Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, was a forelorn experience after Interstate 40 bypassed the Route 66 town in 1979. Nearly 20 years later, Winslow's renaissance was sparked by Allan Affeldt and artist Tina Mion when they started restoring La Posada, an elegant railroad hotel designed by Southwestern architect Mary Jane Colter. It opened in 1930 and closed in the 1950s. bit.ly/2wNVih0
Another key to reviving the town is the Standin' on the Corner Park that opened in 1999 with a sculpture of a generic troubadour. It honors Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey for writing the hit song "Take it Easy" with its lyrics that put Winslow on the rock n' roll map:
"Well I'm standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona, it's such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowing down to get a look at me."
In September 2016, Winslow added a sculpture of Eagles founder Glenn Frey during the annual Standin' on the Corner Festival. Frey died in January 2016 at age 67.
A story has surfaced in recent years that Browne used poetic license to shape the song. The inspiration for the famous lyric, as the story goes, is that Browne was hitchhiking in front of Der Weinerschnitzel hot dog stand in Flagstaff when a girl in a Datsun cruised him.
The hot dog stand, now called the Dog Haus, claims the story is authentic and celebrates its place in the rock pantheon of the Eagles and Jackson Browne.
Browne has confirmed that the song percolated in him based on a time when his car broke down in Flagstaff. He credits Frey with coming up with the line about "a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford."
In any case, Winslow has the Standin' on the Corner Park and it needs it far more than Flagstaff does. Attracting nostalgic Baby Boomers with this monument to a song lyric from their youth is one of the things Winslow has going for it.
That and La Posada. The 62-room hotel serves as the depot for Amtrak, which stops twice per day in Winslow, at 5:59 a.m. eastbound, and 7:45 p.m. for westbound.
Just north of the La Posada, is the whitewashed El Gran Garage, which long ago was a garage for the Fred Harvey Co. touring cars
that took visitors from Winslow to the Navajo and Hopi villages. It's now a residence and artist studio.
Another local attraction for history buffs is Winslow’s Old Trails Museum, just north of Standin' on the Corner Park. It is well worth a visit for an hour or more to view its collection.
National Register of Historic Places report: http://bit.ly/2lAgpQ0
Take a walk along First Street south of the Standin' on the Corner Park where Winslow has built a gazebo and linear park features to the west. There's an interesting sculpture by artist Peter Wolf Toth. It's part of his Trail of the Whispering Giants series that includes 74 pieces, with at least one in each state.
I'd also recommend at stop at the Winslow Visitor Center, 523 W. Second St. It's in the historic Lorenzo Hubbell Trading Post and
Museum with a collection of artifacts from an era when Winslow was a hub of trading post commerce. http://bit.ly/2xA90Bk
At one time, the trading post was home to the World's Largest Navajo Rug. Lorenzo Hubbell Jr. commissioned the 26-by-36 foot rug in 1932. It took two years to spin the yarn and three years to weave the rug.
The Winslow Arts Trust acquired the Navajo rug in 2012 with plans to display it in a new museum in the restored train depot adjacent to La Posada.
The WAT Museum, which had a soft opening in March 2019, is open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The 1930 depot and freight warehouse have been nicely restored for historical displays, fine art, rugs and a Santa Fe Railway freight scale. A new wing -- a cube with glass walls -- has been added for additional gallery space.
Winslow was named for Edward F. Winslow, president of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Co., which owned half of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. The A&P built the tracks across northern Arizona in the early 1880s.
See more on Winslow's Route 66 history: