Volunteers recently spent a few days performing stucco repairs to the long-abandoned Painted Desert Trading Post building in eastern Arizona before winter sets in.
When the group returns in the spring, it’ll finish the stucco work, then Route 66 artist and researcher Jerry McClanahan eventually will repaint the faded letters on the building.
Mike Ward wrote in a Facebook post on the Route 66 Painted Desert Trading Post page:
McJerry is getting closer to determining the size, shape and location of all of the letters that used to be painted on the building. It’s a tedious, time-consuming process but Jerry is more than up to the task. It’s very interesting to see the outlines of letters that have mostly faded away over the years come back to life. The difficult areas are the ones where the original stucco has fallen off the building, taking the letters that had been painted on the stucco with it. This is where imagination and ingenuity come into play. […]
Just like the previous five work trips since the Painted Desert Trading Post Co-Op was formed, this one has been quite successful and fulfilling. The end is in sight and all of the co-op members hope that visitors in the future appreciate and enjoy the work that we have done out in the Eastern Arizona Desert.
This postcard of the Painted Desert Trading Post when it was open will give you an idea on what the crew is hoping to eventually accomplish:
More may be seen and read on the Facebook page here.
Here’s one post from the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona about the trading post and work session:
One notable occurrence during the multi-days work session was an appearance by the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. The Weinermobile had made several stops on Route 66 starting in Amarillo and heading west.
The Route 66 Co-op purchased the decaying site a few years ago, cleared rubbish from the interior, shored up the foundation and structure, then replaced the roof. It also erected a fence to keep grazing cattle from disturbing the site. The Route 66 Co-op received a $20,000 cost-share grant from the now-defunct Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program for many of those efforts.
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 then, it was a remote outpost with no electricity or telephone service. Gravity pumps dispensed fuel.
It closed by the late 1950s after being bypassed. The Painted Desert Trading Post, several miles from 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.
(Old image of the Painted Desert Trading Post courtesy of 66Postcards.com)