Skip to main content

Route 66 Wednesdays; The Two Guns Trade Post and Canyon Diablo

Eleven miles east of the ruins of the Twin Arrows Trade Post at I-40/US 180 exit 230 is the ruins of Two Guns on the rim of Canyon Diablo. 


The Two Guns Trade Post predates even US Route 66 being on an old alignment of the National Old Trails Road.  The Canyon Diablo Bridge located in Two Guns dates 1915 and spans the canyon of the same name.  A store was set up near the Canyon Diablo Bridge in 1922 and eventually grew to a small community that became known as Two Guns.  In 1926 US Route 66 was commissioned to run through Arizona on the alignment of the National Old Trails Road.

In 1938 the 1915 Canyon Diablo Bridge was replaced by a more modernized span which was located near the current eastbound lanes of I-40/US 180 Canyon Diablo.  The Canyon Diablo Trade Post grew in size during the heyday of Route 66 and eventually had a small zoo in addition to a campground.  I'm to understand the service station in Two Guns burned in 1971 which probably didn't help considering US 66/US 180 were multiplexed on I-40which was completed from Flagstaff east to the outskirts of Winslow by that time.


The service station in Two Guns was replaced sometime after 1971 as evidenced by the modern structure on the site.  Gradually Two Guns continued to decline in importance as travelers bypassed it for services in more major cities along the route of I-40.  Today Two Guns is a crumbling ruin sitting off to the side of the eastbound lanes of I-40/US 180.

It is odd to see brick ruins from the early 20th century sitting within sight of modern Interstate traffic whizzing by at close to 80 MPH.



The ruins of the Two Guns Zoo are extensive and still display markings from when the site housed animals.  The Mountain Lion cages still have metal wiring as though they are still waiting for something to display.








The 1915 Canyon Diablo Bridge still can easily be walked across.  The bend in Canyon Diablo ahead in the first photo is the site of the Apache Death Cave.  In 1878, the Death Cave was the site of a mass murder of 42 Apache who hid in the cave from their Navajo pursuers.  The Navajo used fire to funnel smoke into the Death Cave killing all within. 



Looking north past Canyon Diablo I'm fairly certain that traffic on the NOTR would have turned an immediate right. 


High above the east cliff of Canyon Diablo is the remains of the Two Guns service station and campground.


Surprisingly the service station is completely open and anyone can walk in.  If I really wanted I could have explored the abandoned service center at a whim, I figured a photo from the window would be enough.


The Two Guns campground still displays legible signs and painted imagery.




Site Navigation:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California

The historic corridor of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 through the borderlands of southern California share a largely mutual history.  Both highways originated in the city of San Diego and departed the state at the Colorado River into Yuma, Arizona.  Both highways share numerous famous geographical components such as the Mountain Springs Grade and Algodones Sand Dunes.  This article serves as a comprehensive history of the combined US Route 80/Interstate 8 corridor in California from the tolled stage route era of the nineteenth century to the development of the modern freeway.   The blog cover photo features US Route 80 along the Mountains Springs Grade through In-Ko-Pah Gorge during late 1920s.  This photo is part of the Caltrans McCurry Collection. Part 1; the history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California share a largely mutual history.  The backstory of both highways is tied heavily to the corridors of the Old Spanish Trail, Legisl

The Central Freeway of San Francisco (US Route 101)

The Central Freeway is a 1.2-mile elevated limited access corridor in the city of San Francisco.  As presently configured the Central Freeway connects from the end of the Bayshore Freeway to Market Street.  The Central Freeway carries the mainline of northbound US Route 101 from the Bayshore Freeway to Mission Street. The Central Freeway has origins with the establishment of Legislative Route Number 223 and is heavily tied to the history of the once proposed Panhandle Freeway.  The Central Freeway between the Bayshore Freeway and Mission Street was completed during 1955.  The corridor was extended to a one-way couplet located at Turk Street and Golden Gate Avenue in 1959 which served to connect US Route 101 to Van Ness Avenue.  The Central Freeway was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and has since been truncated to Market Street.   The Central Freeway as pictured on the blog cover was featured in the May/June 1959 California Highways & Public Works.  The scan below is fro

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact, the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine w