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.
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)