeil mural laying out all the critical lyrics: “a girl” and “a flatbed Ford” reflected in a storefront, along with an eagle perched on one painted window sill.
The site is actually called Standin’ on the Corner Park, an annoying variant on the song lyric “standing on a corner.”
In early 2006, the building with the mural was mostly demolished – except for the mural wall. The small Route 66 town runs an annual Standin’ on the Corner Festival at the end of September featuring country rock and Eagles tribute bands. An estimated 100,000 people stop by every year to stand on its corner.
Meet Flagstaff’s 10-foot cedar statue of Louie the Lumberjack, the brother of the two 20-foot-plus giants that stand on campus as mascots of Northern Arizona University. Little Louie sits in the parking lot outside Granny’s Closet, a famous restaurant on South Milton Street in Flagstaff, AZ.
Granny’s Closet was originally called the Lumberjack Cafe which had three carved wood lumberjacks outside to attract travelers along Route 66.
The nearly 1,000-pound statue was restored back in 2009. After carving all the rot out, Bondo was used to contour Louie’s chest, biceps, legs, thighs and buttocks. He now wears size-22 shoes, has a bigger ax and is coated with fiberglass in order to protect him from the elements.
Dive Bar – Williams, AZ
An old, restored Route 66 gas station in Williams, AZ serves as a museum about Route 66 and old gas stations.
Route 66 Motel – Williams, AZ
Double six in Williams, AZ.
Williams was the last town to have its section of Route 66 bypassed, due to lawsuits that kept the last section of Interstate 40 in Arizona from being built around the town. After settlements called for the state to build three Williams exits, the suits were dropped and I-40 was completed. On October 13, 1984, Interstate 40 was opened around the town and newspapers the next day reported the essential end of US 66. The following year, Route 66 was decommissioned.
Native America specializes in genuine Native American jewelry, Navajo rugs, basketry and artifacts generally from the Hopi, Navajo and Zuni Tribes. Love the sign.
The 1928 Peach Tree Trading Post had stone walls, stepped parapets, heavy Ponderosa Pine vigas (exposed beams), and massive chimneys. Rocks were hauled from a spot on the side of a nearby hill, and pine logs were brought from the forest in the northeast part of the reservation. The building’s appearance reflects a blending of prehistoric and historic southwestern architectural styles, likely designed to appeal more to Route 66 tourists than to the surrounding Hualapai Tribe it also served.
The Historic John Osterman gas station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. It was built by a Swedish immigrant in 1929 and served gas continuously in Peach Springs until around 2000. The Hualapai Tribe plans to rehabilitate the building and reestablish fuel service, making it one of few Historic Route 66 stations to supply fuel to travelers and residents.
Nine miles past Peach Springs, a plaster dinosaur welcomes you to the Grand Canyon Caverns & Inn, a cool subterranean retreat from the summer heat. An elevator drops 210ft underground to artificially lit limestone caverns and the skeletal remains of a prehistoric ground sloth. I had to nix going into the caverns on my trip due to time but I’ll be back.
Eclectic Route 66 eatery in Seligman, AZ. Food, stuffed animals and an Old West “town” with ample photo opportunities, including an old territorial jail.
Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In is a historic eatery and roadside attraction located along former Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona.
If you’re a Route 66 dreamer, then Hackberry General Store is your dream-come-true: dusty, small, out in the middle of nowhere, packed with old cars and old Route 66 stuff. The store is a museum of old Route 66 and has been called the “mother lode of mother road memorabilia.” No gas is sold but vintage pumps stand outside the Mobilgas Pegasus leaps from the roof and the Greyhound dog welcomes bus travelers.
Brown Pickle Love in Hackberry, AZ.
The town of Hackberry used to be a small community of ranchers, miners and their families. The railroad came to Hackberry in 1882, loading cattle from area ranches along with ore from the Hackberry Silver Mine. The mine began in 1874 when prospectors built a mining camp near a spring on the east side of the Peacock Mountains. The mine was named for a large hackberry tree that grew near the spring. Mining ceased in 1919 but not before over $3,000,000 in gold and silver had been produced. During this time, Hackberry offered regular services to its residents including a one-room school house, post office and two bordello’s.
The fuzz in Hackberry, AZ.
Burma-Shave was a brand of brushless shaving cream that was sold from 1925 to 1966. The company was notable for its innovative advertising campaign, which included rhymes posted all along the nation’s roadways ,including Route 66. Typically, six signs were erected, with each of the first five containing a line of verse, and the sixth displaying the brand name.
