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 some time 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.

Its odd to see brick ruins from the early 20th century sitting within sight of modern Interstate traffic wizzing 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.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trans-Sierra Highway Passes; Sherman Pass Road and Signed County Route J41

Probably the most unique Trans-Sierra Highway Pass I encountered in 2016 was the only one that isn't a State Maintained Roadway; Sherman Pass Road and Signed County Route J41.






Getting to Sherman Pass Road requires traveling deep in to Sequoia National Forest.  From the western Sierras the easiest routes are from California State Route 190 or from Signed County Route J22 east of CA 99.  When I was on my way to Sherman Pass I ended up taking J22 in Tulare County from CA 99 east on Sierra Avenue and Avenue 56 to Fountain Springs.  In Fountain Springs J22 has an eastern terminus but the road continues into Sequoia National Forest and through California Hot Springs as Mountain Route 56.





California Hot Springs essentially is a ghost town located at 3,081 feet above sea level.  California Hot Springs opened up 1882 as a health resort which grew into a small community with a shopping center.  The California Hot Springs Resort burned down in 1932 followed by the shopping center in 1968.  T…

Old 1916 Elkhorn Avenue Concrete Pony Truss Bridge

The other day I was browsing bridgehunter.com when I noticed that there an old Concrete Pony Truss bridge spanning the Fresno Slough in rural Fresno County near Burrell on Elkhorn Avenue.  Today I went out to the old span to grab some photos.






The Old Elkhorn Avenue Bridge apparently dates back from 1916 according to bridgehunter.com.

Old Elkhorn Avenue Bridge

I don't have an exact date for the replacement Elkhorn Avenue span over Fresno Slough but the old grade still has paint which makes it apparent the replacement probably was built in the last two decades.









As stated above the Old Elkhorn Avenue Bridge spans Fresno Slough.  Fresno Slough is a tributary connecting the Kings River to northwest to the San Joaquin River.  Before Tulare Lake dried up it would occasionally crest at about 210 feet above sea level which caused a back flow into the Kings River.  The back flow of Tulare Lake would in turn flow through Fresno Slough towards the San Joaquin River.  Today Fresno Slough rarely…

Legacy of US Route 466 Part 2; Tehachapi to Bakersfield

After completing California State Route 155 and CA 202 I found myself near Tehachapi Pass.  That being the case I trip back down to the Central Valley on CA 58 would have been mundane so I opted for the routing of US Route 466 to through Bakersfield.






This is the 2nd Part to the US Route 466 Legacy Series.  The first entry covered California State Route 46 and the overall history of US 466.

Legacy of US Route 466 Part 1; California State Route 46

The routing of  US 466 compared to modern CA 58 is substantially different from Tehachapi west to Bakersfield.  Heading westward US 466 would have diverged from CA 58 onto Tehachapi Boulevard passing through the community of Monolith before entering the city of Tehachapi proper.  Within Tehachapi US 466 turned south on Curry Street and west on Valley Boulevard.





Since I was on CA 202 I started my trek on the routing of US 466 at Valley Boulevard and Tucker Road.






US 466 diverged from Valley Boulevard and CA 202 at Woodford-Tehachapi Road heading …