Winslow, Arizona – Route 66

Tourists pose for a photo next a statue of Jackson Browne.
The Route 66 town of Winslow fully embraces the Rock lore and legend created by The Eagles in their song Take It Easy.

Jackson Browne, right. Glenn Frey, left.

Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me…

The 1904 Navajo County Bank Building

The 1914 Thomas Dye Building East with its Winslow House ghost sign. This building was originally a mercantile company. On May 26, 1939, this building became the first Spanish-speaking movie theater, the Chief Theater, in Northern Arizona.  The projection room is still intact in the upper level.

Thomas Dye Building West

The 1912 Elks Building. It stands across the street from the Standing On The Corner exhibit and park, and the statues of Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. It’s on the National Register of Historic Sites.

66 Motor Palace – a former pool hall, motorcycle shop, and notorious “after hours club,” Today the Motor Palace is a personal residence and preservation project.

Park Place Art Gallery. The building could use some window restoration…

Heading out of town at dusk.

For next time. I missed it this time – once the sun went down I headed out of town. Definitely should have spent the night – at La Posada!

International Mid Century Modern Meets Ancient

UNAM Central Library – the 1956 National Autonomous University of Mexico. A mosaic and architectural masterpiece that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Juan O’Gorman’s murals cover the entire surface of all four sides as a a quartet of historical epochs from pre Hispanic to Modern Day.

The color pallet of the reds, greens, blues, yellows, and other colors are created with naturally colored stones from all across Mexico.

The Road to Flagstaff and Route 66

From San Diego to El Centro to Gila Bend to I 17 up to Flagstaff

The depot at Flagstaff has been an integral part of the city since 1926, the year it was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
This Tudor Revival brick building with its cross-gabled roof was designed by one of the railroad’s engineering staff. It stands at what has historically been one of the busiest railroad corridors for both freight and passenger rail in the United States. The station also serves as the city’s Visitors Center – Great American Train Stations
The View From Flagstaff – The snow topped Humphrey’s Peak of the trio called San Francisco Peaks
Logging Wheel. Once an integral part of the logging industry in this area. From 1870 they were used to help clear timber from land for farming. Cut trees and logs were chained up underneath and rolled away to clear the land. But in the 1880’s they were commonly used in the logging industry. Wheeling cut trees away to railroad flat cars.
Humphreys Peak
Flagstaff AZ Walkabout. Ghost Sign for Mission Ice Cream and frozen bars is on the corner of Aspen Avenue and San Francisco Street on the side of what is now the Mountain Sports store.
Mountain Sports Store/Flagstaff Elks Building, 24 N. San Francisco Street 
The A•B•C ghost sign at 16 Route 66, Flagstaff Brewing Company
Many of Flagstaff’s buildings are made of stone.
11 South Beaver Street
Burly Fish Tattoo and Piercing 11 Beaver Street
The Hopi Building is a retail-owned property of the Hopi tribe located in Heritage Square in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was formerly known as the “Heritage Square” building, but it was christened the “Hopi Building” on 5 October 2010.
The Babbitt Brothers Building, San Francisco Street at Aspen Avenue. The story of the Babbitt Brothers requires a deep dive beyond the space provided here. But it’s a rich story. https://enjoyflagstaff.com/babbitt-brothers-flagstaff/
The National Register Bank Hotel Building. Dating back to 1888 as a bank and hotel, then later it became the McMillan Opera House. In 1892 it was also a stop for the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Stagecoach.
Hotel Monte Vista, located at 100 North San Francisco Street, was built in 1927 and is a centerpiece of the historic downtown district. It contains 73 rooms and suites on three floors. Many famous people have spent the night at the Hotel Monte Vista, including Hollywood icons John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Anthony Hopkins, Esther Williams, and Barbara Stanwyck. It’s a favorite of ghost hunters – there have been many alleged ghost sightings at the Hotel Monte Vista. One of the sightings involves a “Phantom Bell Boy” that knocks on guests’ doors in the middle of the night and will talk to the guest.
The 1929 Motor Tourist Hotel – Motel Du Beau. The iconic 80 neon tower came in the early 1030’s
The Downtowner was built in 1919. K. J. Nackard made it into an “auto inn” during the 1930’s. Today it’s the Grand Canyon International Hostel.
Altitudes Bar and Grill, 2 South Beaver Street
Leaving Flagstaff, an abandoned Route 66 truss bridge. The San Francisco Peaks in the background.

