Ed Klein preserving the long-closed Ella’s Frontier Trading Post

Ed Klein, best-known for his Route 66 World website, announced he and other friends have taken steps to preserve the long-closed Ella’s Frontier Trading Post in Joseph City, Arizona.

Klein, who’s received the blessings of property owners Gary and Carolyn Rice, explains what is happening there:

Klein also received assistance from the owners of the Jackrabbit Trading Post near Joseph City, Earl’s Motor Court in Winslow and Meteor City Trading Post outside of Winslow.

“The goal is to get this thing back up, put it back, make sure its safe, make sure it’s secure and open to the public once again,” Klein says in the video.

The video shows he and other volunteers removing a 1950s back addition and a chimney, among other work.

Klein has embarked on some other preservation projects, including relighting the 66 Motel sign in Needles, California. Alas, Klein walked away from his quest to restore the Front Street Garage in Galena, Kansas, citing problems getting a deed on the property, an intractable property owner and “small-town politics” (the latter which received pushback from roadies and Galena residents).

According to Atlas Obscura, Fredrick “San Diego” Rawson built the trading post in 1927 out of telephone poles, naming it San Diego’s Old Frontier Trading Post.

Notably, one of the former owners was Don Lorenzo Hubbell, better known for the landmark Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona.

Ray and Ella Blackwell acquired the property by 1947, renaming it The Last Frontier.

It became Ella’s Frontier Trading Post after she and Ray divorced in 1955.

A former Juilliard student, Ella was an eccentric who played her piano for travelers and, in later years, imaginary people and animals. She would often claim that Ella’s Frontier was built in 1847 or 1873 (predating the very telephone poles it was made of) and proudly proclaimed it the oldest trading post on Route 66. She stuck to that story until her death in 1984.

Here’s what Ella’s looked like, shortly after it closed during the 1980s:

UPDATE: The Jackrabbit Trading Post offered more clarity about the situation in a Facebook post:

Ella’s Frontier & the sign will be saved and rebuilt at a nearby location. That location will be revealed in time.

UPDATE 2/28/2021: Klein inexplicably has made the YouTube video provide. However, Roamin’ Rich Dinkela downloaded the footage and added some commentary about the Ella’s Frontier situation.

(Vintage postcard image of Ella’s Frontier courtesy of 66Postcards.com)

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