U.S. Route 66 in Arizona

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This article is about the section of U.S. Route 66 in Arizona. For the entire length of the highway, see U.S. Route 66.

US 66 (historic).svg

U.S. Route 66
Will Rogers Highway
Route information
Maintained by AZDOT (I-40 Bus, SH-66); county and local gov'ts
Length: 401 mi (645 km)
Existed: November 11, 1926 – June 27, 1985
Major junctions
West end: US 66 at California state line
 
East end: US 66 at New Mexico state line
Highway system
  • State Routes in Arizona
SR 65 SR 66

U.S. Route 66 (US 66, Route 66) covered 401 miles (645 km) as part of a former United States Numbered Highway in the state of Arizona. The highway ran from west to east, starting in Needles, California, through Kingman and Seligman to the New Mexico state line as part of the historic US 66 from Santa Monica, California, to Chicago, Illinois. The highway was decommissioned in 1985, although portions remain as State Route 66 (SR 66).

History[edit]

In 1914 the road was designated "National Old Trails Highway"; in 1926 it was re-designated as US 66.[1] One section just outside Oatman, Arizona, through the Black Mountains, was fraught with hairpin turns and was the steepest along the entire route, so much so that some early travellers, too frightened at the prospect of driving such a potentially dangerous road, hired locals to navigate the winding grade. The section remained as Route 66 until 1953, and is still open to traffic today as the Oatman Highway.

On October 13, 1984, Williams, Arizona, was the last point on US 66 to be bypassed by an Interstate highway. US 66 was dropped from the US Highway system in 1985; parts of the highway were either absorbed into Interstate 40 (I-40), turned over to the state (SR 66), or turned over to Yavapai County.

Route description[edit]

California border to Kingman[edit]

Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman

Route 66 entered Arizona from Needles, California across the Topock Gorge, within the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge,

Between the California state line and Kingman, the original alignment is now known as Oatman Road and passed through the old mining town of Oatman, now a ghost town due to mine closures. A later alignment (via Yucca) is now I-40. The older alignment passes through the Black Mountains complete with numerous hairpin turns. This area is desert.

Kingman to Seligman[edit]

Burros roam downtown Oatman.

SR 66 is the only part of old US 66 in Arizona to have state route markers. It still serves communities that the freeway avoids, including Valentine, Hackberry and Peach Springs; it enters the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Its western terminus is near Kingman at exit 52 on I-40 and its eastern terminus was originally near Seligman at exit 123 on I-40. The state highway designation currently covers just 66 miles (106 km) of a section east of Kingman. The road continues east into Yavapai County as a county-maintained road as the state turned over the easternmost 16.8 miles (27.0 km) of SR 66 (known as Crookston Rd) to Yavapai County in 1990 for maintenance.[2]

Between Kingman and Seligman, I-40's more southerly and more direct path diverges from US 66 by approximately 16 miles (26 km), cutting off businesses on this section from highway traffic on the freeway's completion. Hackberry became a ghost town; at one point artist Bob Waldmire (owner of the Hackberry General Store from 1992-1998) was its only resident.

The Grand Canyon Caverns, just east of Peach Springs, are among the largest of dry caverns in the United States.

Seligman is the birthplace of the first route 66 association, established by local barber Angel Delgadillo in 1987. This group obtained the first "Historic Route 66" designation, which the state initially placed on the segment of US 66 between Kingman and Seligman.

Seligman to New Mexico border[edit]

From Seligman to east of Flagstaff, the area is mountainous (not desert) and covered with pine forests. The old section through Flagstaff itself is officially named "Route 66". Shortly before joining I-40 east of Flagstaff, US 66 passes through Winona, a small unincorporated community made famous in the song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66".

Several abandoned portions of the former US 66 highway are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include Abandoned Route 66, Ash Fork Hill, Abandoned Route 66, Parks (1921) east of Parks, Arizona and Abandoned Route 66, Parks (1921) west of Parks, Arizona. Two Guns, Arizona is part of the railroad ghost town of Canyon Diablo.

The Meteor Crater is south of old US 66 near Winslow. The Homolovi State Park near Winslow preserves over 300 Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites. At Joseph City is the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, which once posted signs up and down the highway for hundreds of miles, and at Holbrook is the Wigwam Village Motel, a motor court built to resemble a group of teepees. The Petrified Forest National Park is located east of Holbrook. About sixty miles before reaching New Mexico, the highway originally passed through the Painted Desert, though this section is now cut off.

