Holbrook, Arizona was founded in 1881 and located in the NE part of the state. It is the county seat for Navajo Country and I recently discovered that this quiet little stop along the 40 Freeway was not always so serene. In fact, history shows it once as violent as its SE counterpart, Tombstone, and boasts of an equally deadly shoot out in its streets.
Navajo County was known for its railroad, lumber, farm and ranch businesses as well as trade with the Indians. It also attracted cowboys and criminals chased out of Texas and other areas of the country. Holbrook became a typical Wild West town with brothels, saloons, and gambling houses. It was once said Holbrook was “too tough for women and churches”.
In 1898, Navajo County erected a new courthouse that would be the site of several notorious trials through the years. The basement of the courthouse housed the Sheriff’s office and jail cells. The cells were built in St Louis, Missouri and shipped to Holbrook via railroad flatcars. These small dark cells were in continuous use for the next 78 years.
Navajo County Sheriff's office
Holbrook Fire and Police Departments
Petrified Forest National Park is located 28 miles (45 km) east of Holbrook, the nearest city to the park.
At the Wigwam Motel along U.S. Route 66, visitors can take the chance to bunk down in a wigwam.The Historic Navajo County Courthouse and Museum in Downtown Holbrook. Built in 1898, the courthouse is now home to the Navajo County Historical Society and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wigwam Motel on Hopi Drive. Built in 1950, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as Wigwam Village #6.
Historic U.S. Route 66 runs through Holbrook.
Bucket of Blood Street was named the sixth wackiest street name according to a 2006 poll
The new courthouse jail was holding a murderer named George Smiley. He had been convicted of having killed a railroad section foreman and sentenced to hang December 8, 1899. Arizona law required that the county sheriff send “invitations” of executions to the other Arizona sheriffs and territorial officials. Sheriff Frank Wattron issued a “novel” invitation professionally printed on gilt-bordered paper. The invitation eventually ended up in the hands of President McKinley who wired the Arizona governor. Smiley received a reprieve of 30 days from his execution and a reprimand was issued to Wattron.
There are more than a few closed down hotels around town.
Holbrook Volunteer Fire Sta
Route 66 gas station
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