Racing at Northern Arizona Normal School on Route 66!


Automobiles Racing at Northern Arizona Normal School, ca.1920. AHS.0003.00057


Often, it is said, falling back on a strange or unique image might well reflect a certain “lack of not  having a real entry to post”. Fair enough. This image though reflects not only a certain oddity, but also a strangely cool quality that, one doesn’t often associate with a normal school.

So, what do we have here? First the image orientation: we have a nice historic image of campus of the early Northern Arizona Normal School (circa 1920), Flagstaff,  from the Arizona Historical Society, Northern Division-whose images we house here in Special Collections and Archives. Northern Arizona Normal School (and later Northern Arizona University) was bounded to the west by Route 66. We’re looking northwest towards the east side of Campbell Hall (built 1916). To the left of that is Hanley Hall (built 1912, now long-gone), and Bury Hall (built 1908). The photo was likely taken from a location close to the present-day South Beaver School, or the Chemistry building-close to the school’s original athletic field. The subject of the photo is clearly the two automobiles racing. What is interesting is that these aren’t mere jalopies. The one on the left appears to be a purpose built racing machine, whereas the one on the right might have started life as a production automobile- and note what appears to be a ride-along mechanic.

Obviously there are spectators (not very safe ones at that), and a whole lot of questions. Was this really a sanctioned event? Why were these cars in Flagstaff? Were they local, or passing through, heading to larger racing venues? Was this a race, or some sort of promotional event? Race cars at a normal school??

Frankly, I think this a fine image- far from an act of blogging desperation. It is an image of our campus from almost a hundred years ago; vintage cars-racing no less, on what appears to be a fine, sunny afternoon. One like this isn’t likely to happen at NAU quite this way ever again.

Get Your Kicks on the New Route 66 Archives and Research Website


NAU.PH.2010.21.14 Neon sign from the “Route 66 in Arizona: Don’t Forget Winona!” Exhibit (Charley Seavey) 2009


The Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives at Northern Arizona University, in collaboration with the U.S. National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, announces the launch of the national Route 66 Archives and Research Collaboration (ARC) website at

The website is an online portal to historical collections and information relating to Route 66. It is designed to help students, educators, film makers, business owners, community members, agencies, and others find information they need for research, education, corridor revitalization efforts, and more. Finding aides and information for each state are provided to help people connect to local, regional, and national sources of Route 66-related information.


NAU.PH.2004.11.2.561 The Delgadillo empire (Angel & Vilma Delgadillo’s Route 66 Gift Shop & Visitor’s Center) 2006


The Route 66 ARC was established in 2008 through the impetus of the National Park Service, Route 66 Preservation Program to encourage cross-state collaboration to collect, archive, and make accessible research materials that promote education, preservation, and management of the historic Route 66 corridor.


NAU.PH.2004.11.2.12 The Jackrabbit Trading Post, between Winslow (10 mi. west) and Joseph City (8 mi. east) on Route 66. 1992


The Cline Library is one of ten founding partners of the Route 66 ARC. Other founding partners include Illinois State Museum, Missouri State University, University of Missouri, Baxter Springs Historical Society (KS), Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma State University, Panhandle Plains Historical Museum (TX), University of New Mexico and the Autry National Center (CA).

The site is also dedicated in the memory of our good friend, one of our founding members, and colleague, Ann Massmann of the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections at the University of New Mexico Albuquerque. Ann was one of the driving forces for the ARC and this web site. She will be missed.


NAU.PH.2004.11.4.176 Ann Massmann (UNM) at the restored “Meadow Gold Ice Cream” Sign, Route 66, Tulsa, OK. 2011


For more information contact the Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives at:

Rimmy Jim’s and Route 66

Somebody posted on Facebook a day or two back asking about where Rimmy Jim’s was. In digging through our digital archives, we have some images that may help answer that question.

Our first image is from 1925:


The image is from the Arizona Historical Society (Flagstaff) and is image # AHS.0727.00005 . The building is still sort of there, at Two Guns, AZ. Here is a  more modern image (from a different angle):


This is from the Cline Library Digital Archives, photo # NAU.PH.2013.29.13 .

Next up an image from the 1930s, possibly at Meteor Crater Road and Route 66:


This one is image # NAU.PH.252.15 .

