Two Guns, Arizona.
February 21, 2006 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Out along old Route 66 in Northern Arizona is Canyon Diablo. Best known for its large meteor crater, the canyon and its surroundings contain another fantastic story. It begins in the mid 1870’s with a Apache raid on the Navajo that ended in the gruesome death of some 50 Apaches trapped in what is now called “The Apache Death Cave”. The story picks up about 10 years later in 1880 when the Atlantic and Pacific railroad ran out of money at the canyon’s edge. Unable to progress any further a make shift boom town grew up over night. Said to be more dangerous than Tombstone and Dodge City combined, the first sheriff appointed at 3pm was dead by 8pm that same night. The city of Canyon Diablo lasted 10 grizzly years, ending only when the US Army was dispatched to gain control over the murder, theft and prostitution that ran rampant. The story continues in 1920 at the inception of Route 66. Harry E. (Indian) Miller, opens up one of the first and what would become one of the most elaborate Route 66 trading posts/gas station/curio shop/ tourist attractions. Named Two Guns, it was complete with Hopi made buildings, a gas station, a well-lit “Death Cave” , a “zoo” of filled with the local fauna. and lots of colorful characters. In a short time, the roadside stop began to take on what many by that time calling the curse of Canyon Diablo. Shady business deals, fires, maimings, and murder abounded. After several attempts thru the 50’s and 60’s to rebuild ,all that is left is a crumbling, beautiful husk.
posted by BrodieShadeTree (28 comments total)
I realize some of my photos (as BSTree) are found in that last link. However, I went out there this past weekend to take photos so I could make this post.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 1:59 PM on February 21, 2006

"The city of Canyon Diablo lasted 10 grizzly years ..."

Are those anything like dog years?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:02 PM on February 21, 2006

grisly. dang.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:04 PM on February 21, 2006

Great post.
Next time, do a [more inside], and put your stuff in that comment.
posted by dhartung at 2:15 PM on February 21, 2006

Good stuff, thanks!
posted by freebird at 2:16 PM on February 21, 2006

posted by CynicalKnight at 2:19 PM on February 21, 2006

Where else was all this posted just a day or so ago? Boing Boing? Kottke?
posted by A189Nut at 2:28 PM on February 21, 2006

I put a askme thread up to help find the older photos. That it?
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:30 PM on February 21, 2006

Ah yes. Getting old, losing brain cells...
posted by A189Nut at 2:31 PM on February 21, 2006

a fine post, brodie, about an odd, old place that most people pass at 80mph with little more than a glance! i've always wanted to stop...
here are a few more images courtesy of the local university archives:
the bridge at canyon diablo 1953
stereoptic image of bridge in 1910
harry miller 1929
two guns trading post 1899
aerial view 1962
posted by RockyChrysler at 2:38 PM on February 21, 2006

Canyon Diablo Meteorite Metallic Spheroids & Dr. Harvey Nininger
posted by roboto at 2:43 PM on February 21, 2006

An oral history of folks coming into this area circa 1900, recorded in 1955. Amazing link from RockyChryslers link above.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:52 PM on February 21, 2006

Thanks Rocky, browsing through those archives I found a gem.

Abbey Speaks: A Gathering of Surviving Friends of the Great American Author, Edward Abbey (1927-1989); Audio Recording; may contain strong language.
posted by roboto at 2:56 PM on February 21, 2006

Just last Christmas, I drove right by all of this. Thanks for the post!
posted by Balisong at 3:07 PM on February 21, 2006

Were they the first libertarians?
posted by eisbaer at 3:23 PM on February 21, 2006

I loved the pic of Harry Miller "with one of his porcupines." A man who owns multiple porcupines is the definition of a mensch.

Great stuff, BST!
posted by rdone at 3:48 PM on February 21, 2006

Miller was almost eviscerated to death by ONE of his cougars.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:52 PM on February 21, 2006

[this is good]
posted by S.C. at 4:07 PM on February 21, 2006

Amazing post, BST, thanks!
posted by jonson at 4:13 PM on February 21, 2006

[this is good]
posted by killdevil at 4:41 PM on February 21, 2006

Outstanding post, BSTree!
posted by darkstar at 5:11 PM on February 21, 2006

Any desktop sizes? 1600 x 1200?
posted by subaruwrx at 5:40 PM on February 21, 2006

Holy Chit! Loading up the snsranch family into the truckster as you read this! Woo hoo! We're on our way to see the "crumbling beautiful husk".

Seriously, awesome post! I can't wait to visit in person.
posted by snsranch at 6:34 PM on February 21, 2006

Excellent post!

To think, that I was born in Flagstaff, grew up in AZ, went to school at NAU, and never knew about this place. Now I have a new destination in mind for the next time I'm in northern Arizona.

Well, Two Guns and Grand Falls.
posted by djeo at 6:57 PM on February 21, 2006

Great post, and no, this did not need a "more inside" just fine as it is. Also, great follow up links as well. MeFi at it's best!
posted by Eekacat at 8:07 PM on February 21, 2006

This is a fantastic post. Fantastic.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:30 PM on February 21, 2006

Damnit, I was up there LAST weekend! Why couldn't you have posted this last week!? :)

This is an awesome post!
posted by smeger at 9:47 PM on February 21, 2006

Great post, never heard of this place.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:44 PM on February 22, 2006

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