Winslow’s Famous Corner: The Early Days (Part 2)

Last week in Part One of the Winslow History Series, we explored how a small group of citizens banded together and fought for Winslow after the I-40 bypass. And now we continue with the history behind Winslow’s Famous Corner…

Part Two: The Corner of 2nd & Kinsley Ave

One spring day in the mid-90s, Old Trails Museum Director Janice Griffith and Winslow Council Member Bert Peterson were standing in the doorway of the museum watching the cold ash of the burned Kaufman building at 2nd Street and Kinsley swirl in the wind.

We both knew that something needed to be done, downtown was a wreck and the remains of a burnt building certainly didn’t help.

Bert Peterson
Burned building on Winslow's famous Corner before the park.

They came up with a perfect solution for this key intersection in Winslow.

A Park.

A definitive place for people to Stand on a Corner in Winslow Arizona.

Empty lot where Winslow's Famous Corner now sits

We thought the oddly narrow lot could become a park much easier and much quicker than it would support any sort of new construction.

Bert Peterson
Empty lot where Winslow's Famous Corner

Before we get into how the burned lot turned into a worldwide attraction, let‘s first look at the history of the corner at 2nd and Kinsley Ave.

Winslow's Famous Corner back in the 1950s

The Building on the Corner

According to a Winslow Mail article written by Juanita Walters in 1992, the building was constructed around 1890.

Winslow's Famous Corner in the late 1880s as Daggs Mercantile

Mr. Rand first opened a Mercantile selling canned fruits, sugar, flour, and other household goods, and a short time later partnered with William Dagg “an enterprising merchant” who owned the business outright by 1896 and ran the Mercantile for more than thirty years.

Early twentieth Century of Winslow's Famous Corner as Dagg's department store

Even before the park existed, the corner was the hub of activity in Winslow.

Standin on a Corner
“My dad Leroy Kenna on the corner in 1947. He said he could not wait to stand on the corner and have a soda at the drug store after serving on a carrier in the Pacific during World War II.” — Lawrence Kenna, from Winslow AZ News Facebook Page

Children would stop and get penny candy on their way home from the theater, people would sidle up to the soda fountain and get caught up with town activities.

Winslow Drug at Winslow's Famous Corner

Winslow’s Famous Corner Where Memories were Made

Winslow Drug Postcard of Winslow's Famous Corner

Bert Peterson has fond memories of Winslow Drug, owned by Fred Robinson. He’d meet his mother at the long soda counter with names carved into it for a Coke. He remembers getting a bow and arrow for his birthday one year.

We couldn’t figure out how to work it so took it back to Freddie who shot it across the store.

Bert Peterson

The Soda Fountain Days

So many Winslow residents have memories associated with this building, like these shared on the Winslow AZ News Facebook Page:

I went there with my grandma Baca! For a soda, best times.

Yvonne Sandoz

My first BLT and potato chips at the counter with a soda in a coke glass, of course it was coke! My sister took me to lunch after looking around in JC Penny’s next door

Gloria Charley

My first job working at the soda fountain.

Anita Davis Henling

Miss those 5 cent cokes, hopin’ to sit next to an “early ‘60s babe.” Their first names were Sylvia, Dianne, Barbara, Bambi, Katherine, Wilma, etc. Forgot their last names.

Jerry Sanchez

Worked for Freddie as a delivery boy, and cleaned up after the store closed.

John Martin

Used to go in and get great .25 cent chocolate sundaes.

Tom Prosser

I remember working there as a teenager at the soda fountain. And anyone could go back and use the phone by the pharmacy for free. It was So cool.

Elin Perry

I remember it when it was the drug store. A real treat was getting something at the soda counter. When I was a kid we referred to the drug store as “Freddie’s.”

Fred Santesteban

They had the best egg salad sandwiches and vanilla cokes!

Jacque Allen Larson

Loved ordering potatoes chips, dill pickle and coke at the Walgreens counter – think all was a quarter and basket of chips was huge. Their tuna sandwich was really good too. The teen girls went inside and the teen guys hung out front on Saturdays.

Chris Castillo

This how I remember Winslow Drug. My first ever job was there cleaning and delivering on my bike.

Pete Henderson

I recall sitting on one of these seats with my folks sipping shakes & planning our shopping day!!!

Dolly Chauvin

I remember having a ice cream floats my first so good. And the floor was black and white squares. I wish I could see pictures of the inside cause I remember how nice the back of the soda bar was and the huge mirror.♥️

Josephine Gonzales

When Winslow Drug closed, the old ten-gallon ice cream machine so many people remember was donated to the U of A Museum of Pharmacy and for years sat in the museum’s lobby.

Winslow's Famous Corner in the 1940s

The Fire

On January 11th, 1992, a fire broke out at the Catch Pen Western Wear Store in the famous corner building that had created so many lasting memories.

“Now all that remains of the beautiful early architecture is a heap of rubble which will soon be cleared away, leaving an empty spot in the city and an empty spot in our hearts.”

Juanita Walters, Winslow Mail January 17, 1992

And that brings us back around to when Janice Griffith and Bert Peterson stood in the doorway of the Old Trails Museum and had an inspiration to create a park.

But first, the foundation had to come up with a plan.

Next Up…

Part Three: Turning a Dream into a Reality

Until next time…

Take it Easy

Missed Part One? CLICK HERE!

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  • Lonney Fergus Jr

    I grew up in Winslow , my Dad was very active in keeping Winslow active. He worked at the Base ball field, the signs at each end of town welcome to Winslow. The Christmas parade each year. My mother worked at the Chamber of Commerce and was involved with activities on the Indian reservation. I graduated from high school in 1956 and later went to work on the Santa Fe.

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