A Distinctive Landmark
Located on the historic Route 66, just west of the sparsely populated area known as Unincorporated Winslow in the heart of Coconino County, Arizona, lies a very interesting area known as Meteor City. This distinctive landmark etches a vibrant picture on the canvas of Arizona’s vast desert landscape.
The outpost sits at an elevation of approximately 5,033 feet, its silhouette stark against the azure backdrop of the wide-open Arizona skies.
A Historic Roadside Trading Post
Contrary to what its name might suggest, Meteor City was never officially a town. Instead, it was a bustling trading post, brimming with life and commerce. The name “Meteor City Trading Post” was adopted in connection to the nearby awe-inspiring natural wonder, the Meteor or Barringer Crater. This historic location marks the beginning of a triad of Route 66-inspired roadside attractions scattered a few miles apart along a captivating 30-mile stretch west on Interstate 40. This stretch of road, extending from Winslow to Flagstaff, houses not only Meteor City but also the hauntingly beautiful ghost town of Two Guns and the ruins of the Twin Arrows Trading Post.
Meteor City History
The history of Meteor City can be traced back to the year 1938. It opened its doors as the Sharber Service Station, a proud bearer of the Texaco brand, under the supervision of Arizona resident, Joe Sharber.
In the year 1941, the property of Meteor City embraced an era of expansion under the stewardship of a new owner, Jack Newsum. Hailing from Iowa, Newsum, also known as “Lonesome Jack,” introduced a trading post to the property. This new feature served as a beacon for weary travelers, offering them an opportunity to refuel their vehicles, restock on essential groceries, and browse through an array of gifts that captured the spirit of the region.
At one point, a quaint sign humorously stated “Population: 1”. Later, after the marriage of the service station’s proprietor, Joseph Sharber, and his beloved Gloria, the sign was updated to read “Population: 2”.
Original Structure is Destroyed
In the wake of the original building’s tragic destruction by fire in the 1960s, a geodesic dome was erected in 1979, its exterior adorned with a vibrant, attention-grabbing faux Mohawk in brilliant shades of yellow. This unique structure would come to house the curio shop, a treasure trove of items that ranged from handcrafted moccasins, evocative postcards, vibrantly colored Baja shirts and more.
The Future of Meteor City Today
Fast-forward to March 2017, when the dedicated couple, Mike and Joann Brown, became the proud new owners of Meteor City. Their current endeavor involves a meticulous restoration of the iconic geodesic dome, as well as rejuvenating the surrounding structures and the property in general, in hopes of breathing new life into this historic location.
Two peculiar tourist attractions that once graced the property were the “World’s Longest Map of Route 66,” painstakingly painted by the renowned American artist and cartographer, Bob Waldmire, and the “World’s Largest Dream-catcher,” positioned near the road in front of the dome. Adding to the charm of the property are five tipis, which further enhance the area’s nostalgic appeal.
The once sturdy wooden fence that served as the canvas for the renowned map has unfortunately fallen victim to the ravages of time, its timbers now lying disassembled and safely stowed away in storage. The once vibrant dream-catcher, now weathered and worn, stands in need of repair.
The Browns’ vision extends beyond simple restorations. They plan to reintroduce Meteor City to the world. As they breathe new life into the historic site, their primary focus remains on encapsulating the essence of the ‘city’ aspect in Meteor City, thereby enhancing its unique charm and historical significance.
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