It can be argued that Winslow, Ariz., was saved by a song and a boarded-up hotel slated for demolition.
For years, Winslow was the celebrated heart of northern Arizona. Beginning in 1917, it was home to a Hubble Trading Post warehouse, part of a vast trading empire of Native American wares. It served as headquarters for the Santa Fe Railway. It was home to the finest Harvey Hotel in the Southwest, La Posada, which opened in 1929 to the tune of $40 million in today’s dollars. And Route 66 ran right through downtown.
But people stopped traveling by train, La Posada shut its doors in 1957 and Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985 and replaced by I-40 that bypassed Winslow. And contrary to the 1972 Eagles hit song Take It Easy that put Winslow on the pop culture map, there was nothing easy about these changes.
Today, Winslow is undergoing a renaissance, having revived some of its most iconic attractions. Pull over to visit Standin’ on the Corner Park featuring a bronze sculpture of a man standing on a corner and a vibrant trompe l’oeill-style mural of a girl in a flatbed Ford. You also can dine or sleep in the stunning 54-room La Posada Hotel restored by Allan Affeldt, his wife, artist Tina Mion, and hotel general manager, Daniel Lutzick.
It was Affeldt who read about La Posada 23 years ago when it appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s endangered list. He traveled from Laguna Beach, Calif., to see the hotel designed by visionary architect Mary Jane Colter and instantly fell in love. Slated for demolition, Affeldt convinced the railway to sell it to him. In the hotel, you’ll find the award-winning Turquoise Room restaurant run by James Beard-nominated chef John Sharpe.
But don’t miss Winslow's stretch of Route 66, which still has the original concrete roadway on 2nd and 3rd Streets. Rather than pave over it, Winslow residents decided to grind up the old pavement and reuse it.
“It really means something for people to stand on the original Route 66 roadway,” says Bob Hall, CEO of Winslow Chamber of Commerce.
There are also 12 art galleries and a 9/11 Remembrance Garden where beams from 9/11 wreckage stand. Three miles away is Homolovi State Park where you can tour ancient ruins and do evening stargazing.
Visit Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a national park featuring petrified wood, the Painted Desert, Puerco Pueblo, a a hundred room pueblo, and more. While you can drive through it, the best way to experience it is on foot.
The park stretches north and south between Interstate 40 and Highway 180. There are two entrances into the park.
If you are heading west, travelers driving on I-40 should take exit 311. From the exit, drive 28 miles through the park and connect with hwy. 180 at the south end. You can travel 19 miles on Hwy. 180 north to get back to I-40 via Holbrook, Ariz.
If you are traveling east on I-40, take exit 285 at Holbrook, Ariz., and then drive 9 miles on Hwy. 180 south to the park's South Entrance. Drive the 28 miles north through the park to get back on to I-40.
For more information:
Winslow Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
1917 Hubbell Trading Post Warehouse
523 W. 2nd Street, Winslow, AZ 86047