Flagstaff, Arizona - Route 66 Landmarks and Spirit Endure
Not only do the Flagstaff Arizona Route 66 landmarks and spirit endure, but the portion of the city bordering “The Mother Road” has captured the imaginations of people the world over, and an economic resurgence has begun there.
The road through Flagstaff Arizona that would become Route 66 started as an initiative by a group of bicyclists in the 1800’s. Wanting better roads to ride on, their efforts begat The National Old Trails Highway. The Good Roads Movement followed in the late 1800’s, which soon prompted a Federal Act that became the start of today’s U.S. highways.
In its heyday, Route 66 ran from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. But the same U.S. Highways system that helped create it would eventually render it obsolete on September 22, 1978. According to Angel Delgadillo, whose family has had a business along Route 66 for 90 years, at about 2:30 p.m. on that day the town died, suddenly deprived of the Route 66 traffic flow.
Bordering Northern Arizona University, the highway served as the main route for students and faculty going to and from the campus. In recent years, the Department of Transportation, spurred on by local organizations like the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, have initiated or completed projects to rebuild or maintain parts of The Old Road going through Flagstaff.
The famous highway is now a nostalgic reminder of a simpler time, but one that people from all over come to experience. The stretch of Route 66 left behind by the busy pace of modern life is getting new life from people wanting to get away from the homogenization of modern society and drink in the character of the town here.
If you want to experience Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona, be sure to stop at the Flagstaff Visitor’s Center (1 East Route 66, at the beginning of the old road) first and pick up a walking map of the most popular Route 66 landmarks in Flagstaff. Here are the sites you don’t want to miss.
Built by A.E. DuBeau in 1929, the DeBeau Motel was the first of its kind on Route 66. Originally it was intended to be a classy motel inn, having uncommon luxuries such as bathrooms ensuite, double beds, carpeted floors and heated garages. Today the motel lives on as a well-reviewed international youth hostel.
DeBeau International Youth Hostel
19 West Phoenix Street, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
An iconic landmark just off of Route 66 proper, the Downtowner Motel has sat in its location at the corner of Phoenix Ave. and San Francisco St. since 1919. This motel was built by K.J. Nackard, who was responsible for several other improvements to the area.
His Route 66 buildings, the Ramey (once the Nackard Hotel,) and the Dutch Annie, started off as a brothel and the property of a murdered woman named Annie Marie Sutter, respectively. After improvements, they catered to the once flourishing Route 66 traffic. As with the DeBeau Motel, the Downtowner continues to provide lodging as the Grand Canyon International Youth Hostel.
Downtowner/Grand Canyon International Youth Hostel
19 S San Francisco St
Flagstaff, AZ United States
Santa Fe Plaza
Also known as the 1897 Depot, Santa Fe Plaza is marked by a steam engine representing its origins as a stop on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway. Although never a bustling center of profit, the arrival of the railway here was significant to the growth of the Flagstaff economy at that time.
To get to the Santa Fe Plaza, walk 1 block to the East from the Flagstaff Visitor's Center on Route 66 until you reach the steam engine parked there.
Route 66 is full of history and Americana, but new businesses embodying this same spirit have become top attractions in Flagstaff as well. The Mother Road brewery, located in the Southside neighborhood on Mike's Pike St. where Route 66 originally aligned and ran into Flagstaff, is just such a place.
The brewery sits in the Millum Building along with two other new businesses, Pizzicletta and The Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution. Until the 1990's, the building served as a commercial laundry operation. The tap room features indoor and outdoor seating, and well-behaved dogs are invited to join their owners. Although pretzels and munchies are available, there is no restaurant, so bring your own food if you need a full meal.
7 Mikes Pike
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
11am-9pm Saturday (1/2 Price Growlers from 11-3!)
Once known as the Paul Bunyan Cafe, then the Lumberjack Cafe, Granny's Closet is a Route 66 restaurant favorite serving fresh American dishes. Situated in a building built in the 1960's, Granny's Closet is easily found by the giant Lumberjack in front. Come for the nostalgic interior and the photo opps' outside.
218 South Milton Road Flagstaff, AZ 86001
The Furniture Barn
Now painted with a giant cow on the building's face, The Furniture Barn was once the National Guard Armory, and has been in existence since the 1950's. Along with the Highland Country Inn and the L Motel, the building housing discount designer furnishings still stands as a testament to the history and enduring love people have for Route 66.
The Furniture Barn
2550 E. 7th Avenue
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004
Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In
Just outside of Flagstaff in Seligman, Arizona are some sites worthy of Route 66 fame. Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-in is one of them. Ask anyone who has been there and they will tell you that between the décor and the staff, the Snow Cap has quirky atmosphere to spare. If you go, have your camera ready and expect to wait if there are tour buses parked nearby.
Built in 1953, the place is covered in nostalgia, including vintage cars, oddball signs and more. All reviews point to the must have soft serve ice cream.
Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-in
301 W Chino Ave
Seligman, AZ 86337
Route 66 Days-Celebrating Across America
Nowhere does the Route 66 spirit give life to enduring Flagstaff landmarks like it does during Route 66 Days in Flagstaff. Held by the Route 66 Car Club of Flagstaff every September, this charity event features classic cars in abundance. The festival is filled with food vendors, live entertainment and special events.
Members meet every Friday night at the neon lit Galaxy diner, so if you are in the area and have missed the festivities, stop by and check out some of the show's car highlights.
Route 66 Days
Historic Downtown Flagstaff
A map overview of Flagstaff's Route 66 historic landmarks.
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