Standin' on the Corner Park
|Standin' on the Corner Park|
|Operated by||Standin' on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona Park Committee|
|Status||Open all year|
Standin' on the Corner Park (opened 1999 in Winslow, Arizona) is a publicly operated park, commemorating the Eagles-Jackson Browne song "Take It Easy". The park contains a two-story trompe-l'œil mural by John Pugh, and a life-size bronze statue of a man standing on a corner, with a guitar. The park is surrounded by a wall of bricks, each with a donor's name on it, and a story by each of the donors describing their fondness for Winslow.
Up until the 1960s, Winslow was a thriving town in northern Arizona just off Route 66. Construction of the $7.7 million bypass around Winslow began soon after 1977. When I-40 bypassed the community many local businesses disappeared, tourism being among the hardest hit. While some local jobs remained (as Winslow is the base of operation for a thousand railroad workers), the local downtown was badly hurt by the influx of national chains (such as Walmart and McDonalds) along the new Interstate highway to the north of the town. Twenty years passed and Winslow was stuck in a commercial rut.
""Winslow was the next to last town to be bypassed... We would watch hundreds of trucks roll by day and night. Then one morning, they opened (I-40) and everything stopped. For about 20 years, nobody knew what to do."—Diane Patterson, Winslow-born owner of Roadworks Gifts and Souvenirs
In 1997, the La Posada Hotel (a former Harvey House on the Santa Fe Railroad, long at risk for demolition) was restored and reopened. Listing of La Posada Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places would serve as a first step toward re-awakening the town.
The Standin' on the Corner Foundation was formed to create a renaissance of Winslow. Determined to build on tourism, the Foundation took advantage of the town being mentioned in the song "Take It Easy" by the Eagles. From 1997–1999, the Foundation was busy finding donors and planning design concepts. On September 10 and 11, 1999 the park was opened to the public.
The 2006 release of animated film Cars brought renewed attention to the efforts to save local U.S. Route 66 main street businesses in towns long bypassed. While Winslow itself is not depicted on-screen, the movie's credits list both La Posada Hotel and Diane Patterson's souvenir shop at Standin' on the Corner Park among the many Mother Road locations at which Pixar studio personnel conducted exhaustive interviews as part of extensive research for the film.
In 2007 there was a fire at the Standin' On The Corner Park. While the face of the building and the actual corner survived, the rest of the building was burned down. As of 2011, an attempt to restore downtown Winslow tourism is booming.