To market Burma-Shave, Allan Odell devised the concept of sequential signboards to sell the product. Allan Odell recalled one time when he noticed signs saying Gas, Oil, Restrooms, and finally a sign pointing to a roadside gas station. The signs compelled people to read each one in the series, and would hold the driver’s attention much longer than a conventional billboard. Though Allan’s father, Clinton, wasn’t crazy about the idea he eventually gave Allan $200 to give it a try.
In the fall of 1925, the first sets of Burma-Shave signs were erected on two highways leading out of Minneapolis. Sales rose dramatically in the area, and the signs soon appeared nationwide. The next year, Allan and his brother Leonard set up more signs, spreading across Minnesota and into Wisconsin, spending $25,000 that year on signs. Orders poured in, and sales for the year hit $68,000. This use of the billboards was a highly successful advertising gimmick, drawing attention to passers-by who were curious to discover the punch line. Within a decade, Burma-Shave was the second most popular brand of shaving cream in the United States. The first set of slogans were written by the Odells; however, they soon started an annual contest for people to submit the rhymes. With winners receiving a $100 prize, some contests received over 50,000 entries.
At their height of popularity there were 7,000 Burma-Shave signs stretching across America. They became such an icon to these early day travelers that families eagerly anticipated seeing the rhyming signs along the roadway, with someone in the car excitedly proclaiming, “I see Burma-Shave signs!” Breaking up the monotony of long trips, someone once said, “No one could read just one.” Burma-Shave sales rose to about 6 million by 1947, at which time sales stagnated for the next seven years, and then gradually began to fall. Various reasons caused sales to fall, the primary one being urban growth. Typically, Burma-Shave signs were posted on rural highways and higher speed limits caused the signs to be ignored. Subsequently, the Burma-Vita Company was sold to Gillette in 1963, which in turn became part of American Safety Razor, and Phillip Morris. The huge conglomerate decided the verses were a silly idea and one of America’s vintage icons was lost to progress.
The 14-foot-tall statue is the brainchild of Gregg Arnold who owns the old Kozy Korner trailer park complex.
A certified welder by trade, Arnold said “The Andy Warhol Diaries,” which were published after the artist’s death in 1987, inspired him. “The creativity just flew there,” said Arnold. “I always wanted a place like that and I thought, “What better place than Route 66?’ “I want this for artists, painters, poets, whatever their outlet is.”
Arnold says these quasi-art installations aren’t just a creative outlet for him. He’s remodeling the main building, which he hopes to reopen as a restaurant and souvenir shop. He also wants to attract artists to the site. He doesn’t have a timeline to reopen.
So what’s the story with the A-frame? “Nickerson Farms was an American roadside restaurant franchise that existed between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s. It was started by a former Stuckey’s [I loved this place] franchisee who did not agree with that chain’s rules and regulations. Nickerson Farms had as many as sixty restaurants located along Interstate highways, mainly in the Midwestern United States. Each location had a full-room restaurant, with a gift shop. Honey, collected from on-site beehives, could also be purchased at the stores.
The Route 66 Museum is truly unique in that it is a museum of history, housed in a historical building that lighted the way for the earliest Route 66 travelers. The building, built in two phases between 1907 and 1911, was operated by the Desert Power & Light Company and powered early Kingman and area mines starting in July, 1909. It also supplied power for the construction of Hoover Dam, until the Dam began producing cheaper hydroelectric power in the late 1930’s. It was soon mothballed, not to be restored until 60 years later when it was opened as a Visitor Center in 1997.
Opened May 2001 and operated by the Mohave Pioneers Historical Society, the Arizona Route 66 Museum is located in Kingman’s Historic Powerhouse and depicts the historical evolution of travel along the 35th parallel that became Route 66.
“Follow the paths of the Native American trade routes and the U. S. Army led survey expeditions. Travel along with the settlers on their migration west over the nation’s first federally funded wagon roads. Feel the hardship and despair of the dust bowl refugees as they journeyed along the Mother Road to a better life. Visit Main Street America as the 50’s usher in fun and excitement for Route 66 travelers.”
Protecting and preserving historic, sacred, and sensitive sites should be practiced by all. Locations, directions, and names to some of the places found on this site are not listed, please don’t ask for them. Tread lightly, leave no trace and always respect the wonder that surrounds you.