Standin' on the Corner Park
Is a passing mention in a 40+ year old rock song lyric cause for civic celebration? In Winslow it sure is. When the Eagles first decided to "Take it Easy" in a song (co-written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne), the reference to "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona" was just a catchy almost-rhyme.
But the song has endured on classic rock radio, a sleepytime anthem for aimless 1970s wandering. In 1999, the town of Winslow put the finishing touches on their "Standin' on the Corner" Park. The downtown corner was designed to include a life-size statue of a relaxed dude-with-guitar and a two-story Trompe L'oeil mural laying out all the critical lyrics: "a girl" and "a flatbed Ford" reflected in a storefront, along with an eagle perched on one painted window sill.
The site is actually called Standin' on the Corner Park, an annoying variant on the song lyric "standing on a corner." Typo, copyright dodge, or attempt to outsmart competing corners elsewhere in town? We don't really know.
In any event, the corner is a photo op destination now, so the scheme worked. In early 2006 the building with the mural was mostly demolished -- except for the mural wall. The town purchased the property and has built a small park, part of a plan to expand the spot as a Route 66 destination landmark.
Winslow runs an annual Standin' on the Corner Festival at the end of September featuring country rock and Eagles tribute bands, such as the band Hotel California. The town now estimates that 100,000 people stop by every year to stand on its corner. Jackson Browne finally made a pilgrimage here in 2013. We're not sure if Glenn Frey ever did.
When we visited, "Take It Easy" pride radiated from at least two of the three other unofficial corners at Second and Kinsley -- where businesses promise t-shirts, hats, and Route 66 memorabilia.
While we were busy posing on the corner, we ran across an Eagles-era couple snapping their own memories. His name was Denny "Don't Need No Reason to Party" Flannigan, Baja California's answer to Jimmy Buffet. He told us he fronted a popular 1960s Denver band named The Moonrakers, and now fronts a band in Baja named "Suns of the Beaches."
Yup, that's the kind of encounter that awaits you if you stand around on the corner long enough.
Sept. 2016: A statue of the late Glenn Frey was added to the plaza.