The Ransacked Remains of Meteor City Trading Post

At daybreak I left the rest area and headed to the abandoned Meteor City trading post a dozen miles west of Winslow, AZ. Not an actual city, the trading post is named for the nearby crater Barringer Crater, where the Canyon Diablo Meteorite hit 50,000 years ago.

The site was much smaller than Two Guns, which I'd explored the previous day, but this place had only been abandoned for 2 years, so I figured there would still be plenty to see.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Meteor City trading post is notable for three things:
  • The "world's largest dream catcher." 
  • The "world's longest map of Route 66." 
  • The mohawked geodesic dome.
According to Guinness World Records, the dream catcher is no longer the world's largest, if it ever truly did hold that distinction. The large hole in it has probably reduced its dream catching ability anyway.


Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Bob Waldmire painted the 100 foot "world's largest map of Route 66" on an exterior wall. It fell into disrepair and was repainted by volunteers in 2002 or 2003. The wall on which it is painted has since collapsed. According to this, it would not be the longest even if it were still standing.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona
The collapsed wall where the 100 foot map of Route 66 was painted

The business began as a service station opened in 1938 by Joseph Sharber. In 1941 Jack Newsum took over, gave it the name Meteor City, and turned it into an attraction where one could purchase gas, groceries, and curios. A roadside sign advertised it as a city with a population of 1. After Newsum married in 1946, he updated the population to 2.

The trading post's signature dome was added in 1979. It appeared in the 1984 movie Starman, directed by John Carpenter and starring Jeff Bridges.

In 1990 the dome burned down and was replaced by the structure that remains today.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

In 2001, Meteor City closed briefly and was reopened later that year with new owners Richard and Ermila Benton. It closed again in December of 2012 and was put up for sale for $150,000. It doesn't look like it will ever be reopened.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

The place was in pretty bad shape when I visited, even though it had only been 2 years since it closed. The display cases were still inside, but everything had been ransacked.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

The landmark is surrounded by concrete teepees.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Inside one of the teepees:

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Behind the dome are several badly vandalized trailer homes

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Must've been a nice place for a BBQ.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

The floor was rotting through in a few places.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

The bedrooms were in rough shape.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

When the shop owner walked out his front door every morning, he was greeted by the geodesic dome.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

There was also a little workshop behind the store.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

A small structure served as the employee break room.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

On the wall of the break room was this announcement for the circus coming to the nearby town of Winslow.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona
Popcorn, anyone?

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona
Used up prayer candles

A semi trailer sits out back, filled with a few odds and ends. It looks as if the previous owners never quite finished packing up before they left. 

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona
Not even the promise of free coffee could keep Meteor City open. 
This portrait lay in a garbage can inside the trailer.

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Faded artwork is still visible on the outside walls of the structures, though some has been covered and defaced. 

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

Abandoned Meteor City Trading Post near Winslow Arizona

After exploring Meteor City, I headed east toward Joseph City and a neat old trading post surrounded by a few other abandonments. I'll tell you all about them next week!

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15 comments :

  1. I always wonder why people trash abandoned places. I feel like it's a time capsule and shouldn't be disturbed. Look and leave. Ah well, bored teenagers maybe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Sue! I treat these places like museums or historical places that should be left to decay peacefully on their own. I try to pass through them like a ghost, disturbing nothing and leaving no indication I was there. Most urban explorers I know are the same way.

      I hate to sound like a grouchy old man, but I also suspect teenagers are the culprits. Boredom and peer pressure often seem to lead to wanton destruction.

      Delete
  2. really a shame to see things destroyed like that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. And it all happened in little more than 2 years. It's as if people just can't wait to get in there and destroy things as soon as a place is vacant.

      Delete
  3. I've been talking with the new owner to help him with the fencing and some clean up. We will see what happens.
    It is for sale. 4 acres and buildings for $50,000.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wishing you the best! I hope this place gets rejuvenated and put to good use again.

      Delete
  4. I visited meteor city with my Dad back in 2012, just months before it closed. The shop keeper appeared to be living there and was a depressed looking single mother with two children who in no doubt was going through rough times. It looked like we may have been the first customers that month. Out of pity, we purchased some items from her hoping for the best and continued on our Route 66 tour. In 2015, we revisited the location, just a month before you did. It was closed and dark. The door was closed and the structure appeared to not be ransacked, which means the vandals hit this location sometime in late July or early August. It breaks my heart to see the place like this, especially since I can remember clearly when it was still open filled with Navajo and Route 66 curios. I hope the mother and her kids are doing well too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So neat that you got to see the place before and after it closed. That's sad about the single mother, and nice of you to support her business by buying something. I hope she's doing alright. It'd be nice if the place got reopened, but it seems like there just isn't enough business to keep a place like that profitable.

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  5. I would love to see "before" pics. Depressing to see such destruction.
    -Darol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did manage to find a few pictures of what it used to look like: http://www.doney.net/aroundaz/route66/meteorcity.htm

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  6. I stopped by a long time ago (at least a decade, not sure exactly) and still have a Meteor City t-shirt that I fell in love with for reasons I found hard to explain. It's literally just a red shirt with METEOR CITY AZ in plain black block letters. Something about the almost absurd lack of attempt to make it interesting somehow made it interesting to me. I'm sad to hear the place is in ruins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's pretty awesome about the shirt. The absurd lack of attempt to make it interesting is hilarious, especially considering how much effort they put into making the trading post itself interesting.

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    2. Found my pictures, in case you're interested. I pulled the shirt out of my daughter's hamper and took a picture so I could include that too, of course it was MUCH less faded when we bought it. Shame I can't get a replacement.

      https://goo.gl/photos/LSmBVGMTEECLRseEA

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    3. Feel free to repost those pictures if you want.

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    4. Great shots! Thanks so much for sharing! It's nice to see what it looked like before it fell into such disrepair.

      Delete