Bobby Troup and Nat King Cole helped bring fame to numerous towns along the Mother Road (don’t forget Winona, for one). But, the city of Winslow owes its Route 66 fame to the Eagles. Winslow has capitalized on its “Standin’ on the Corner” fame, from the song, “Take it easy”, and now the officially-designated corner in downtown is a mandatory stop for road-trippers.
Winslow, Arizona has done a great job capitalizing on its Route 66 and Eagles fame — and it’s done a good job recovering from a near-tragedy.
A beautiful mural at the ‘Standin’ On The Corner’ corner depicts the scene from the song. But, that mural was nearly lost, a decade before my 2014 visit.
My first stop in Winslow was in 2005, just after a fire gutted the building. Notice, in this picture, the wall is starting to crumble, and the entire corner is behind a fence. At the time, it was unclear what would happen to the mural. Fast-forward nearly a decade…
… and you can see what’s been done. While the rest of the building was demolished, the wall with the mural was preserved. They even added a flatbed Ford, just as the song mentions, which is mirrored in the window of the mural.
“Well I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl my Lord in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.”
Best of all, the city has added a huge Arizona US 66 shield in the middle of the road, perfectly aligned with the ‘corner’ for photographs. Well done, Winslow.
The corner will demand most of your attention, but it’s worth some time to walk around town, and stop at a few more places as you’re driving out.
The historic Winslow Theater appears to still be showing films. It dates back to 1927, when it opened as the Rialto Theater.
I thought it was interesting that a downtown Winslow building has a mural that depicts the downtown Winslow buildings. According to the mural, these buildings used to be, from left to right, Central Drug, the Palace Hotel, the post office, Chief Theater, and Palace of Sweets. Cinematreasures.org reports the Chief Theater was open from 1939 to 1952, and was unusual, because it had a newsstand and candy store in the front, which you had to walk through to access the theater.
Check out the exterior walls of Winslow’s buildings for some great old ghost signs, like this one for “Snowdrift Perfect Shortening”.
There are also some newer murals that help spruce up the town.
And, a couple of big painted murals help welcome you to the downtown business district.
This sculpture, “Falling Meteor No. 2”, seems somewhat out of place, surrounded by less modern buildings.
I hopped back in my car, but was soon out again, taking more pictures, just a few blocks from the center of town.
The Brown Mug Cafe has an impressive old neon sign on one side…
… but a roofing project on the other side was poorly planned, and caused some of the neon to be removed.
The “LZ” Budget Motel was the next place to catch my eye. I stopped to take a few pictures of that funky, rusty motel sign…
… and I soon discovered that the sign itself is a motel for birds, both inside…
… and on top.
If anyone was watching, I probably looked somewhat crazy, as I stood below this sign. I had to wait a few minutes before the birds peeked out at me.
A bit further down Route 66 in Winslow, an old Laundromat has a beautifully-weathered wall…
… and an unusual boarded-up window on the front, which proclaims “CENT”, with no further explanation.
The Bottom Line
Anyone who’s exploring Route 66 should detour off the interstate and, at the very least, stop at the “Standin’ on the Corner” corner in downtown Winslow. I’d suggest allowing some extra time for shopping at gift shops, walking the streets, and admiring some of the city’s aging roadside treasures.
You’ll find the ‘Standin’ On The Corner’ Corner along Business 40 (old Route 66) at Kinsley Avenue and 2nd Street. The aerial view from Google Maps makes it very obvious where to go — yes, that is a very large 66 shield, painted on the pavement in the middle of the intersection.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Flagstaff to Winslow…
… and from Winslow to Holbrook: