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Arizona Flag - Legends of the High Desert IconARIZONA LEGENDS

Beyond Winslow on Route 66

Route 66 Photo Prints Here!

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After leaving Winslow and heading west on Route 66 you will soon come to Meteor City, a tourist stop inviting you to sample their many wares before heading on down to see the Meteor Crater. Just so ya know, Meteor City, really isnít a "city," rather, itís trading post that calls itself a city. However, itís a great photo opportunity with its geodesic dome, vintage trucks, and the worldís largest dream catcher.

 

Just beyond Meteor City, is the road to the Meteor Crater, some six miles south of I-40. The crater was formed approximately 50,000 years ago when an iron mass, weighing over 60,000 tons entered the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the formation which is about 4,000 feet wide and 570 feet deep.

 

During the hey days of Route 66 a man named D.M. Barringer built an observatory just off of the Mother Road so that the many travelers passing by the area could see the crater without having to travel the additional six or so miles to the site. For just 25 cents, travelers could stand from the observation tower and see the crater through a telescope.

 

 

Meteor City, Arizona

Meteor City isn't really a city, it's a trading post, painted and

adorned in true vintage Route 66. January, 2005, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photographic prints HERE!

 

Meteorite ObservatoryToday the observatory is nothing but stone ruins; however, a visitorís center and guided tours are available at the crater itself.

 

Continuing west upon your journey you will soon see the exit of Two Guns. Here, there are actually two ghost towns Ė Two Guns and Canyon Diablo, one almost on top of the other. Located on the far side of the canyon, Canyon Diablo was described, during its heyday, like this: "Tombstone, Virginia City and Abilene could not hold a candle to this end-of-the-rail depravity.Ē Two Guns, built after Canyon Diablo was already long dead, thrived during the peak years of Route 66 popularity.

 

Today, both towns sit silently looking upon the canyon below. Located on private property, the site is sometimes inaccessible, with gates closed and photo opportunities available only from the frontage road. At other times, the gate is open, seemingly inviting a visit.

 

Twin Arrows Trading Post east of Flagstaff, Arizona

The next stop upon your journey is the old Twin Arrows Trading Post at exit 219. A long lasting Route 66 icon, the Twin Arrows Trading Post didnít cease doing business that long ago, as its price of gas is frozen at $1.39/gallon. Sadly, for years, its prominent red and yellow arrows were deteriorating against the desert winds and the Arizona sun. However, in August, 2009, they were restored and look better than they have in years.

Padre Canyon

From Twin Arrows the oldest alignment of Route 66 once traveled northwest of todayís I-40, crossing Padre Canyon which dramatically breaks the relatively flat plains of the high desert.  Pre-dating Route 66, the 1914 Padre Canyon Bridge, on the old Flagstaff-Winslow highway, was one of the most dangerous on the Mother Road.

 

A number of serious accidents occurred here as drivers were required to undertake six hazardous approach curves descending into the canyon before crossing the narrow bridge, and climbing out the other side. But, at the time it was the only way for the many depression era travelers, and later, tourists taking vacations, to make their way westward. Recognizing the traffic volume and the dangerous aspects of the road, Route 66 was re-aligned with a new bridge in 1937 in the same place that it is today. This bridge, too, was replaced when I-40 came through, but its old foundations can still be seen under the west bound lanes of I-40.

 

Today, the old Padre Canyon Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though a little worse for wear, the architecture speaks of another era when model-Tís were the norm.  Though the bridge is just about one mile northwest of the Twin Arrows exit, it cannot be seen from the interstate because of its depth in the canyon. Located on private property, permission should be obtained to access the bridge from the east. Lacking permission, the bridge can also be seen by approaching it from Winona on the old Forest Service Road. The bridge and canyon are approximately eight miles on rough roads. A high clearance vehicle is recommended.

 

Winona

 

Finally, in the words of Bobby Troup, "don't forget Winona." Originally, the place was called Walnut, predating its occupation in 1912. The town got its beginning when a man named Billy Adams was making his way on a bicycle from Moody, Texas to Long Beach, California to visit his brother in the early 1900's.

 

Padre Canyon Bridge

Padre Canyon Bridge, courtesy The Road Wanderer

 

 

Winona, Arizona Trading Post on Route 66

Old Winona Trading Post and station postcards

 

However, before he reached California, he came upon a spot, about 13 miles east of Flagstaff, which would become Winona. He simply liked the place and traveling on to Flagstaff he boarded a train and returned to Texas. There he married a girl named Myrtle and they soon returned to that "perfect spot," building a trading post that exchanged supplies and groceries with the Navajo and Hopi Indians for blankets, jewelry, and other native crafts.

 

Though Route 66 was not yet established, by the 1920's Model-T's were making their way westward on the Flagstaff-Winslow Highway, passing right by the Adams' trading post. Seeing opportunity, they soon established one of first tourist camps in Arizona, in 1920. Billy built 12 one room cabins as well as overnight camping for those who couldn't afford the $1 night cabin fee.

 

Billy's skilled trade was as a barber and after he got the tourist camp going, he traveled to Flagstaff to work, while Myrtle ran the store and tourist camp. Before long, a number of ranchers had settled in the area and a post office was needed. Myrtle Adams became its first Post Mistress in 1924. To make mail pick-up easier, she would hang the mail sack outside so that it could be hooked by railroad men as the train rolled by. A Texaco service station was also added. The Adams' continued to live upstairs in the trading post through the 1920's, when they moved across the highway. There, they homesteaded a piece of land and Billy began ranching, a career he continued, increasing their landholdings until they wound up with a sizeable spread and retired in the late 1960's.

 

Winona grew as people began to travel Route 66 in earnest, winding up with a population of just over 100 people. However, the small town's Route 66 heydays would be short, as in 1937, the highway was routed south of the town bypassing it all together. The Adams' sold the store in the 1940's to a couple named the Pills, who added a garage offering mechanical work. When Mr. Pill retired, his son, Bill took over the operations. It then sold two more times before closing down forever.

 

Winona never really prospered like so many other small towns along the Mother Road and never incorporated. It gained its greatest notoriety by being mentioned in Bobby Troup's Get Your Kicks on Route 66 song. Today, there is little left of Route 66 here, with the exception of a great old bridge.

Next stop Ė Flagstaff, with its historic downtown, numerous photo opportunities, and a wealth of side trips worth the taking.

 

 

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated March, 2010.

 

Route 66 Bridge at Winona, Arizona

Old bridge at Winona, Arizona, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser.

 

 

Canyon Diablo, Arizona

Canyon Diablo ruins in the background, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser.

 

Two Guns Arizona Kamp

Two Guns Camp, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser.

 

 

  Return to Route 66 

 

To Canyon Diablo

 

Return to Route 66

 

To Winslow, AZ

 

From Legends' General Store

We've been including great bumper sticker quotes in our newsletters since the beginning and many of you ask, why don't we sell them. Now we do!

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