Route 66 in Los Angeles

by Libby Coyner

Oatman

A view of old Route 66 outside of Oatman, Arizona

A year ago, I was invited to join the National Park Service Route 66 Archives and Research Collaborative. (Yes, it’s a mouthful!) Last week, I had the enormous privilege of joining my colleagues on this project for our annual meeting at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. It was an incredible week of collaboration, strategic planning, and archives fun! Our colleagues at the Autry showed us a fantastic time, and I couldn’t wait to come home and share what I learned.

The Route 66 group is different from other archives projects I’ve worked on because it is oriented around a specific iconic piece of Americana. Route 66 has a powerful pop culture appeal, and thus offers us an opportunity to market our collections to new audiences. It also enables us to get out of our sometimes provenance-based bubble, and to actually curate our collections to tell the stories of the road. (If you didn’t read my post last year, here are some of the stories we were able to tell from Route 66: Route 66 Revisited and the Nefarious Granville Johnson).

One of my very favorite aspects of the Route 66 project is that we do spend some time traveling on the road as part of our conference. This time, my colleague Sean Evans (Cline Library, Northern Arizona University) and I traveled along large swaths of Route 66 to get to L.A., logging a staggering 14-hour day each time we traveled. We spend time shooting photographs (which have been added to archival collections), doing creative outreach and reference with people we meet along the road, and making contacts that have resulted in visits to our institutions, oral histories, and donations to the archives. On our first day, we hit Roy’s Motel in Amboy, California. Roy’s boasted some fantastic mid-century modern architecture, as well as a fabulous sign! We stopped in and spoke with a gentleman tending the front desk (Roy’s still sells gasoline and a few kitschy souvenirs), but didn’t get the impression that there’s a ton of work being done in terms of restoration. This article from 2007 suggest that Roy’s may be revived one of these days – we hope so!

Amboy

Roy’s Motel in Amboy, California

Once we were settled in Los Angeles, we gathered at the Autry Museum to get to work. There were several updates since last year, including a report on a meeting related to the Route 66 World Monument Fund. The project promises to provide funding and attention for preservation of old Route 66, as well as garner support from stakeholders along the road.

 We also worked on assessing the design and content of our website, which will be going live within the next few months! I’ll omit some of the details of the strategic planning as it isn’t wildly exciting, but I’ll share the products of our work as they emerge!

Working

The group at work at the Autry Museum

On Sunday, we were treated to a very special tour of the Autry’s brand new “Route 66: the Road and the Romance” exhibit by the exhibit curator, Jeffrey Richardson, Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms. This exhibit brings together some of the finest documents, artifacts, and ephemera related to Route 66. Among the materials on display were Jack Kerouac’s original 120-foot manuscript of On the Road, Woody Guthrie’s guitar, a page from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, what is considered the finest print in existence of Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother,” and a copy of a Green Book guide to African American travel. (If you’re not familiar with the Green Book, here is a bit of 
background
 information on some of the road’s civil rights history).

Route66Autry

The postcard for the Autry exhibit – I highly recommend attending!

OnTheRoad

Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript of On the Road

MigrantMother

Dorothea Lange’s iconic “Migrant Mother,” taken during the Great Depression. It is part of the Farm Security Administration collection at the Library of Congress.

Later on Sunday, we took to the road to talk to some community activists who have become involved in historic preservation along the road, and who are allies that help us share our collections with the world. Amy Inouye is an artist who fell in love with the delightfully kitschy “Chicken Boy” statue years ago when she first moved to Los Angeles. Amy is a designer who dedicated a lot of her own time and money to preserving Chicken Boy, and even moved him to the site of her new studio in Highland Park, where he can continue to watch over Route 66. She integrates historic images of Chicken Boy into her products, including books, postcards, mugs, etc. She works closely with the Highland Park Conservancy to ensure that the history of Route 66 is preserved, including restoration of original neon signs, preservation of buildings, and public art projects including murals and mosaics that present the history of the place to everyone who passes. Amy is a great example of how community members and history-oriented folks can work together to share the history of Route 66 with a new generation!

ChickenBoy2

Chicken Boy keeps watch over the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, an original stop along Route 66.

ChickenBoy

Amy talks with the Route 66 group in her studio about how artists, community activists, historic preservationists, and even archivists can work together to share the history of Route 66 with a new generation. Stop and see her if you’re in the neighborhood!

