20 Sep Cool Springs, Arizona
Cool Springs, Arizona was once a thriving last outpost for travelers on Route 66 who were most likely very hot and weary, and about to ascend the dangerous climb up Black Mountain to Sitgreaves Pass. This section of Route 66 is one of the few remaining that is still a narrow two-lane highway and believe me, you want to take it slow and steady. The history books are full of deaths on Route 66 and I’m sure this stretch saw a large percentage. Today vehicles over 40’ long are not allowed on this section.
Originally built in the 1920’s Cool Springs was a thriving business with small cabins, a restaurant and bar, gas station, and fresh water. Many people chose to spend the night and leave early in the morning, as once you cross the border on the other side of the pass into California, the enormous Mohave Desert looms. It’s a sadly typical Route 66 story, that after the bypass of the interstate happened in 1953, business fell off precipitously and they eventually went out of business in 1964. Then in a bizarre twist of fate, the place was demolished in 1991 for the filming of Universal Soldier, a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.
Enter Ned Leuchtner, a real estate agent from Chicago, in 1997 who chose to rebuild the property, more as a small museum and gift shop. But you can still get something to drink, buy a few postcards and memorabilia and appreciate the work it took to rebuild this wonderful memory from the Route 66 past.