Portions of US 66 were paved over by I-40 construction or converted to frontage roads.

Major intersections[edit]

US 66 shield from 1926

The original 378 miles (608 km) route (as listed) goes through Oatman, Arizona and was in use before 1953. A later route through Yucca, Arizona (now part of I-40) is longer at 401 miles (645 km) but avoids mountains and hairpin turns east of Mohave Valley, bypassing Oatman.

County Location Mile km Destinations Notes
Mohave Mohave Valley 0 0 I‑40 – Needles, California
0–
8.5
0–
13.7
SR 95 north (Mohave Valley Hwy)
Oatman 23 37
Kingman 45.5 73.2 I‑40 – Kingman
54.3 87.4 I‑40 / SR 66 – Kingman
SR 66 designation originally continued to I-40 in Seligman
Mohave Hackberry 78 126
Valentine 83 134
Peach Springs 101 163
Yavapai Seligman 140 225 I‑40 / SR 66 – Seligman
Coconino Williams 184 296 SR 64 north – Grand Canyon National Park
Flagstaff 214 344 US 180 north
Winona 229 369
Navajo Winslow 272–
275
438–
443
SR 87 – Winslow
Holbrook 304–
311
489–
501
SR 77 – Holbrook
Apache Chambers 351 565 US 191 north
Sanders 357 575 US 191 south
Lupton 378 608 I‑40 – Gallup, New Mexico
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Structures[edit]

A Desert Power & Water Co., Electric Power Plant built in 1908 closed in 1938, soon after the Hoover Dam was completed; it now houses a visitor information office and Kingman, Arizona's chamber of commerce.

The Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon Training School in Valentine operated from 1903-1937 as a mandatory boarding school in which Hualapai were separated from their families and put to work learning various trades.[3] Long a symbol of forced assimilation, the historic building is now the property of the Hualapai Nation.

The Peach Springs Trading Post, constructed in 1928 using local stone and logs, replaced an earlier 1917 trading post at Peach Springs. Its original role was to trade native crafts for foodstuffs, medicine and household goods.[4] The building now houses Hualapai conservation offices.

Lowell Observatory, an astronomical observatory established in Flagstaff in 1894, is one of the oldest observatories in the United States and a designated National Historic Landmark. Flagstaff's Santa Fe Railroad Depot, built in 1926, is the busiest of the eight Arizona Amtrak stations and includes a visitor information office. Flagstaff's 43-room Hotel Monte Vista was established in 1927.

Historic districts[edit]

Restaurants[edit]

Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, built in 1953 with scrap railway lumber by Juan Delgadillo (May 17, 1916 - June 2, 2004), continues to offer choices such as a "cheeseburger with cheese" and "dead chicken."

Camps, motor courts, and motels[edit]

Trails Arch Bridge in Topock

The Oatman Hotel, a historic two-story adobe building which opened in 1902 as the Durlin Hotel and was rebuilt in 1924 during a local gold rush, now houses a bar, restaurant and museum.[9]

The Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook is distinctive for patented novelty architecture in which every room of the motel is a free-standing concrete wigwam.[10] In Pixar's 2006 animated film Cars, these are depicted as the traffic cones of the Cozy Cone Motel.

The Pueblo Revival style Painted Desert Inn in Navajo, constructed circa-1920 of wood and native stone and purchased by the US National Park Service in 1935, is situated on a mesa overlooking the vast Painted Desert.[11]

Bridges[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Old Trails Highway- Retrieved 2012-02-11
  2. ^ Arizona Department of Transportation. "ADOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1990-07-A-053". Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon Training School". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  4. ^ "Peach Springs Trading Post". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  5. ^ "Kingman Commercial Historic District". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  6. ^ "Seligman Historic District". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Railroad Addition Historic District and Boundary Increase". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  8. ^ "La Posada Historic District". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  9. ^ "Durlin Hotel". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  10. ^ "Wigwam Village Motel 6". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  11. ^ "Painted Desert Inn". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  12. ^ "Old Trails Bridge". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  13. ^ "Walnut Canyon Bridge". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  14. ^ "Querino Canyon Bridge". US National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  15. ^ "Arizona Road Segments". US National Park Service. 1984-10-13. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 

External links[edit]

U.S. Route 66
Previous state:
California
Arizona Next state:
New Mexico