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Arizona Route 66

Seligman~
Route 66 Town

Arizona Route 66


Seligman, Arizona is a Route 66 town all the way. This delightful town retains all the flavor of the old road. A trip down Route 66 in Seligman is a trip back in time to the days when Route 66 was the Main Street of America. Founded in 1895 after the completion of the "Peavine" Railroad (see Ash Fork) the railroad camp known as Prescott Junction officially became Seligman and was an important railroad stop along the line. Seligman embraced Route 66 wholeheartedly upon its arrival in the late 1920’s. The railroad and tourist traffic from Route 66 became Seligman's main source of economic security. In the late 1970's Seligman was bypassed by the Interstate and the Santa Fe Railroad ceased its operations in the town in 1985. Many old towns with similar histories would have faded away once they were bypassed, but not Seligman.

Copper Cart Neon

Famous Copper Cart Restaurant in Seligman

 

The Copper Cart in Seligman is still open and going strong.

   
As I drove down Route 66, evidence of the glory days of the old road could be seen all along the main street. Motels such as the Aztec across the street from the famous Snow Cap, with its quirky tongue and cheek menu, cafes such as the Copper Cart and 66 Road Kill, and numerous Route 66 gift shops were all survivors of the Mother Road. To me, Seligman seemed to preserve the best of the fun days of Route 66. I had to get out of my car and explore Seligman on foot.
   
Supai Motel

 

Many old survivors of  Route 66 line main street in Seligman.

Road Kill Steak House

 

What's on the menu today?

No moon last night so we have a full menu today. Would you like a cup of coffee to go with your chef's surprise?

There is so much to see in Seligman. I must have looked like a regular tourist as I went up and down the street taking pictures for this web site.
   

Juan Delgadillo and the Famous Snow Cap Drive-In

Famous Delgadillo's Snow Cap Diner In 1953, working on a shoestring budget, Juan Delgadillo built the Snow Cap Drive-In from scrap lumber. Fifty years later his small Route 66 business is known worldwide. Yes it has great food, but perhaps the real reason the Snow Cap has become a Route 66 Icon is Juan himself. He has become the Route 66 Clown and loves to make people laugh. People come here to see Juan Delgadillo and to laugh with him as he amuses the Snow Cap customer with his off-the-wall antics. For Juan the customer is all-important and he promotes Route 66 one person at a time. Life is to be enjoyed and Juan enjoys it to the fullest. Let him pass some of this enjoyment on to you.

 

With a twinkle in his eye, Juan will serve up laughs as well as good old all American food!

The Snow Cap Truck

Juan and Angel Delgadillo
Juan and Angel Delgadillo have been preserving Route 66 in Seligman all their lives
~ whether they knew it or not!

Route 66 Update: On June 2, 2004 Juan Delgadillo passed away. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. His zany antics at the Snow Cap entertained Route 66 travelers from around the world. His legacy will live on at the Snow Cap through Juan's sons John and Robert who continue the tradition of fun that made the Snow Cap and Juan a Route 66 legend.

Angel of Route 66

As I walked up the street I stopped at the Route 66 Gift Shop. I was hoping to find some more refrigerator magnets, post cards and trinkets of the Mother Road for my collection. As I was browsing among the cool memorabilia, a rear door to the shop opened and an older gentleman entered. Though I had never met him before, he looked strangely familiar. We made our introductions and it was then that I realized who he was. Angel Delgadillo! I was in the presence of a Route 66 legend. I mentioned reading his interview in Michael Wallis’s book. Angel then indicated a row of books on the counter, "I think I’m mentioned somewhere in every one of those books," he said smiling. "I must have given over 200 interviews in my day." I flipped open one of the Route 66 books and saw Angel’s picture over the caption, Mayor of Route 66. "Well, that’s what they call me in that book," he laughed. As we talked about Route 66 I could see the genuine love of the old road reflected in his eyes. (The first time I met Angel Delgadillo ~ March 2001)
Angel Delgadillo's Route 66 Gift Shop

 

You haven't been to Seligman if you haven't stopped at the Route 66 Gift Shop and said hi to Angel!

Route 66 Icons - Angel & Vilma Delgadillo

 

Angel and Vilma Delgadillo still greet visitors to their beloved Seligman.

   
When Interstate 40 bypassed the small Route 66 town of Seligman life changed for the Delgadillos forever. Seligman was in danger of becoming just another Route 66 ghost town. Angel Delgadillo, the town's barber, saw his town fading fast. Seligman was becoming a relic of another era and it made Angel angry.
     
How could life on the highway just bypass them like that? The hopes and dreams of hard working Route 66 people not just in Seligman, but all up and down the Mother Road was in jeopardy. Angel had to do something. It never ceases to amaze me how one person can make all the difference in the world. Angel was that one person and he made a big difference.

Mirna, Vilma and Angel Delgadillo
Mirna, Vilma and Angel Delgadillo

       
I don't think even Angel realized the impact he would have on Route 66 when he helped start the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. He brought attention to the plight of Route 66 and was instrumental in starting the Arizona Fun Run. His Route 66 Gift Shop is a Mecca to Route 66 enthusiasts from all over the world today. The spirit of the Mother Road can be found in Angel's eyes as he tells the history of Route 66 to eager travelers. Thanks to the efforts of Angel and others like him the Mother Road will not be forgotten but live again for generations to come. Honored as one of Arizona's CultureKeepers, I think Angel's philosophy of life can be summed up by something he once said:

"Arizona, the state where I was born, has been my home all my life. Seventy-six years. And like any other state in America, it is the land of the free; where opportunities are not limited, where we the people, if we choose, can make the difference."

 

Seligman Pool Hall

This old pool hall is located on the original alignment of Route 66 through Seligman, before it was moved a block north to its present location. Across the street from the railroad tracks and just down the block from the old Seligman Railroad Depot and Harvey House, this was an ideal location for this gaming establishment. Angel Delgadillo's father owned and operated the Seligman Pool Hall during the early years of Route 66. If these walls could talk, what wondrous stories they could tell of those wild old days. Seligman was alive with the hustle and bustle of  travelers from both the Railroad and Route 66.

Seligman Pool Hall

 

March 2001 in Arizona

March weather in Arizona can be quite varied. I had already come through a snow storm to get here, and judging by the sky it looked like there was more bad weather to come. Route 66 left Seligman and ran smack into the middle of some dark purple clouds. I figured I’d better get it over with and hit the road. For a moment I thought of taking the Interstate instead of Route 66. No way! I was determined to experience Route 66 in all her moods. But it was with some trepidation that I climbed back into my car and pulled out on to the old highway and headed into those storm clouds.

Route 66 Motel

Photographs taken March, May 2001 & May 2003


Click on an area or city of Route 66 on the map below to take a cyber tour of that section of the  Mother Road

Travel Cyber Route 66 in Arizona

Go West on Route 66

NAVIGATION NOTE: Buckle up and hold on to your mouse! These pages are arranged like the map above. I have set up this site as if you were traveling from EAST to WEST, much like the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath. You can click on the Route 66 shields to "travel" the Mother Road in either direction though. Clicking West Route 66 or East Route 66 will take you to the next town or area on the map in that direction. Or you can select any shield below to take you to that specific state.

Go East on Route 66

To Peach Springs

To Ash Fork

 

Select the Route 66 State to Visit

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