Passing through Ashfork, Arizona
These images from Ashfork, Arizona were originally published on a previous incarnation of The Dry Heat Blog on March 1, 2009 following a road trip from Albuquerque, NM to Las Vegas, NV for the annual WPPI convention. So, not only is the town old but so are these photos!
Ashfork, Arizona is a must-see stop on Route 66. If memory serves, the nine hour drive from Albuquerque to Las Vegas took two and a half days due to all the Route 66 photo stops. It was time well spent!
All of these photos were shot on a Canon 50D with a Lensbaby 2.0 and edited with some fancy Kubota Actions which were purchased at WPPI.
History of Ashfork, Arizona
Ashfork is a census designated place in Yavapai County. A 2010 census recorded a population of 396. This number represents a decline from the 457 residents that were documented in 2000.
Ashfork, Arizona is the self proclaimed “Flagstone Capital of the World” due to the large number of stone quarries in and around the town. The community was originally established as stop on the Santa Fe Railroad in 1882. The first official post office was established in 1883.
A string of misfortunes
In 1893, the entire town of Ashfork burned to the ground and was rebuilt on the opposite side of the train tracks from where it began.
Many Route 66 towns were once dependent on travelers for a good deal of their revenue. Ashfork, however, was more dependent on the railroad.
While Route 66 did provide a slight boost to the town’s economy, construction of the divided highway resulted in the destruction of many of the downtown storefronts. Then, in 1960, the Santa Fe Railroad moved its main line north taking nearly half the population of Ashfork with it.
On November 20, 1977 another large fire, known as “The Big Fire” destroyed most of the downtown businesses. Soon after I-40 bypassed the town, drastically reducing the traffic on Route 66 and delivering another nail in the coffin of the local economy.
But wait, there’s more…
On an unfortunate Wednesday in the 2nd week of October in 1987, yet another fire ripped through the town. The flames destroyed nearly all the remaining businesses on the south side of Route 66.
Historic Route 66
The longest uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 still in existence runs between Ashfork and Seligman, Arizona. It is 9.6 miles of historic road trip that you don’t want to miss.
To learn more about Ashfork, Arizona check out the detailed article on the Legends Of America website.