Twin Arrows To Winona
Heading westward on Route 66 beyond the ghost towns of
Two Guns and
Canyon Diablo, travelers will soon come to the old site of the Twin Arrows
Trading Post, before passing by Padre Canyon, and, NO, you can't forget
For years, billboards lined old Route 66 advertising
Arrows Trading Post
219. Today, however, this once vibrant
icon sits abandoned in the Arizona desert just next to I-40, with concrete
barriers blocking access and large semi-trucks rushing by, close enough
make your hair fly.
Though the specific date that it was established remains unknown, it was
built sometime after 1946, as it was not mentioned in
Jack Rittenhouse's A Guide Book to Highway 66. When it first
opened it was called the Padre Canyon Trading Post named for the
nearby Padre Canyon Gorge. It appears to have gained little notice until
when it was taken over by the Troxell
Family, who placed
two very tall wooden arrows complete with tips and
feathers in the parking lot and renamed it the Twin
Arrows Trading Post.
Over the years a Valentine Diner, and a
gas station with above ground tanks that are still visible today.
Unfortunately, like with so many Route 66 businesses, the construction
of the interstate through the area in the 1970s spelled impending
doom for the once popular toursit spite. Despite having Exit 219 designated in its name, the
business soon began to fail. It reportedly changed hands
a number of times, reopening for the last time in 1995. After
operating for some 60 years, it finally closed down for good in 1998. In
the end, the property was relinquished to the
Today, the land continues to be owned by the State of Arizona, but the
buildings and its famous arrows is owned by the Hopi tribe. For years, the
buildings have sat vacant in the hot dry Arizona, with both the weather
and the vandals taking their toll on this Route 66 Icon.
The Hopi Tribe, owners of the property, has made plans to restore the
site, but, though these hopes have been in the works for years, no
improvements have been made to the buildings, though the iconic arrows
appear to maintained. The windows and doors of the old Valentine Diner,
gift shop, and gas station are boarded up and covered by grafitti.
The State of Arizona, owners of the land, have placed Jersey barriers
around the property, blocking accsss for a variety of reasons. Please use
care when walking along the blockades as trucks pass in front of the
property at a high rate of speed.
Nearby sits the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort on the north side of
From Twin Arrows the oldest alignment of
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
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
The activities of the Native Tribes are
documented in the rock carvings found along the walls of Padre Canyon.
Padre Canyon Bridge, courtesy
The Road Wanderer
Old Winona Trading Post and station
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
visit his brother in the early 1900's.
However, before he reached
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
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
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
in earnest, winding up with a population of just over 100 people. However, the small town's
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 was never incorporated. It gained its greatest notoriety by being
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.
Flagstaff, with its historic downtown, numerous photo
opportunities, and a wealth of side trips worth the taking.
of America, updated April, 2017
City of Dust
Legends' General Store
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