Finally, we have the last Rimmy Jim’s, taken in 1969- probably just weeks or months before the place burned. Note the very cool Ford Ranchero. This Rimmy Jim’s was back at Two Guns, but along the 1947 alignment of Route 66.


Image # NAU.PH. .


Happy travels, everyone!


Summer 2015 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship

The Cline Library at Northern Arizona University invites applications for The Elizabeth M. and P.T. Reilly Internship.

The 2015 Reilly intern will work closely with Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives staff to develop physical and virtual exhibits focused on the Fred Harvey Company and its operations in northern Arizona and the greater Southwest. The Fred Harvey Company chain of restaurants and hotels was closely associated with railroad’s westward expansion in America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Fred Harvey Company influenced the Southwest region economically through the development of tourism; the promotion of Native American arts; and of course, through its restaurants, hotels, food service, and the famous “Harvey Girls.”

The Cline Library’s Fred Harvey Collection (MS 280) covers the period from the1930s to the 1990s. It’s comprised of 24 linear feet of manuscript material; 24 framed posters, drawings and related material; 2,000 images; 32 blueprints and building drawings; and 3 moving images. The collection contains rich historical gems, including Mary Jane Colter blueprints, images of the Fred Harvey operations, business records, and menus from Santa Fe Railway passenger trains and many Harvey House restaurants. View the finding aid for the collection or selections from the Fred Harvey Collection in the Colorado Plateau Archives.

The exhibit will examine the variety of tourism experiences made available by the Fred Harvey Company and the company’s influence on the region yesterday and today. It will also highlight the artistry of the Fred Harvey Company that is demonstrated in its buildings, architecture, and food service.

Duties and Opportunities: The 2015 Reilly intern will assume primary responsibility for the development and fabrication of both virtual (web-based) and physical exhibits.

The internship offers the opportunity to gain practical experience in:

  • Research
    • Synthesis of primary and published sources
  • Exhibit Planning (team-based)
    • Storyline development and content interpretation
    • Web page design, creation, and digital storytelling
  • Public speaking (presentation to library staff upon completion of the internship)

The Reilly intern will work 40 hours per week for ten consecutive weeks. The successful candidate will work the ten-week block between June 1 – August 7, 2015. The workweek schedule offers some flexibility.

Stipend and Housing: $4,500 (no benefits included) total. The Reilly intern will be paid in bi-weekly installments to reach the total of $4,500. On-campus housing is subject to availability. For more information, please consult (.) Renting a room in the community is also a possibility. The successful candidate must be willing to relocate to Flagstaff for ten weeks and underwrite his or her own food, lodging, transportation to work, and parking.

 Qualifications: The preferred candidate will be a graduate student in information science or museum studies working toward a career in a library, museum, or archives setting. Graduate students should be currently part of a program with an anticipated completion date of August/September 2015 or later. Undergraduate (junior or senior) applied indigenous studies, geography, history, hotel and restaurant management, and anthropology students are also encouraged to apply.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Required:

  • Strong ability to write creatively while employing advanced research skills
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Familiarity with archival practice
  • Basic experience with Microsoft Office products
  • Basic understanding of web design
  • Familiarity with video and audio software tools, HTML editing, Bootstrap, and the Adobe Design Premium software suite

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Preferred:

  • Knowledge of Colorado Plateau and Southwest history
  • Demonstrated experience success creating exhibits
  • Project management experience

Application Deadline: March 06, 2015. To apply, submit the following documents to: Peter Runge, NAU Cline Library, Box 6022, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6022 or

  • Letter of application addressing your qualifications
  • Résumé or vita
  • Copy of current transcript
  • A writing sample in the form of a 250-word historical sketch of a personal life event
  • Names and contact information for three references

For more information, contact Peter Runge at or (928) 523-6502.

The mission of Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department is to collect, preserve, and make available archival materials that document the history and development of the Colorado Plateau. Interdisciplinary in nature, the collections include 7 million manuscripts, 1 million photographs, 55,000 books, 2,000 maps, and 1,300 oral histories. Learn more at .

Flagstaff is a city of 67,000 at the base of the San Francisco Peaks surrounded by the Coconino National Forest. Approximately 80 miles from Grand Canyon and 140 miles from Phoenix, Flagstaff enjoys a four-season climate at an elevation of 7,000 feet. NAU has a growing diverse student population and is committed to Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

Questions? E-mail, or call 928-523-5551.

