Hackberry Visitors Center and Museum, Arizona
I'd never heard of Hackberry, Arizona until I happened to see a photograph in a magazine of what I thought was an old abandoned gas station with a red-and-white '57 Corvette parked in front of the pumps.
There was something alluring about the place, but there was no information with the photo except the location: Hackberry, Arizona on Route 66. I immediately added it to my list of "gotta-go-there" places.
On a recent trip out west, my husband, Myles, and I made it a point to cut off of I-40 in northwest Arizona and take the Route 66 loop from Kingman to Seligman. After 25 miles, we found ourselves in Hackberry, a semi-ghost town.
The gas station I'd seen turned out to be the Hackberry General Store, Visitors Center and Museum. And it was even better than I could've imagined.
Built in 1934, the store is owned by John and Kerry Pritchard. As they were cruising Route 66 about 4 years ago in the Corvette that's now parked outside the station, they saw the store, pulled over and bought it. You see, they'd been collecting old gas pumps, metal signs, cars, trucks and other memorabilia, and this provided the perfect place to display it all.
John and Kerry sell antiques, reproductions of vintage metal signs, hats, T-shirts, maps, books, postcards, candy and soda pop. And John will even throw in all the information you want about the area for free.
We learned that Hackberry was a gold- and silver-mining town in the 1800s and a cattle town in the 1900s, with a population of about 1,000. But like many other small towns, it started to fade away when the interstates (I-40, in this case) effectively started to replace Route 66.
Today the Hackberry General Store is alive and well. Whether you are a Route 66 buff or not, taking a detour off the interstate to see this nostalgic attraction is definitely worthwhile.
Before You Visit...Hackberry is on Route 66, about 25 miles northeast of Kingman, which is on I-40, about 145 miles west of Flagstaff. For information, write to the Hackberry General Store, Old Route 66, Hackberry AZ 8641.
More to See...The town of Oatman, where live burros roam the street, was featured on page 16 of the May/June 2001 issue of Country Discoveries. It's about 25 miles southwest of Kingman on Route 66. For details, contact the Oatman-Gold Road Chamber of Commerce at 1-928/768-6222.
The historic Snow Cap drive-in diner in Seligman, about 60 miles east of Hackberry on Route 66, was featured on page 29 of the Jan/Feb issue.