Route 66 Side Trip
Haunted Museum Club
|Haunted? Did I say haunted? I guess there's more than one way to be haunted. You can be haunted by memories and you can be haunted in the more traditional way - by ghosts. For me the Museum Club has both! Perhaps one of the most famous Route 66 Landmarks in Flagstaff is the Museum Club. It got its start as a very odd tourist attraction. Built in 1931 by Dean Eldredge as a museum to house his extensive taxidermied animals and curiosities, it has become a Route 66 landmark. Early Route 66 tourists would stop at his museum and for a mere 25 cents would be shown some of the strangest oddities of nature. In 1936 after Dean passed away his museum was turned into a night club ~ that's polite for "roadhouse" I think Route 66 Roadhouse sounds better anyway ~ J|
|The fact that the Museum Club had been around for awhile was brought home by dad back in the mid 1980's. I was living in Page, Arizona and was stationed at the Navajo Army Depot in Bellemont. I would spend the night in Flagstaff on my drill weekends. The Museum Club was always a nice watering hole after work. I used to stay at the Crown Motel (now the Howard Johnsons). My dad had been visiting us up in Page when one of my duty weekends rolled around and he came down to Flagstaff with me. We went to get a room at the Crown Motel and he glanced over at the Museum Club and was quite surprised to see it still going strong.|
|"That old place still there?"
he said. "I went there years ago, you must have been maybe two, three years old then
Guy. Do they still have that tree and all those stuffed animals in there?"
Well I tell you what, that surprised me to no end. Imagine that, I was going to a roadhouse my dad once went to thirty years earlier! I wish now that I had drilled my dad a little more about the Museum Club in the 1950's, because he passed on a year later. I bet there was a good Route 66 story there, but at the time the lure of the Mother Road had not matured in me yet; the seeds were planted but needed more nurturing. It wasn't too long after that the Coast Guard transferred my group to Lake Havasu City and I left Flagstaff behind.
|But I do remember my last time in the Museum Club. It was another drill weekend and my wife came down from Page on Saturday night for a little getaway. After dinner at the Crown Cafe we went to the club for a nightcap and to do some dancing. It was a pleasant evening. Funny thing though, about 9 months later my youngest son was born. I still can't figure that one out. Perhaps the magic of Route 66? Could it be that my son is a third generation Route 66er? I must ponder this one. Memories abound for me when it comes to the Museum Club, haunted (in a good way) by the past, it has become a special place for me.|
The Ghosts of the Museum Club
The Museum Club has been around for a long, long time and has seen a lot of the history of the Mother Road played out before it. In all that time, with all that drama, could it be safe to assume that the Museum Club might have a few ghosts itself wandering around its dark interior? According to some of the staff that work there that's just what's going on here.
|Now here's the story. Back in the 1960s and 1970s Lorna and "Pappy" Scott owned the Museum Club. The Museum Club has always been a popular place, and it was no different in those days. Unfortunately both Lorna and "Pappy" met tragic deaths in the club. The Scotts lived upstairs above the bar and dance floor. One day Mrs. Scott fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Shortly after the accident, in deep depression, Mr. Scott took his own life in front of the fireplace. Apparently the Scotts have never left the Museum Club. Both guests and staff have reported some mighty strange happenings over the years. While at the Museum Club this past May 2003 I had a very interesting conversation with the dayshift manager. She had some stories to tell me about Lorna. One day she was sitting at the bar going over some paperwork when she looked up to see a lady glide across the dance floor and disappear into the store room. This is all fine and good except that the Museum Club was closed and our young manager was supposed to be all alone in the place. Further investigation showed that the store room was empty and our manager was still all alone - at least with the living.|
|The Scotts aren't scary ghosts by any means. And Mrs. Scott doesn't seem to mind who sees her. Lorna has made her appearance at all hours of the day, often seen on the back stairway during the day. She makes regular appearances at the back bar too where confused patrons sometimes mistake her for a bartender. Of course the back bar is closed and there is no bartender on duty so it's pretty hard to get a drink there. She'll be seen in dark corner booths too. Occasionally customers will buy her a drink only to find she has vanished when they return.|
|"Pappy" Scott makes his presence known in other ways. He likes to play with the bottles behind the bar.According to staff, it's not unusual for the bottles to clink together as if someone is running their hand over the bottle tops as they walk by. On numerous occasions this phenomenon has been witnessed by more than one person yet there's no one near the bottles. Sometimes the morning shift will find the bottles rearranged or in a state of disarray even though they were organized the night before. Little mysteries that make working and playing at the Museum Club interesting indeed. The staff doesn't mind though, in fact they are rather proud of their "guardian ghosts." As the dayshift manager told me, "I know everything is all right when they are around."|
Museum Club staff May 2003. From left to right: JoAnna Blankenship, Jane Bliss, John W., Kayla Nelson, and Jennifer Puma.
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