Peach Springs Trading Post
Peach Springs, Arizona
The Peach Springs Trading Post is at 863 Highway 66 in Peach
Springs, AZ and is used as offices for the Hualapai Tribal
Forestry, Wildlife Conservation, and Game and Fish.
Peach Springs lies within the
traditional territory of the Hualapai people. The springs were
reliable water sources that were used by American Indians for
centuries. Euro-Americans became aware of the springs
during explorations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Beginning in 1858, emigrants along the Beale Wagon Road
increasingly used Peach Springs as a rest stop and watering
Events of the post-Civil War era had a profound
effect on Peach Springs. In 1866, the U.S. government granted
the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (later known as the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe) a right-of-way to build a transcontinental
railroad, and construction through northern Arizona was
completed in 1883. With its abundant water, Peach Springs became
a "division point" for the railroad.
A lively railroad
town sprouted along the tracks at Peach Springs. A post office
was established in 1887. The ease of access to the Grand Canyon
via Peach Springs led to the construction of a "Harvey House"
restaurant and hotel for tourists. The initial period of
prosperity lasted for approximately two decades.
turn of the century, the railroad constructed the Santa Fe and
Grand Canyon Railway via Williams to the Grand Canyon. The
decline in tourist traffic through Peach Springs led to a
decline in the town. In 1907, the railroad moved its division
point to Seligman, leaving Peach Springs as only a minor stop
along the tracks.
With the "Good Roads" movement of the
1910s came the National Old Trails Road, which led to a new era
of prosperity for the town. By 1917, E. H. Carpenter opened a
trading post. In 1921, his friend Ancel Early Taylor bought a
half interest in the store, and by 1924 Taylor was the sole
owner of the Peach Springs Trading Post. In 1926, the National
Old Trails Road became part of Route 66. With the widening and
improving of the road, traffic through the town steadily
increased. Taylor’s trading post business boomed, and two years
later he razed the frame store and constructed a new stone
building to house the trading post.
The 1928 Peach Tree
Trading Post had stone walls, stepped parapets, heavy Ponderosa
Pine vigas (exposed beams), and massive chimneys. Rocks were
hauled from a spot on the side of a nearby hill, and pine logs
were brought from the forest in the northeast part of the
reservation. The building’s appearance reflects a blending of
prehistoric and historic southwestern architectural styles,
likely designed to appeal more to Route 66 tourists than to the
surrounding Hualapai Tribe it also served.
Springs Trading Post enabled the Hualapai to swap traditional
craft items, like baskets, and food for canned foods, cloth,
medicine, and other processed goods. Occasionally the Hualapai
also pawned items, redeeming them if they were able or leaving
them for eventual sale. The Peach Tree Trading Post did a brisk
business selling crafts to tourists passing through on Route 66
and the Santa Fe Railroad. The trading post linked American
Indians and European American cultures, and served as a local
meeting place for news and gossip and medical help. New
owners bought the Peach Springs Trading Post in 1936 and
continued to operate it in similar ways.
Tribe acquired the Peach Springs Trading Post circa 1950, and
continued to use it as a post office and store until 1965 when
the post office moved to a new building. In the early 1970s,
after the construction of a new tribal store in Peach Springs,
the old trading post became office space for the Job Corps. Soon
after, the new Interstate 40 between Kingman and Seligman
bypassed the 84-mile stretch of Route 66 that had passed through
One local business owner recalled,
“Before the bypass, Route 66 was almost like a Big City street.
After completion of Interstate 40, it was ghostly quiet.” That’s
why Peach Springs, Arizona served as an inspiration for the
fictional town Radiator Springs in the Pixar movie Cars, which
depicts the losses that it and many other cities along Route 66
faced after they were bypassed by Interstate 40. The Peach
Springs Trading Post was listed in the National Register of
Historic Places in 2003.