My wife and I make at least one lengthy road trip a year to visit our two sons and their families. The trip involves traveling to and from Northern Idaho to Reno and Chicago, where our sons currently live. We vary the route a little and take the opportunity to explore areas in America in some detail.
This year we traveled along parts of historic Route 66, especially the stretch in Arizona. It was one of America's first major highways, being constructed in the 1920s. It connected Los Angeles to Chicago, including a swing through St. Louis, the route stretching 2400 miles. The advent of the Freeway system in the 1950s collapsed tourism on Route 66 as most travelers chose to travel on the faster freeways. Many of the towns struggled on and today, some 70 years later, Route 66 holds historic and nostalgic charm including old motels, gas stations, cafés and shops. Many of the towns have had their Route 66 regions recognized as historic districts, as has Seligman.
Seligman was named for Jesse Seligman, who helped finance the railroad lines in the area. Because of its flat land Seligman became a large switching yard and an important livestock shipping center.
The town underwent the boom and bust cycle described above with Route 66 traffic. The Seligman Commercial Historic District is along historic Route 66 in town, which was designated a historic highway by the state 1978. The area was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
My wife and I spent a few hours in Seligman, much of it on foot exploring the Historic District. Visiting it is like stepping back in time. Besides all the older commercial buildings, there's an interesting collection of older cars and trucks and assorted historic artifacts in town that add to the ambience.
In 1987 Seligman gained its name "Birthplace of Historic Route 66" due to the lobbying efforts of Seligman residents, who convinced the State of Arizona to designate Route 66 a historic highway. Seligman is the first stop heading west on the longest uninterrupted stretch of historic Route 66.
As you can see from the photos interspersed in the post, the town gives you a feeling of what traveling by car was like 80 years ago. We enjoyed our visit!