Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona

Denis Begin visits a place made famous by a 1972 Eagles hit song

by Denis Begin

In mid March 2011, my wife and I were excited about visiting Winslow, Arizona. The reason is that this small city was made famous by the rock group, the Eagles and is part of our social history. In 1972, the Eagles debut single, Take It Easy went to number one on the charts. The lyrics to the song went:

I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me.

My goal was to stand on that very corner. This was not my first encounter with tracking down an Eagles song. The group’s 1976 album, Hotel California, sold 16 million records and is ranked 37th of the top 500 albums ever recorded. I had to find the Hotel California. In 2008, my wife and I drove Mexico’s Baja peninsula to Cabo San Lucas. We visited the little town of Todos Santos, where the Hotel California is located. We never found “mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice” but we did find a hotel worthy of the myth. Although the Canadian owner claimed there is no connection between the song and her hotel, as do the Eagles, the myth is better than realty.

In the early 1970s, Interstate 40 bypassed Winslow, whereas the old Route 66 went through the center of town. The result was a economic slump, with many businesses closing. After the song was released, a Standin’ on the Corner Foundation was organized in 1974 to raise money for a community project built. The committee suffered setbacks, including a fire in 2004 that destroyed a mural. But after 25 years, the Standin’ on a Corner Park was finally opened to the public.

Located in the center of town at Second Street and Kinsley Avenue, this unique little park features a bronze statue of a young man with a guitar and a two-storey mural portraying "a girl... in a flatbed Ford." The mural was painted by John Pugh and the sculpture is by Ron Adamson. The park has benches, trees, lighting and even a red flatbed Ford truck parked on the street. Individuals can purchase a brick with their name engraved on it, with the money going to the park. Every September, the city hosts a two-day Standin’ on the Corner music festival.

When we first arrived in Winslow during the late afternoon, the souvenir shop across the street was playing--what else--Take It Easy. I must admit that I stood on that very corner, but no blonde slowed down to take a look at me.

Another "fine sight to see" in Winslow is the famous La Posada Hotel. In the 1920s the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad built a series of hotels across the American southwest in an attempt to attract tourist to places like the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert. The hotels reflect the beauty of the American southwest, its culture and architecture. After a 12 million dollar renovation, the La Posada Hotel and reopened in 1997, and Winslow has once again been able to attract tourists to its downtown core.

The spirit of Winslow can also be seen in its 9-11 Remembrance Garden, a memorial honoring those killed in the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. The citizens of Winslow donated their time and money, obtaining two steel beams, 14 and 16 feet long, from the Twin Towers in New York City.

Winslow does offer other attractions, including the Meteor Crater and the Homolovi State Park ruins. Although Winslow has 10,000 people, there’s no fully-serviced RV park. Another option is to stay at the OK RV Park in Holbrook, just 26 miles down the road.

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