Sign at Jack Rabbit Trading Post gets a face-lift

The co-owners of the historic Jack Rabbit Trading Post near Joseph City, Arizona, announced Friday they had completed a restoration of the west side of the business’ iconic “Here It Is” sign.

In a Facebook post, the owners said the 27-day project “took longer than expected,” but they dealt with rain and wind a few days. Co-owners Tony and Cindy Jaquez detailed the ongoing face-lift of the sign on Facebook.

The post Friday stated, in part:

 As you all know this sign has been here since 1949. It was a huge project. Thanks to Facebook we have realised the big following we have. Thanks to all of your kind words & support. It makes it all worthwhile. We hope everybody knows this is truly a labor of love. We dedicate this to all of you “our fans”! I hope people know this isn’t just a photo op but about all of the people who live on this route trying to keep it alive. Its who we are. THANK YOU!

On June 7, shortly after the sign project began, the business posted:

Most of the outer boards are original. Meaning most of the boards were the same ones that were put there in 1949. We have had to replace some thru the yrs. We have repainted it many times since the beginning. The most work has been on the underneath to reinforce those original boards so they wouldn’t have to be replaced. It is not an easy job but it is part of who we are. Like it or not. I hope this old sign will be here for many yrs to come.

The Jacquezes said in a text the sign’s west side had been last repainted four or five years ago. They repainted the east-side “Here It Is” two years ago.

A sign clearly inspired by the Jack Rabbit’s is featured in the 2006 Disney-Pixar animated film “Cars.” A nearly identical sign also may be seen at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

James Taylor built the Jack Rabbit Trading Post along U.S. 66 in 1949. Legends of America has this history behind the business:

In the beginning, Taylor bought an asphalt-shingled shack that had formerly been used as a snake farm and then he turned out all the snakes, much to the alarm of several area residents. Soon, he began to revamp the building, with dancing chiefs painted on the front, 30 twelve inch jack rabbits hopping along the roofline, and a large rabbit painted on one side of the building. He then installed a three-foot high, composition jackrabbit with yellow eyes, just inside the door to welcome the many tourists stopping by. Many an old time traveler can tell a story of having their picture taken atop this rabbit when they were a child. Inside, the counters and shelves were lined with pieces of petrified wood, turquoise jewelry, and Indian souvenirs.

But owning a Trading Post in those days just wasn’t enough. Dotting the highway, they were a dime a dozen and competing with the nearby Geronimo Trading Post, with its visual pulling power of large decorative teepees, Taylor had to do something more.

And, something more he did! Joining forces with Wayne Troutner, owner of the For Men Only Store in Winslow, the pair traveled Route 66 to Springfield, Missouri plastering billboards all along the way. Hopping rabbits paired up with a dancing cowgirl for more than 1,000 miles, enticing travelers to stop at the Jackrabbit and the Men’s Only Store in Winslow. After all those miles, travelers couldn’t miss the huge yellow sign that simply said “Here It Is” paired with its famous jackrabbit icon.

Glen Blansett bought the business in 1967 and passed it on to his son and daughter-in-law. They eventually sold it to their daughter and son-in-law, the Jaquezes.

(Image of the restored west side of the “Here It Is” sign at Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, Arizona, via Facebook)

4 thoughts on “Sign at Jack Rabbit Trading Post gets a face-lift

  1. Whenever I pass through there, I stop. If they are open, I make a point of buying some t-shirts. I’d suggest that anyone who likes this place do the same…maybe not t-shirts, but something. Without income, places like this go away. Please support the Route 66 businesses that you like, so that they will survive well into the future.

  2. I stop there every summer on the way from California to Gallup. It really feels like 1949 days are back. Glad to see they are active in maintaining it.

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