Winslow, Arizona is a town along old Route 66, east of Flagstaff, Twin Arrows, Two Guns and the Meteor City Trading Post. It’s about 20 minutes west of the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, 30 minutes west of Holbrook and 60 miles from the Petrified Forest National Park. Winslow wasn’t on my radar before our Route 66 trip back in June, but we had time before we had to check into the Wigwam Motel so we decided to stop.
My co-pilot and frequent road trip collaborator, Jean-Marie, reminded me that I most certainly had heard of Winslow, Arizona—and you probably have too. The 1972 song Take It Easy, penned by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, was the first single released by The Eagles. The song peaked at No. 12 on the July 22, 1972 Billboard Hot 100 chart and contained the lyrics, “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 song was the opening track on the band's debut album; it has been included on all of their live and compilation albums and coincidentally (or not) it was playing outside of the souvenir shop when we stopped.
Apart from its tenuous connection to fame, there isn’t much to see in Winslow (apart from the Falcon The Family Restaurant’s wonderful signage). But you have to hand it to a city with a population of less than 10,000 for turning its proverbial fifteen minutes into a bonafide roadside attraction.
Once a thriving Route 66 destination, the town declined rapidly after it was bypassed by I-40 in the late ‘70s. The Standin' On the Corner Foundation was formed to build tourism and in 1999—funded by donors whose names are inscribed in bricks on the ground—Standin’ On the Corner Park opened.
The small park features a two-story trompe l'oeil mural by John Pugh on the surviving brick face of a building that burned down in 2004. Two bronze statues stand in front of the wall, one of a life-sized man who is standing on the corner with a guitar by his side, and one of Glenn Frey, who died in 2016. A red flatbed Ford—slowin' down to take a look at me—is parked nearby.
Across the street is a souvenir shop—also called Standin’ On the Corner—where you can squish a penny and buy Route 66 souvenirs or (disturbingly) pro-Trump bumper stickers and hats. Diagonal to the souvenir shop is a coffee shop and we sat outside sipping iced coffees and watched in amusement as families steadily piled out of their cars to take photos of themselves—you guessed it—standin’ on the corner (such a fine sight to see).
Standin’ On the Corner Park
Corner of Kinsley and E 2nd Street