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Arizona Flag - Legends of the High Desert IconARIZONA LEGENDS

Two Guns - Death By Highway

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About thirty miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona, is the historic ghost town of Two Guns. The area that would become Two Guns started as a site of major confrontation between the Navajos and the Apaches in the 19th century. In 1880 the land just to the north of Two Guns was Canyon Diablo, which would become a ghost town before Two Guns was even born.

 

When the white settlers began to populate the area, they recognized that it was an ideal place to Cross Canyon Diablo – first by wagon, then later by motor cars.  Later when the nearby National Trail highway was re-named Route 66, area residents created the town of Two Guns just to the south to serve travelers, named after a local resident named Henry E. Miller, who called himself "Two Gun Miller."

 

Two Guns Arizona Sign

For a period of time Two Guns was locked off and you  could only view it from behind a fence. Perhaps it was then that the "Not" was added to this Welcome Sign. December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

 

 

Reportedly, Miller was an eccentric hermit who lived in a cave in nearby Canyon Diablo and was hostile to visitors. He was also said to be wild and violent. Another report says that he owned the service facilities in the town and that was the reason for using his name.

 

Two Guns Arizona Service Station

Vintage postcard of Two Guns, Arizona Service Station

 

In any case, Two Guns became one of many tourist stops along Route 66 with a gas station, over night accommodations, a cafe, and a souvenir shop for the many travelers of the Mother Road. Later a "zoo” was added to the popular tourist stop which included mountain lions, panthers, and bobcats. Their "cages" were huge kiln-like structures of brick, mortar and chicken wire, built along the rim and north wall of the canyon.

 

After I-40 bypassed Two Guns, it like so many other popular Route 66 stops, died a quick death. Although numerous resuscitations have been attempted for Two Guns, it still sits lonely and abandoned today.

 

At the site are the remains of the old bridge that crossed Canyon Diablo when it was part of the National Trail and Route 66. The ruins of the old zoo can still be seen, as well as several abandoned buildings.

Two Guns is off of I-40 at exit 230 between Flagstaff, and Meteor City. After exiting, turn left, cross I-40 towards the site.

 

If you've got the time and a four-wheel drive vehicle, you might also want to check out what was once one of the roughest towns in Arizona - Canyon Diablo. To read about Canyon Diablo, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Two Guns Arizona

Two Guns Tower, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

Two Guns Arizona

Two Guns Tower, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

Two Guns Zoo Cage

Two Guns Zoo Cage, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

Two Guns Arizona Kamp

Two Guns Camp, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

Two Guns Arizona Zoo

Remains of Two Guns Zoo, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

 

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From Legends' General Store

 

Arizona Route 66 Tin SignRoute 66 Signs For All Eight States - Collect all the shields of the eight states along the Mother Road.  These metal signs are silk screened on solid metal and have hemmed edges. Ready for hanging from pre-drilled holes in the corners.  Put it up in your bar, dorm room, game room, kitchen, garage, patio or anywhere you'd like! Makes a GREAT gift for your family and friends!  Measures approximately 11"x11"  Collect all eight states!!

 

 

 

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