Abandoned Twin Arrows Trading Post

Twin Arrows Trading Post sits abandoned along a freeway exit outside of Flagstaff Arizona, a lost remnant of Historic Route 66.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

I woke up to freezing cold air and windows covered in snow. My car windows aren't tinted, so I was glad to have the added privacy. I pulled on my coat and looked outside. A thick layer of snow blanketed everything. In the distance a snowplow turned onto the street. I am originally from Wisconsin, and the beauty of fresh fallen snow made me nostalgic. But the sentiment was tempered with memories of shoveling driveways, scraping ice from my windshield, and navigating slippery roads. It hadn't occurred to me to bring an ice scraper on the road trip, so I had to wait for the defroster to clear the windshield.

After exploring the abandoned remains of the Christmas Tree Inn in the ghost town of Santa Claus, Arizona, I headed east on the I-40, the freeway that made Route 66 obsolete. Segments of the old highway still exist along the interstate, some now privately owned and gated off. Along exit 219 sit the ghostly remains of Twin Arrows Trading Post. Concrete barriers line the exit ramp to prevent vehicles from accessing the property, so I drove several hundred feet past it and parked on the narrow shoulder.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

The trading post, built in the late 1940s, was originally named Canyon Padre Trading Post after a nearby gorge. In 1955, owner Ted Griffith was hit by a car while removing weeds along the property. His injuries were severe enough that he had to sell the business.

The new owners, the Troxell Family transformed the trading post into a memorable roadside attraction. They changed the name to Twin Arrows to compliment the nearby town of Two Guns, and erected the iconic arrows out front. They also added a gas station and Valentine Diner.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Valentine Diners were prefabricated restaurants sold out of Wichita Kansas by Arthur Valentine from the 1930s to the '60s. Modeled after railroad dining cars, the portable restaurants seated 8-10 customers at a time. Valentine Diners were easy to set up and could be operated by one or two people, making them popular for small business owners. 

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

A large hole has been ripped in the back wall of the diner. 

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

When the interstate came through in the 1970s, business began to decline for Twin Arrows. Quicker transportation through the area decreased the demand for shops and refueling stations. The business changed hands several times before closing in the late '90s. The property is now owned by the state of Arizona.

Weeds now grow up through the crumbling asphalt. 

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Gas was stored in above-ground tanks.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona


The arrows, which had deteriorated over the years, were restored in 2009 during an event organized by the Hopi tribe. There was talk of restoring the entire trading post, but nothing ever came of it. 

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

The main building contained the store,

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

storage area,

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

and living quarters.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

The structure is badly weathered. Water dripped from the ceiling in many places.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

A large chunk of ceiling had caved in, and flurries of snow fell lazily through the opening.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

The large fireplace in the living room is still intact.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

The office, exposed to the elements, was littered with snow and tumbleweed.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

On the back patio lay an overturned picnic table, where workers probably sat on their lunch breaks.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Several apartments behind the main building housed employees who worked at the service station and diner.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

The reservoir tank once stored precious water piped in from nearby Drye ranch. Kind of an ironic name, don't you think?

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

I'm not sure exactly what this little building was used for.

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Judging by the state of things, I'd say the chance to restore the buildings is long gone. 

Twin Arrows Trading Post Abandoned in Arizona

Fortunately a Facebook page was created to document the history of this neat old roadside attraction: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Twin-Arrows-Trading-Post/767379229987962?fref=ts . It contains some personal accounts from people who lived and worked there. There is even mention of a time when they saw a distant mushroom cloud from a nuclear weapon test. 

By the time I finished exploring this neat little gem, my fingers were numb. I got back in the car, cranked up the heat, and began the short drive to the incredible ghost town of Two Guns. I can hardly wait to share my pictures and tell you all about it's dark history!

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5 comments :

  1. This is a great blog Jim. I didn't realize you were a route 66 aficionado. I was infatuated with that highway as well for some time years ago. It still draws me. Anyway. Great work. I love it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Roger! I didn't realize I was a Route 66 aficionado either. I originally set out to explore abandoned places, and ended up following the Mother Road by chance. It was a happy accident.

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  2. I have a chrome postcard of the original Canyon Padre trading post on Ebay right now...it is selling for arounde $8, sales ends tomorrow (Thursday night) Item # 264087287010. I have one more card of it around here somewhere, I believe.

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