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Seligman, Arizona (Route 66)

Seligman, Arizona holds a distinguished place in American history as the birthplace of Historic Route 66 in 1987. Situated along the original route of this iconic highway, Seligman played a pivotal role in preserving the legacy of the Mother Road. In the 1985 Route 66 was decommissioned and by passed by I-40. Angel Delgadillo, and a large group of people from the Area successfully campaigned for the preservation and recognition of Route 66. Arizona then gave Route 66 a Historic Designation which was the start of the revitalization of Route 66. Their unwavering dedication resulted in the restoration and rejuvenation of the highway, transforming it into a symbol of American nostalgia and a celebrated tourist destination. Today, Seligman proudly stands as the birthplace of the Historic Route 66, attracting visitors from far and wide who come to experience the spirit and charm of this iconic road and the vibrant culture it represents.

Seligman, Arizona, holds a unique position in American history, particularly regarding its connection to the legendary Route 66. This small town, once known as Prescott Junction, reflects a rich narrative of growth, decline, and revival, mirroring the story of many small American towns influenced by the rise and fall of major transportation routes.

Early History and Name Change

Originally known as Prescott Junction, Seligman’s early history was tied to its role as a key railroad junction. The town was renamed in 1886 in honor of Jesse Seligman, a prominent banker and financier from New York, who was involved in funding railroad projects. This renaming marked Seligman’s transition from a mere junction point to a recognized community in its own right.

Connection to Route 66

Seligman’s most significant claim to fame is its deep connection to Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road.” Established in 1926, Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing right through Seligman. This brought a wave of travelers through the town, leading to a boom in local businesses, including motels, diners, and gas stations, catering to road-weary travelers seeking rest and refreshment.

Decline and Resurgence

The construction of the Interstate Highway System in the 1978, particularly Interstate 40, led to a significant decline in traffic through Seligman. Like many towns along Route 66, Seligman experienced economic hardship as travelers and commercial traffic bypassed it in favor of faster routes.

However, in the 1980s, Seligman spearheaded the movement to preserve Route 66 and its unique American cultural heritage. Led by local barber and businessman, Angel Delgadillo, Seligman and its supporters successfully lobbied for Route 66 to be designated as a Historic highway. This movement helped revive interest in the “Mother Road” and the towns along its path, bringing tourists back to Seligman and other similar communities.

Seligman Today: A Real-Life Radiator Springs

Today, Seligman embraces its heritage as a quintessential Route 66 town. Visitors to Seligman will find a community proud of its history, with local businesses and attractions steeped in the nostalgia of the Route 66 era. The town has become a popular destination for those looking to experience the charm and history of the legendary highway.

Seligman’s story, much like the fictional town of Radiator Springs in the Pixar movie “Cars,” reflects the broader narrative of small towns across America that flourished with the rise of automobile travel, faced decline with the advent of the interstate highway system, and found renewal through nostalgia and the preservation of history. Its current state as a cherished stop on the historic Route 66 route attests to the resilience and enduring appeal of these communities in the American landscape.

Route 66 Attractions in Seligman, Arizona.

  1. Delgadillo’s Snow Cap A classic roadside diner that has been serving up burgers, shakes, and a side of humor for decades. It’s known for its quirky signage and humorous owner.
  2. Route 66 Road Relics is a Route 66 Gift Shop and Antique Store. Big Mike Is the owner so drop by and say Howdy. We also server Epresso made with a Jura machine.
  3. Historic Seligman Sundries: A historic general store and soda fountain where you can enjoy ice cream, sandwiches, and more.
  4. The Rusty Bolt: A unique gift shop with a wide selection of Route 66-themed items and antiques.
  5. Angel & Vilma’s Route 66 Gift Shop: This shop is a great place to pick up Route 66 memorabilia and souvenirs.
  6. Route 66 Motorporium: Has a Great Collection of 35 Motorcycles and Route 66 merchandise.
  7. Return to the 50s : Route 66 Gifts and memorabilia, giving you a glimpse into the past.
  8. Route 66 Fun Run: An annual event that attracts classic car enthusiasts from around the country, featuring a parade and car show. usually help the end of April or the beginning of May
  9. Westside Lilo’s Café: A classic Route 66 diner known for its hearty breakfasts and friendly service. World Famous Carrot Cake.
  10. Roadkill Cafe: While not actually serving roadkill, this quirky restaurant has a humorous menu and is known for its fun ambiance.
  11. Grand Canyon Caverns: While technically not in Seligman, it’s nearby and worth a visit. This attraction offers guided tours of an underground cavern system.
  12. Aztec Motel and Creative Space. A nice Motel with Route 66 Themed Rooms is a nice place to stay.
  13. Historic Route 66 Motel is another good choice for spending the night on Historic Route 66 in Seligman.
  14. Route 66 / Seligman KOA. Sleep in a Tepee or just spend the night in your trailer at this great RV Set campground.





Visit Seligman Arizona the Birthplace of Historic Route 66
Arizona's Route 66 See What You Missed ...
Join Big Mike as we watch a Route 66 Fun Run Classic Car Parade in Seligman Arizona.
Route 66 Fun Run: Do you Love Classic Cars, Trucks & Sports Cars. Then sit back & enjoy.
We did it! — Route 66 from Oatman to Seligman


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