On Monday, we were treated to another surprise when we got to visit the Disney Imagineering Archives, and meet one of the artists who created Cars Land (based on the Route 66 Disney Pixar film, Cars). Perhaps the piece that attracted the most attention was the original drawing of Disneyland that was taken to New York to pitch the idea to the banks. We also saw the second drawing of Disneyland, which was painted with black light paint to show off how the theme park would look at night!!Disneyland

 On Tuesday, Sean and I hit the road back to Arizona, but made sure to do some sight-seeing along Route 66! We drove through Kingman, Seligman, and even took a tour of Oatman to see some of the scenery that is visible in Disney’s Cars. We even made some new friends!

Sean_Burr

Sean provides some reference services to a new friend we met along the road.

 

Happy National Bike to Work Day!

This morning, lots of bicycle commuters in Phoenix enjoyed a commute to work in the lovely 75 degree weather! Among them were several ladies in dresses on bikes. But ladies on bikes is not a new phenomenon in Arizona! We dug into our photograph collections and discovered that 120 years ago, Gertrude Hughes, daughter of Territorial Governor L.C. Hughes, had this photo taken with her bicycle. Gertrude was a professor of English at the University of Arizona. She learned to ride her Columbia Bicycle at the Columbia Bicycle Riding School in Boston, Massachusetts. Way to go, Gertrude! 97-689797-6897 verso

Meet Arizona’s Territorial Governors

Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) – History at Your Fingertips

-Guest Post from Christopher Sloan of the ADNP 

The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) is endeavoring to bring the colorful and highly informative historic Arizona newspapers and their relationship to Territorial politics to an interactive exhibit in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The exhibit, which opens April 26, 2014, will provide users with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the resources provided through the ADNP website and get a deeper look at the political lives of some of the Territorial Governors.

Newspapers and politics were nearly inseparable in Territorial Arizona.  If newspapersweren’t out-and-out owned by a political actor, they were often owned by a close associate and had a clear, partisan bent.  They did not just endorse candidates for office; newspapers could be the key to making or breaking a politician’s career.  Despite their sometimes libelous content, they were the only sources for information on the workings of their government that Arizonans had. They carried news on legislation, speeches and proclamations, and the comings and goings of elected officials as they traveled the territory…

DSC_6405

Richard Elihu Sloan, b. June 22, 1857, d. December  14, 1933

Richard Elihu Sloan was the final Territorial Governor of Arizona, relinquishing control to George W.P. Hunt on Valentine’s Day, 1912 – when Arizona was accepted as the 48th State. Sloan was born in Morning Sun Ohio, lived for a period of time in Colorado, and finally moved to Phoenix in 1884, where he practiced law and became an active member of the Republican Party. His legal and political careers took off soon afterwards, serving as the County Attorney for Pinal County, delegate to the Republican National Convention, and member of the Council of the fifteenth Territorial Legislature. By 1890, Sloan had been appointed Associate Justice of the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court, serving on the federal bench longer than any other judge in the Territory.

SloanBioAZRepublican1911-11-06

 

Sloan was appointed as Territorial Governor in 1909 by President William H. Taft. At this point, statehood was expected and in 1910, no Territorial Legislature was elected. The Enabling Act (enabling Arizona to become a state) was signed by President Taft in June of 1910, and Governor Sloan immediately moved to create an Arizona Constitutional Convention made up of fifty-two elected delegates. Governor Sloan saw the potential problems that the majority-Democratic Constitutional Convention could encounter and warned delegates that they “must exercise extreme caution, especially when it came to initiative and referendum… emphasizing that either could cause Congress or the president to reject Arizona’s state constitution.”[1] The Arizona Constitutional Convention met from October 10 until December 9, 1910 and the Constitution they created was voted up by the people of the Territory on February 9, 1911.

ConstitutionConAZRepublican1910-12-05

 

As Governor Sloan had predicted, Congress and the President refused to ratify Arizona’s new Constitution until a provision allowing for the recall of judges was removed. This unusual delay in statehood caused Sloan to be granted the legislative powers to make appropriations and to levy taxes. The provision was finally removed and the Constitution was approved August 22, 1911.