Route 66 Road Trip…to be continued.

Summit Inn

Only a puddle remains where the historic Summit Inn diner once stood. One of the most recognized roadside landmarks in all of Southern California, this beloved diner burnt to the ground during the Blue Cut Wildfires on August 16, 2016.

Image Source User:Freeman8739

The history of Summit Inn dates back to 1928. It was replaced by the Summit Inn people remember today in 1952. A time when Route 66 flourished. Patron over the years include Elvis, Danny Thomas, Clint Eastwood, Pierce Brosmon, and Pearl Bailey, to mention a few.

Image Source JoulesVintage

Nearly four years after it was destroyed it appears hope has faded for rebuilding. Early-on the owners vowed to rebuild. But conceivably the cost of clearing the site and removing contaminated toxic ground soil became cost prohibitive for rebuilding the Summit Inn.

Image Source James Ricci

Mojave Cross

One will encounter a number of sites and markers on the trek through the Mojave National Preserve.

One is the Mojave Cross. It is officially known as the White Cross World War I Memorial.

The cross stands on Sunrise Rock, a granite outcropping adjacent to Cima Road about 12 miles south of Interstate 15.

In a story that parallels the Mount Soledad Cross story in La Jolla, there was a decades long battle over the Mojave Cross.

In April 2012, a settlement was reached to allow the cross to remain at the Mojave Land Preserve via a land swap. Five acres of private land given to the federal government in exchange for the one acre of land surrounding Sunset Rock. Ownership of that site was transferred to the local Veterans of Foreign War post.

The site is fenced, with entrances for visitors. There are benches and picnic tables. And ample signage explaining that the cross is on private land and noting it is a memorial for war veterans

Kelso, Luck Of The Draw

Seemingly out in the middle of “nowhere” along Cima Road in the Mojave Desert, this jewel of a train station suddenly appears as a desert oasis. It’s the 1923 Kelso Train Station. Unlike the ghost town relics surrounding it, this beautiful building is in nearly pristine condition.

While the station is from 1923 the importance of the site as a railroad rest stop goes back to at least 1905 when Kelso was founded. The name was chosen purely by chance. Name rights were submitted on pieces of paper and placed into a hat. Upon draw, all at once John H. Kelso had a town named after him.

This Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival design comes from the drawing boards of John and Donald Parkinson. If you don’t know their names, you certainly know their portfolio. They designed the USC Master Plan, LA Coliseum, LA City Hall, Bullocks Wilshire, Union Station, and Grand Central Market – to name a few.

The train station survives today by the sheer will of concerned citizens who stepped up to save the building from demolition when it closed as a train station in 1985. Key to this preservation effort was The National Park Service gaining control of the site in 1994 .

The building reopened to the public in 2005 as the visitor center for the Mojave National Preserve. There are interpretive displays, both inside and out, providing a valuable understanding to the historical significance of the station’s location.

 It is explained why a fancy train station is in the middle of “nowhere.” One reason is an abundant supply of ground water for steam engines.

It was a “helper” station. Because of the severity of the long steep Cima Grade, helper engines were needed to assist trains on that grade. Kelso was home of those helper engines, and there was a big roundhouse there to direct, turn around, and utilize them. Kelso was the helper station in regards to fuel and water as well.

A beautifully designed building that was well used and well loved for a long time. It became affectionately known as the Kelso Club House. More than a train and ticket station it was telegraph office, restaurant, reading room, and dormitory rooms for railroad employees.

The interior has been restored and preserved as well, including the lunch room. Nice they didn’t forget to save the neon sign. However it appears it has suffered some wind damage, as the power cable was pulled out of the wall.