Is it Summer yet?

So, maybe our winter here in Arizona hasn’t been as bad as other parts of the country (yet?), but the slime on the car is getting old, and skating to the back door of work on the black ice is, well, depressing.

Below, feast your eyes on Route 66 as it exited Arizona via the great suspension bridge at Topock, AZ. The date of the image is June 29, 1965, and it was taken by Fronske Studios (of Flagstaff), under contract to Arizona Department of Transportation as part of an effort to document thing subject to change with the building of I-40. It is image number NAU.PH. .


Down by the Standard gas station one can sort of make out the sign directing motorists north to Oatman (along the earlier 1926-1952 alignment of Route 66). “Change” was a relative term for Topock. The new Freeway bridges over the Colorado replaced the old suspension bridge (that now carries natural gas pipes). The main street (post-’52 Route 66) you see in the image lies beneath tons of earth that raised I-40 over Topock for a more level crossing over the Colorado. That shimmering, dream-like heat we can almost feel in the image reflects a time and a place now long-gone- much as summer feels to us right now.

The Fred Harvey exhibit (2015-16) begins to take form


The library will be posting the 2015-16 Elizabeth and P.T. Reilly Internship announcement shortly (and it will be posted here when that happens) as an official kick-off to the Fred Harvey Exhibit. Internally, our discussions have focused on using the Fred Harvey Collection housed here as the foundation for a southwest-based exploration of the business, and its impacts on the region. For us in northern Arizona, the Harvey company placed some of its most impressive facilities along the Santa Fe mainline- in close proximity to Route 66. La Posada in Winslow; the Harvey facilities at Petrified Forest/Painted Desert;  the Escalante in Ash Fork; the Havasu House in Seligman; all of the Grand Canyon facilities including El Tovar, Hermits’ Rest, Desert Tower and even at in the canyon at Phantom Ranch; the La Fonda in Santa Fe; and the facilities in Albuquerque on the railroad and at the airport all helped define for rail or road travelers what the “southwest” was all about. There were “Harvey Car” trips to various reservations to be taken, layovers in quality Harvey hotels. These places while perhaps aimed at the rail traveler initially, came to be part of Route 66 as well providing accommodations overnight and quality food for those traveling by car.


Our exhibit will probably focus on the relationship between the Harvey Company and Native cultures; architecture (especially of Mary Jane Colter); the Harvey Girls (and the motion picture by the same title); the food (we have menus, recipes and more from all across the Harvey empire); but perhaps most of all, that sense of travel, adventure, style and tourism so well defined and shaped by the Harvey Company.


I’ll report on our progress, our intern and fun stuff we find to display along the way- and anything that shows up along 66 as well!

White House Petition on Route 66 National Landmark Status

Crookton Road


Interesting enough that someone has posted a petition on the White Houses’ web site seeking “Landmark” status for Route 66 [see: ], but that the take off of support for that action has been kind of slow.

No doubt, as we’re all heading into various holidays away from work (and even away from Route 66), so that launching a petition drive now may not have been the very best of timing. Part of that slow start may also simply be that there is a logical process for such status (found on the National Park Service [NPS] website here), and in fact, getting Route 66 listed there would be a significant challenge-never mind using the petition process to circumvent the established method.

What many do not know is that the NPS already plays a significant role in Route 66 preservation, and promotion.

First, there is their Route 66: Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary  site, which is a fine examination of Route 66, and places one can visit along the way.

There is the NPS Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program site which details how individuals can get matching fund grants for preservation projects for places, buildings and signs. Their list of supported locations is long and impressive- a veritable “who’s who” of famous Route 66 buildings.

There is also the NPS Route 66 Archives and Research site. Did you know there are 10 libraries, archives and museums across the 8 Route 66 states there to help you with your Route 66 research? This link is rough, but I understand there is a new and superior cluster of web pages for this program arriving in January). This programs exists to connect researchers, travelers and students to valuable primary and secondary source material on Route 66.

So, back to the White House petition… it may never get Route 66 listed as a National Landmark (even though there are many Route 66 locations already on the National Register of Historic Places), but wouldn’t it be an amazing show of support for Route 66, and that tiny office in the NPS that works so diligently to preserve Route 66, if 100,000 people signed the petition?

Good holidays (and time off) to all!