For our first sightseeing adventure in Flagstaff our family chose to get outdoors, breathe clean mountain air, and learn about Flagstaff by taking a self-guided walking tour.
At the Flagstaff Visitor Center housed in a 1920s train depot, not only did we pick up brochures for the Early History of Flagstaff and The History of the Railroad in Flagstaff, but we also found a pamphlet for a self-guided walking tour of Flagstaff’s Route 66.
Fast Facts about Route 66 in Flagstaff
The first route through this area was Beale Road, which was established as a route for wagon trains heading to California.
When the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad arrived in 1882, the town of Flagstaff was born.
When the future Mother Road arrived in Flagstaff
in 1921, the National Old Trails Highway became U.S. Route 66.
Flagstaff became a popular stop along Main Street of America.
And today, Route 66 remains a major thoroughfare through the city of Flagstaff.
Our Family’s self-guided Walking Tour of Flagstaff’s Route 66
Stop # 1 – Motel Downtowner
On this site in 1919 the Hackard Hotel was built to provide respite for those traveling along the National Old Trails Highway. The Hackard Hotel became the Dutch Annie Building.
In the 1930s, this building was turned into an Auto Inn and provided respite for those traveling along U.S. Route 66. Today this building serves as apartments and a Grand Canyon International Youth Hostel.
Stop # 2 – DuBeau Hotel
This Motel Inn was designed by A. E. DuBeau and constructed in 1929.
With “the better class of motorist” in mind, DuBeau designed each room with carpeting, double beds, and a private bathroom.
Surprisingly, the Mother Road Brewing Company
was not a stop on our walking tour.
Stop # 3 – Mike’s Place
When Main Street of America arrived in Flagstaff, 100 Mike’s Place was turned into a convenient store. The convenient store turned into B&M Auto Camp when several small cabins were added to the property.
Wanting to learn more about a historic Route 66 convenient store turned auto camp,
we stepped up to the building to take a closer look (and snap a picture) of a historic photo hanging in the window.
Wanting to know about the building today, we peered into the windows.
Wanting to know who and why people were peering into his windows, the owner of this building came outside and introduced himself. Hearing a little about us, the owner welcomed us inside. We shared a little more of our story and the owner shared his interesting story with us. Currently, the owner is a coffee bean distributer and is involved in the arts community in Flagstaff. And his wife owns a pizza parlor in town.
He told us about Flagstaff’s First Friday Art Walk. Once I heard about art galleries and working studios staying open late, live music playing, and refreshments being served, I asked my Knight if we could extend our stay in Flagstaff to attend the First Friday Art Walk. I understood but was disappointed when my Knight said, “No”.
Belle and Buddy were hesitant to leave their mark and participate in graffiti art at 100 Mike’s Place. But once they started . . . (I would imagine our stop at this site is not a typical stop unless you’re willing to peer into the windows.)
Our Lady of Guadalupe on Mike’s Place
was also not a stop on our walking tour.
However, the sight of any church is a chance for me
to thank God for the opportunity to travel across America with my family.
Stop # 4 – Five Points and Furniture Barn
At Five Points, historic Route 66 icons have become victims of progress. The Flamingo Motel is now a Barnes and Noble. Eddie’s Drive-In is now a Jack-in-the Box. The National Guard Armory building is now the Furniture Barn.
Stop # 4 – Granny’s Closet
This café was built in the 1960s. It was originally named the Paul Bunyan Café, then it became the Lumberjack Café, and this café is now known as Granny’s Closet.
Stop # 5 – Photo-op with a Giant Lumberjack
At Granny’s Closet, we found a 40 foot tall lumberjack. We learned that a muffler company had originally used these muffler men as an ad gimmick; however, these tall men became Route 66 icons. Every muffler man was different by what he held in his hand: a muffler, a tire, an axe, a lariat, and even a hot dog. Reportedly, the muffler man holding an axe was the very first muffler man.
I think Granny’s Closet should still be called the Lumberjack Café.
Stop # 6- The Underpass
Under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, this underpass was constructed to realign and improve Route 66.
Before walking along a portion of historic Route 66,
we read about all the changes in Flagstaff along Main Street of America.
As we walked, I couldn’t help but imagine this highway lined with cafes and auto inns instead of city hall and car dealerships.
Even through change and progress,
if you pick up a brochure at the Visitor Center,
get outside, breathe clean mountain air,
and take a walk,
you can still experience the Mother Road
and find Route 66 icons in Flagstaff.