Celebrating Route 66 in Seligman, AZ
For the longest time I wanted to travel Route 66. Sure, I’ve visited bits and pieces in Southern California but I longed to get beyond state lines and really hit the mother road. Luckily, the route happens to make up much of the way to the Grand Canyon and, on my recent trip, I made sure to travel it whenever I could. Really, there’s nothing like getting off the interstate and taking things slow because when you do you happen upon special places like Seligman, AZ.
Seligman, a small town in northwest Arizona bisected by Route 66, was a popular tourist sport during the highway’s heyday but fell into decline when Highway 40 bypassed it in 1978. It could have become a ghost town like so many other places along the route were it not for the tenacity of lifetime resident, Angel Delgadillo. Determined to not let his town be forgotten he established the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona and, with his fellow residents, was instrumental in naming the road a historic highway. As such, the town is now known as the “Birthplace of Historic Route 66.”
Despite this pedigree the town remains largely hidden to travelers along I-40. It’s not visible from the interstate and is merely listed as an exit from the roadway. If you’re not in the know you’d easily pass it by and never see how special it is. Luckily, I pour over guidebooks and travel sites and figured it was something I should check out.
Was it ever! Seligman is the epitome of the Route 66 experience. Its small downtown is chock full of shops absolutely covered in memorabilia and brimming with souvenirs. it’s everything I hoped for and more.
A must stop is Angel & Vilma Delgadillo’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop owned by the man who made the town famous. He was the town barber and the store is adjacent to his barber shop which has been converted into a small museum.
Across the street is Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In – a snack shop that was owned by Angel’s brother Juan. Completely coated in memorabilia the building is actually made from scrap he collected when working for the railroad!
It was a pretty warm day when I visited so I made sure to stop by for a tasty soft serve and ice cream cone in hand I spent the rest of my visit admiring the town’s unique surroundings.
This is the Route 66 I always dreamed about. Thanks to Mr. Delgadillo and the citizens of Seligman the town has escaped obscurity and instead become an iconic symbol of the mother road. It’s a truly special place and I’m so happy I detoured from the interstate and spent a few joyous moments in its vicinity.