I was driving fast on I-40, just out of Two Guns, when I spotted the huge geodesic dome of the Meteor City Trading Post. At a quick glance, it looked like the place was still in business so I turned off Exit 239 to see if I could buy some souvenirs. I needed some Christmas presents. Unfortunately, when I got closer I could see that the Trading Post was no longer trading.
The Meteor City Trading Post dates back to 1938. It was originally a rectangular, stucco-sided building. During Route 66’s heyday, there were six trading posts located between Winslow and Winona: Hopi House, Meteor City, Rimmy Jim’s, Two Guns, Toonerville and Twin Arrows. Meteor City outlived them all.
The geodesic dome replaced the original building in 1979, burned in 1990 and was replaced with the structure that is there today. Meteor City closed its doors in 2001, but was reopened shortly after when new owners revived the trading post. One of the main attractions was a 100-foot long map of the old Route 66 painted along a wall on the east side of the dome. It was done by Bob Waldmire, well-known for his Route 66 artwork. The trading post closed its doors for good on December 23 of 2012.
I pulled into the large parking area and grabbed my camera, to wander about the front of the area first. Several things immediately caught my eye and so off I traipsed, collecting photos. The teepees, the giant dream catcher, a billboard down the road and of course the huge geodesic dome that housed the trading post.
At one time, the "world's longest map" of Route 66 was painted on the fence on the east side of the building. It had been rejuvenated over the years, but is no longer present. Only this small section of fence still stands on that side of the dome, with the logo of a group that helped restore many historic landmarks along Route 66 some years ago.
The fence to the west of the dome is still intact. Driving by on I-40, it looks pretty good and made me think the place might still be open. Closer examination proved otherwise.
What might be the world's largest dreamcatcher stands where the highway ends, and is still in fairly good condition, although some of the lower strands have frayed away.
I walked west along the old road a bit, to get a picture of this old billboard.
Heading back towards the trading post, next on my agenda was to see if I could look into the building and around back.
I was quite surprised to see that the two glass front doors had been completely smashed. It saddens and amazes me the toll that can take place at spots like this in less than two years. This trading post could still be saved, I hope that someone with the funds and love of places like this will eventually take possession and restore this landmark, before it's too late.
Nearly every piece of glass in every showcase has been smashed to pieces, fixtures knocked over and empty boxes and papers strewn all about. It's a shame that things like this happen.
With all the destruction that has taken place inside the trading post, I was astonished to see this rack of brochures totally intact, upright and completely filled with brochures. I left the building and decided to walk around back to see what I could find.
There are several outbuildings and a couple of trailers out behind the dome. I would love to have seen this place back when it was in operation. I'll bet it was pretty nice.
After wandering around the back for a bit, I decided to head on out and take one last look at the front of the building before heading on my way. There are huge pieces of petrified wood on each side of the entryway to the trading post. If someone were to step in soon, I'm pretty sure this historic spot along old 66 could be saved and restored. Who knows, maybe the next time I drive by, it will be open for business once again.