Painted Desert Trading Post group selling T-shirts to help pay for Phase III work

The Route 66 Co-op is selling a new batch of limited-edition T-shirts to help pay for costs related to Phase III of the Painted Desert Trading Post stabilization project.

The front of the T-shirt features a design by a longtime roadie and graphic artist, Shellee Graham. The back contains the “Cold Drinks” lettering that still exists on one of the building’s outside walls.

The front of the Route 66 Co-op’s limited-edition T-shirt.
Detail of the back of the Route 66 Co-op’s limited-edition T-shirt.

As of Thursday night, 43 of the allotted 100 shirts had been purchased. They can be purchased here.

The cooperative is a 501c3 nonprofit group, so remaining proceeds from the T-shirt sales go directly to cover materials and labor for the Route 66 landmark’s preservation. So far, the group and other volunteers have shored up sagging walls, installed a new roof and poured a new concrete foundation.

The work already done likely has added many years to the life of the structure. Without intervention, the Painted Desert Trading Post likely would have collapsed within a few years.

Jim Ross, a member of the Route 66 Co-op, said in a Facebook discussion the group will return to the Painted Desert Trading Post site in eastern Arizona so a professional craftsman can finish stucco work.

He said after that, the “heavy lifting will be over” but there will be “a lot of odds and ends that we would like to deal with, but it will happen over time.”

Ross added that Phase III mostly was completed several weeks ago, but the time gap between Phase II and Phase III was so short, the organization didn’t have time to put together another T-shirt fundraiser.

The Route 66 Co-op last year also received a $20,000 cost-share grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program for the stabilization project.

Dotch Windsor and his first wife, Alberta, opened the Painted Desert Trading Post along Route 66 during the early 1940s. Even along the Mother Road at the time, it was a remote outpost with no electricity or telephone service. Gravity pumps dispensed the fuel.

It closed in the late 1950s after being bypassed. The Painted Desert Trading Post, which sits about a mile north of Interstate 40, remains inaccessible except for a locked gate. Those who wish to visit the trading post via Pinta Road can use these instructions to unlock the road’s main gate. More instructions about visiting the trading post may be found with this video.

(Images of the limited-edition Painted Desert Trading Post T-shirts via Custom Ink)

4 thoughts on “Painted Desert Trading Post group selling T-shirts to help pay for Phase III work

  1. It’s a shame it doesn’t reference route 66 or the route 66 shield anywhere on the T-shirt

  2. You make a good point, but the design is really about the Painted Desert Trading Post in Arizona. It’s the third shirt in a series dedicated to helping preserve one of the icons / true relics of Old Highway 66.

  3. Hello Ron! Thank you so very much for your great article regarding the Phase III shirt for the Painted Desert Trading Post. The shirts have become a tangible way for 66ers all over the world to become part of the solution in preserving this wonderful icon of the Mother Road. It’s great fun to see people that I don’t even know supporting this fundraiser. The Route 66 Co-Op was established as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit to save the PDTP. That is the sole mission. We’ll need money to pay for the stucco work, screens for the windows, and down the road we may have interpretive signage inside the building. Many Thanks to you and all of the Route 66 community for helping the Painted Desert Trading Post!

  4. Great project! We recently restored stucco for a building in downtown Houston, TX (see a picture here: and know the inherent challenges in restoring antique structures. One has to appreciate the foundation restoration work and shoring that had to be done before even thinking about re-plastering. Good luck with the project!

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