Fading Icons of Arizona’s Route 66

As mentioned in earlier Arizona posts, most of our journey took us along the Mother Road, Route 66. The legendary stretch of blacktop is dotted with a combination of still functioning tourist attractions and long forgotten buildings, all begging to be photographed. So, in my concluding Arizona post, I share with you a sampling of the various pieces of Americana we stumbled upon during our trip.

Sign for the Plainsman Restaurant. A large metal and neon rifle juts up toward the sky. Across the middle of it a faux wood sign reading "The Plainsman" and a framed image of a cowboy is atop it.The Plainsman Coffee Shop and Restaurant, Holbrook. Currently for sale.

Sign for the Pow Wow Trading Post. A massive kachina doll sign made of plastic and metal stands tall against a blue sky.Pow Wow Trading Post, Holbrook. Currently a smoke shop.

A large, low billboard is yellow and features a large black jackrabbit, red letters to the right read "HERE IT IS" and small jackrabbits line the top of the billboard.Jack Rabbit Trading Post, Joseph City. Currently operational.

The iconic “Here It Is” sign at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post is a must stop along Route 66, and was built in 1949. The shop itself also offers a range of fun souvenirs, including turquoise jewelry, and the staff is incredibly nice.

The shell of the Twin Arrows Trading Post and cafe. The exterior is covered in graffiti and all of the windows are broken out. Large bushes have overtaken the ground out front.

The shell of the Twin Arrows Trading Post and cafe. The exterior is covered in graffiti and all of the windows are broken out. Large bushes have overtaken the ground out front.

Interior of the Twin Arrows Trading Post. Wood panel walls, which are covered in graffiti line a long room. Debris scatters a blue carpet. Stains appear here and there on the white ceiling.

Inside the Twin Arrows Trading Post. A black and white photo of a ceiling stripped to its studs. An overturned mattress lays on the floor to the left. Insulation and other debris scatter the floor.

The shell of the Twin Arrows Trading Post and cafe. The exterior is covered in graffiti and all of the windows are broken out. Large bushes have overtaken the ground out front.

Interior of the Twin Arrows Trading Post. A black and white photo. The ceiling is peeling away to reveal bare studs. A stone fireplace has had "WARM" spray painted on the top of it. A mattress lays on the floor among other bits of debris.

Two massive yellow and red arrows appear as if they have been shot from a large bow and have laded in the ground. They have flaking and faded paint, some some graffiti tags.Twin Arrows Trading Post, Twin Arrows. Abandoned.

Twin Arrows is an icon of Route 66, so it was heartbreaking to see it in such a sad state. The business lasted until 1995, and the land is supposedly owned by the nearby Twin Arrows Navajo Casino.

The faded trick for the "Sno Cap Drive In" Delgadillo’s Snow Cap, Seligman. Currently operational.

Delgadillo’s Snow Cap was built in 1953 by Juan Delgadillo of mostly scrap lumber. It’s a combination of true Route 66 history and kitsch, but the staff is incredibly friendly, and the food is good!

Faded neon sign for the "Supai Motel" which is made up of blue square and a faded red curling arrow.Supai Motel, Seligman. Currently operational.

Faded blue neon sign for the Frontier Motel and Restaurant. A mural painted on the side of the building features a chef and the word "Cafe" Frontier Motel and Restaurant, Truxton. Currently for sale.

As of 2011, the Frontier Motel was recently refurbished, according to the book Ghost Town os Route 66, however, today it sits fading away in the Mojave sun with with weeds and bushes growing around it. It currently has “For Sale” and “No Trespassing” signs.

Hackberry General Store, an old staple of Route 66, with old gas pumps and signage scattered around.

An orange and white cat eats from a food bowl atop an old Pepsi cooler. A faded Coca-Cola sign is hung on corrugated metal above. A faded red and white Royal Crown Cola vending machine is on the far left.

A 1930s car that is faded and rusted sits out front of a small building that is covered in a variety of vintage signs.

A shell of a faux western building reading "Music Hall" at the top.

Old Burma Shave signs. Each sign reads part of a sentence. This series reads "Big mistake many make rely on horn instead of brakes"Hackberry General Store, Hackberry. Currently operational.

A blue A-frame building sits with a white roof. A massive green tiki heads sits out front. A colorful sign reads "Antares Point Ranchero Home of Giganticus Headicus"Antares Point Ranchero, Antares. Currently operational.

Sign for the Hill Top Motel which is red and made of metal and neon. A white arrow edged in red reads "Entrance"Hill Top Motel, Kingman. Currently being refurbished.

Located just across the street from the El Trovatore, the Hill Top Motel was built in 1954, and became infamous when Timothy McVeigh stayed there in 1995 prior to his bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It is currently, and thankfully, being refurbished.

The stucco facade of the Oatman Hotel. Cars and donkeys line the streets.

A grey donkey looks into the distance.Oatman Hotel, Oatman. Currently operational.

I really wanted to visit Oatman because I had heard it was a town that was nearly overrun entirely by wild burros. And I love me a burro. So I really pushed for us to go. I’ll start by saying the road to Oatman is perhaps one of the scariest, yet also one of the most beautiful I have ever been on. Old Route 66 twists along the edge of the Black Mountains with some of the turns taken at only ten miles per hour. As for the town, it’s a tourist trap for sure, but just why is it populated with burros? While the town of Oatman was founded around 1906, and was named after a pioneer family attacked by Native Americans (just which tribe is up for debate) in 1851, it wasn’t until 1915 that gold was discovered, starting a small gold rush to the area, complete with the iconic burros accompanying the many miners. When the gold dried up in 1942 the miners released the burros into the hills, and today their decedents roam the town. They walk down the middle of the road without a second thought, and lurk for tourists with food, as several shops sell burro food for visitors.

The Oatman Hotel, which also has an ice cream counter and saloon, has long since been said where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their honeymoon, however it has been outed as a myth.

A white building with blue trim and blue signage. A large sign atop reads "Honolulu Club" in white letters. Other faded signs read "Cold Beer Mixed Drinks"Honolulu Club, Yucca. Abandoned.

A faded grey-blue sign reading "Cafe" in faded white letters.Cafe, Yucca. Abandoned, but has “No Trespassing” signs.

A faded sign with broken neon. On the left, a yellow shield with faded red letters "WB" and a scroll across the front reading "Whiting Bros" along the majority of the sign, in faded letters and broken neon reads "Whiting Bros"

A red sign with flaking paint reads "Motel" in broken neon. Three small arrows point to the right.Whiting Brothers and Motel, Yucca. Buildings bulldozed.

I hope you enjoyed the look into our Arizona road trip! Can’t get enough Route 66? Check out these posts for more Route 66 adventures!

March 2022 Update: This post has been updated to reflect that the Gable-Lombard story is a myth.

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