RecallFatalWeeklyJournal-Miner1911-08-23

Governor Sloan then called a special election, and on February 14, 1912 he left the office to the Governor of the new State of Arizona, George Wylie Paul Hunt – the wildly popular (and populist) Democrat who would be re-elected to six additional terms in office.

Though he was respected enough by a number of elected officials, from Presidents to Governors, he was not popular with all of them. He quarreled famously with Governor Lewis Wolfley over the appointment of one of Wolfley’s enemies to clerk of the court and later ruled against Wolfley’s business interests. Wolfley, in turn, went against popular sentiment and opposed Sloan’s appointment as a circuit judge.

Governor Sloan pursued his legal career after his governorship ended, being nominated by President Taft to be the first U.S. District Court Judge for the State of Arizona and continuing to practice law, and representing Arizona at the Colorado River Compact in 1922. Governor Sloan’s other passion was history and his greatest accomplishment as an amateur historian was as supervisory editor of the four-volume History of Arizona in 1930. Governor Sloan passed away in Phoenix, now capital of the State of Arizona, on December 14, 1933.

Special thanks to the Arizona Memory Project for use of material from the collection of Territorial Governor Portraits by William Besser (http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/acmterr) For more information about Arizona’s territorial governors and much, much more, please visit: Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/

NEHlogo

LoClogo

 

 

ASLAPR logowtitle-2

[1] Hayostek, Cindy. “Douglas Delegates to the 1910 Constitutional Convention and Arizona’s Progressive Heritage”

 The Journal of Arizona History, Vol. 47, No. 4 (winter 2006) p. 352.

Happy National Library Week!

Image

In honor of National Library Week this week, we decided to share some gems from our own collection, the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records collection. Did you know our agency used to have a bookmobile? And that you could ride your horse right up and borrow a book? These gems were taken between 1958 and 1968. Be sure to stop by and enjoy your local library this week, whether you get there by car, by foot, by bike, or by horse!!

Bookmobile

Photo collage courtesy of Wendi Goen

Welcome to the Archives, Wonderful Little Photo Album!

One of our most heavily-researched subjects in the State Archives is Arizona water (or lack thereof). Sometimes it is attorneys working on current stream adjudication issues, sometimes it is professors in town from all over the country looking through the history of Western water issues. We’re very fortunate to have rich resources among several collections – governor’s records, Department of Water Resources, etc. This week, we added something to our holdings that adds a deeper context to our records, and provides beautiful documentation of an important period in our water history.

Dam book

Photo courtesy of Wendi Goen.

John Bloom came for a tour of the Archives several months ago with a genealogy group from Tucson, and decided to return to do some genealogical research. This time, he brought a beautiful bound photograph book detailing the construction of the Gillespie Dam around 1920, and generously donated it to the State Archives for permanent preservation. Not only is the book beautifully-preserved, but it contains wonderful descriptive information on people involved in the project, dates, etc. For archivists, this is like having Christmas come early!!

Dam Collage

A selection of photographs from the Gillespie Dam photo album. Collage courtesy of Wendi Goen.

John tells us that he doesn’t recall exactly how his family acquired the book, though it was gifted from a friend of the family, and has been among their possessions since he was a child. He remarks, “I’ve had it all these years in my closet. I used to love looking at the pictures as a kid.” We are so delighted that John valued this book enough to care for it all of these years, and that he recognized that it is such an important part of Arizona history that it should be shared with the residents of the state. We look forward to making it digitally available through the Arizona Memory Project, and adding it to our rich water records of the State of Arizona!

Dam donation

Photo Courtesy of Wendi Goen.

Meet Arizona’s Territorial Governors – Nathan Murphy

Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) – History at Your Fingertips

-Guest Post from Christopher Sloan of the ADNP

DSC_6375

Nathan Oakes Murphy
(b. October 14, 1849, d. August 22, 1908)

Newspapers and politics were nearly inseparable in Territorial Arizona.  If newspapers weren’t out-and-out owned by a political actor, they were often owned by a close associate and had a clear, partisan bent.  They did not just endorse candidates for office; newspapers could be the key to making or breaking a politician’s career.  Despite their sometimes libelous content, they were the only sources for information on the workings of their government that Arizonans had. They carried news on legislation, speeches and proclamations, and the comings and goings of elected officials as they traveled the territory. 

