For Route 66 enthusiasts, Seligman is the heart and soul of the Route 66 travel experience. Founded in 1896 as a connecting point of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, Seligman soon became a key stop along the line, boasting a beautiful Harvey House. From its arrival in the late 1920s, the community of Seligman welcomed Route 66 wholeheartedly. Over the years, the railroad and tourist traffic became Seligman’s main source of economic security. Then in February 1978, Seligman was bypassed by Interstate 40 and the cars stopped coming. Just seven years later the Santa Fe Railroad eliminated its Seligman operation. Seligman used these setbacks as a catalyst to make a name for itself. In 1987, Seligman gained its name “Birthplace of Historic Route 66” due to the efforts of Seligman residents, most notably Angel Delgadillo (see below), the Seligman barber who convinced the State of Arizona to dedicate Route 66 a historic highway. This grassroots effort to bring Route 66 back not only revitalized Seligman but it also caused world-wide interest in Route 66 and the old-fashioned Americana that it represents.
Angel & Vilma’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop
In 1987, Seligman barber Angel Delgadillo and his wife, Vilma, led a crusade to bring back Route 66 as a historic highway to bring business back to the small forgotten towns along Route 66. As interest in the cause and Route 66 nostalgia grew, they stared selling a few pieces of Route 66 memorabilia out of their pool hall & barber shop to fund their cause. By doing so they inadvertently established the first Route 66 gift shop in existence. Now, because of their success, there are Route 66 gift shops from Chicago to Santa Monica. But this is where it all began! A charming historic landmark, Angel & Vilma’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop is a must stop on your Route 66 travels.