The focus of my photo essay is the exterior. Visitors wanting to see the Kelso Train Station inside and out – be advised they are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In addition to the historic translation, visitors may also view the Kelso Jail. These human cages were utilized from the mid 1940’s all the way to 1985. To lock up, for a night or two, the town drunks who became unruly. Neither the heat or the cold of the Mojave made these cages very comfortable.

But by all accounts, this sort of imprisonment hasn’t gone away. Only from here.

You know you’re in downtown Kelso when…you see the Post Office. Open from 1905, through Kelso’s boom years during WW2, and finally closing in 1962.

Ghost Town…ghost sign.

Kelso 90920

Foundation and Fireplace, Kelso Ghost Town

The warmth and comfort once provided, now a ghost town ruin.

The Eggmen

John Lennon’s famous quote “Before Elvis there was nothing” could especially be said about Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337). When the glory that was Rome faded into the Middle Ages, art became highly stylized and flat dimensionally. Naturalistic perspective and depiction vanished. At the precipice of The Renaissance Giotto nearly stands alone in his discarding the centuries old framework of painting and art. Not since Roman times was the human form naturally depicted. He reinvented soft rounded deep modeling effects using light and dark values. Giotto marks the turning point toward The Renaissance. The above Madonna and Child is in Firenze’s Uffizi Gallery.

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Giotto was also an accomplished architect. The Bell Tower at Santa Maria del Fiore, Firenze, is his. He never saw the completed work. He died three years after construction began. It took more than fifty years to build.

Giotto’s bell tower is sublime. But the grandiose architectural element of Santa Maria del Fiore is the celebrated dome by Filippo Brunelleschi. The achievement can not be over stated. Architectural dome engineering and construction know-how died with the Romans. It wasn’t until Brunelleschi closely studied the Roman artifacts first hand (especially the well preserved Pantheon in Rome) that architecture was reinvented. Being this was unexplored design in its day, Brunelleschi faced a counter current of resistance and opposition. The Guild of Wool Merchants who sponsored and over saw the project wanted to know just how in the world such a large dome could be accomplished. Brunelleschi asked the members of the committee to demonstrate to him how they would stand an egg on the table. No one could. “Impossible,” they said. With that, Brunelleschi cracked the end off the egg and proceeded to stand the shell on the table. When the members of the committee protested that any one of them could have done that, Brunelleschi explained that was exactly his point. If he told the committee how he planned to execute his concept, all would claim that they could have done it. After several months of arguing, the committee allowed him to proceed and work began on the dome in the summer of 1420.


The Pantheon, Rome, A.D. 118-25. Besides its position as one of history’s greatest architectural masterpieces, its survival from ancient times to modern day Rome is miraculous. Step in from the noisy hot streets of Rome to a cool calm quiet atmosphere where time seems frozen. You may almost hear the distant whisper of Marcus Aurelius. That the structure is so well preserved is a testament to Roman engineering and master building. One can only ponder a question; if the Pantheon had not survived into Brunelleschi‘s time, how long to reinvent such engineering from scratch?


Locals simply refer to Santa Maria del Fiore as “Il Duomo.” It remains to this day the most iconic Feature of Firenze. A site on the landscape still commanding the most attention.

Michaelangelo’s David, Firenze Italy.
Michaelangelo went to school, so to speak, with The Duomo before designing Saint Peters in Rome.

Another source of Michaelangelo’s admiration was Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Doors of the Baptistery, Firenze.

Michaelangelo fondly referred to them as “The Gates of Paradise.”

The doors consist of ten panels. Each frame depicts a scene from either the New or Old Testament. Ghiberti used a painter’s approach to composition but used his sculpture and architectural skill to create enormous visual depth. As an architect, Ghiberti was the only other considered candidate besides Brunelleschi for designing the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. And Brunelleschi was a possible choice for the commission Baptistery doors. Much competition for the prized jobs during The Renaissance.

The Gates of Paradise have been removed from the Baptistery and have undergone restoration. Replicas are there now. The originals will be kept indoors under a protective transparent encasement after completing a world tour. They maybe coming to a city near you.

Smithsonian Magazine has a complete story of the restoration and history of these magnificent panels.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/gatesofparadise-200711.html?page=2#