The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) is endeavoring to bring these colorful and highly informative papers and their relationship to Territorial politics to an exhibit in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The exhibit will provide users with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the resources provided through the ADNP website and get a deeper look at the political lives of some of the Territorial Governors…

Nathan Oakes Murphy was both the tenth and the fourteenth Territorial Governor of Arizona. Murphy served as the Territorial Secretary under Governor John Irwin, and successfully petitioned President Benjamin Harrison to appoint him Territorial Governor after Irwin left the office because of family business obligations in Iowa in 1892. Murphy served less than a year because incoming Democratic President Grover Cleveland replaced him with a Democrat, Louis C. Hughes. Murphy was appointed governor again by President William McKinley in 1898, and this time served until 1902. He resigned amid allegations of defrauding the Territory, to make way for his friend, Alexander O. Brodie.

Murphy’s accomplishments as governor included an unsuccessful bid for Arizona’s statehood to Congress at a time when Republicans in Washington were looking for any reason to deny entry to a majority Democratic state, and risk the possibility of tipping the scales.

RepublicanMurphyStatehood1893-02-10

In his 1893 address to the legislature, he spends much of his verbiage on increasing territorial revenue through the possibility of convict leasing for projects outside of the walls of the Territorial Prison at Yuma; and better and more complete taxation, with the exception of railroads, which should be exempt from taxation to encourage their development (Needless to say, Murphy had considerable investment in Arizona’s railroads).[1] Murphy also had the distinction of being the first governor in the new Capitol Building in Phoenix in 1901, a building which was supposed to represent Arizona’s readiness for statehood.

CoconinoCapitolBuilding1901-02-23


Murphy was a business man and a booster for Arizona. He was involved with his brother, Frank Murphy, in the Santa Fe, Prescott, and Phoenix Railroad, as well as having his hands in several mining operations. Frank Murphy also became the owner of the Arizona Republican after Clark Churchill passed away. While there is no doubt that this must have proved beneficial for Murphy, it also played a major role in his undoing as governor. The January 30, 1902 Bisbee Daily Review outlines the charges against Murphy.  The third charge they level is that Oakes Murphy has “caused to be paid during his term, many thousands of dollars to the ‘Arizona Republican’” which is “either actually or virtually owned by himself or brother, Frank M. Murphy…” This and the other two charges, according to the Daily Review of April 25, 1902, were “investigated by President Roosevelt” and Murphy was found “to be blameless.” Four days before this had been printed, Murphy had tendered his resignation.

BisbeeReviewMurphyCharges1902-01-30


 

Murphy spent the remainder of his life engaged in a variety of business ventures (as evidenced by a number of articles of incorporation printed in Arizona newspapers) and traveling with his second wife. Below is a legal advertisement for the articles of incorporation for a corporation which would “organize and maintain corporations under the laws of the Territory of Arizona”:

RepublicanMurphyArticles1904-12-19

 

 

Murphy died suddenly in 1908 and his final resting place is the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Special thanks to the Arizona Memory Project for use of material from the collection of Territorial Governor Portraits by William Besser (http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/acmterr) For more information about Arizona’s territorial governors and much, much more, please visit: Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/

NEHlogo LoClogo

 

 

 

[1] Nathan O. Murphy “Biennial Message of N. O. Murphy, Governor of Arizona, to the Seventeenth Legislative Assembly, February 14th, 1893), Arizona Memory Project, http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/statepubs/id/12471/rec/4 (accessed 10 Feb. 2014).

Happy Five Years, Arizona State Archives Building!

main1.jpg

It’s been a wonderful five years here in the Polly Rosenbaum Building!

IMG_8778

Even over here on the “wrong side of the tracks,” the building is such a welcoming sight for staff and visitors alike.

IMG_8771

But even after five years, we haven’t forgotten the big rigs!

1010080845

Before the volumes were on the shelves…

1006081317

There was the assembly…

1006081317a

The unpacking…

1010080840

The wiring…

BuildingSide

And before there was the lovely 1901 W. Madison…

Polly

There was a spitfire named Polly Rosenbaum, Arizona Legislator, who championed the construction of this building.

Polly-Rosenbaum-front-elevation

(She still holds a pretty special place of honor here).

Thanks to colleagues, patrons, supporters, and friends, for continuing to make this building such a treasure for the State of Arizona! Happy five year anniversary…we’re looking forward to many anniversaries to come!