On The Mother Road To The Twin Arrows Trading Post

Embark on a journey through time as we explore the history and mystery of the abandoned Twin Arrows Trading Post along the iconic Route 66.

Uncovering the History of Twin Arrows Trading Post

The Twin Arrows Trading Post, located along Route 66 near Flagstaff, Arizona, holds a rich history waiting to be uncovered. It was originally built in the 1940s by Chester and Agnes Lewis as a trading post and gas station to cater to the travelers on the Mother Road. The iconic twin arrows that stand tall at the entrance of the trading post became its defining feature, attracting visitors from near and far.

The Twin Arrows Trading Post was originally called the Canyon Padre Trading Post, named for a nearby gorge. At that time it was only the diner and the store. Business was slow for the trading post until the owners, inspired by the neighboring stop at Two Guns, changed the name to Twin Arrows Trading Post and added the service station. Another feature added at this time, and arguably the most important, was the addition of two arrows standing 25 feet tall at the west end of the property. The arrows are easily visible from the highway and certainly would’ve sparked the curiosity of travelers on The Mother Road. Unfortunately in early 2022 one of the arrows broke off at the base. It laid where it fell for about a year but, as of March 9, 2024, it had vanished altogether.

Over the years, the trading post witnessed the ebb and flow of travelers along Route 66. It served as a hub for locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of goods and services. The Lewis family managed the trading post with dedication, creating a welcoming atmosphere for all who stopped by. However, as the popularity of Route 66 declined with the construction of interstate highways, the Twin Arrows Trading Post faced a decline as well. It was closed and abandoned in 1995.

The Rise and Fall of a Once Thriving Stop

I hate to be a fun squasher but the green orb seen on the wooden pole near the bottom of the frame is not the spirit of Jerry Garcia. To the contrary, it’s just plain ‘ole lens flare.

At its peak, the Twin Arrows Trading Post was a bustling stop along Route 66. Travelers would stop to refuel their vehicles, grab a bite to eat, and browse through the unique offerings of the trading post. The Lewis family built a successful business, catering to the needs and interests of the travelers.

However, as the interstate highways gained prominence, Route 66 started losing its charm. The once thriving trading post saw a decline in visitors and eventually had to shut its doors. I-40 is generally blamed for the death of all things on historic Route 66 but, in this case, it may not be a fair accusation. The Twin Arrows Trading Post has it’s very own exit on I-40 so maybe the real problems were internal. Today, the abandoned ruins of the Twin Arrows Trading Post stand as a reminder of a bygone era, waiting to be explored and rediscovered.

Exploring the Abandoned Ruins of the Twin Arrows Trading Post

This portion of the Twin Arrows Trading Post is a Valentine Diner.
As is evident by the shape, the Twin Arrows Trading Post had its very own Valentine Diner.

Venturing into the abandoned ruins of the Twin Arrows Trading Post is like stepping back in time. The weathered walls and crumbling structures tell stories of the past, inviting curious explorers to unravel its mysteries. As you walk through the remains of the trading post, you can imagine the bustling activity that once filled the air.

The structure pictured above is a Valentine Diner. Once very popular on Route 66, the Valentine Diner was basically a portable building that was outfitted to be a small restaurant or “lunch room”. They cost around $5000 and were ordered from a catalog and delivered via the mail.

Interior view of the diner at Twin Arrows Trading Post.
Interior of the Valentine Diner at Twin Arrows Trading Post.
Graffiti and structural deterioration is substantial.
Interior of the Twin Arrows trading post, complete with a headless mannequin that nearly gave me a heart attack.
Interior shot of the Twin Arrows Trading Post on historic Route 66 in Arizona.
Heavily graffitied interior of the Twin Arrows Trading Post on historic Route 66 in Arizona.

There are several little outbuildings around back that are not visible from the road.

Only one of the iconic twin arrows still stands tall, symbolizing the spirit of the trading post. Exploring the various sections of the ruins, you can see remnants of the gas station, the trading area, and even the living quarters of the Lewis family. It’s a journey that allows you to connect with the history of Route 66 and the people who made it a memorable destination.

Exterior shot of the Twin Arrows Trading Post on historic Route 66 in Arizona.
Welcome to the aptly renamed One Arrow, Arizona.

Legends and Ghost Stories Surrounding The Twin Arrows Trading Post

The straight truth is that I shot and included this photo because it reminded me of The Walking Dead.

The abandoned Twin Arrows Trading Post has its fair share of legends and ghost stories. Some say that the spirits of the Lewis family still linger around the ruins, protecting their former home. Visitors have reported hearing whispers in the wind and feeling a ghostly presence as they explore the site. Arguably, the Lewis family ghosts could use some extra muscle when it comes to the security of the property.

There are also tales of mysterious happenings, such as objects moving on their own and unexplained noises. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, these stories add an extra layer of intrigue to the already fascinating history of the Twin Arrows Trading Post.

Preserving the Legacy of a Bygone Era

Preserving the legacy of the Twin Arrows Trading Post is important to ensure that future generations can learn about the history and significance of Route 66. Efforts are being made to restore and maintain the remaining structures of the trading post, allowing visitors to experience a glimpse of what life was like during its heyday.

Various organizations and individuals are working together to raise awareness and funds for the preservation of the Twin Arrows Trading Post. Through their efforts, they hope to keep the memory of this iconic stop alive and pay tribute to the Lewis family’s contribution to the history of Route 66.

San Fransisco Peaks

About half a mile down the road from the abandoned Twin Arrows Trading Post is not abandoned Twin Arrows Travel Stop and Casino. They’re not very interesting but there is a stunning view of the San Fransisco Peaks from the parking lot of the travel stop.

These photos were shot on March 9, 2024

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