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Not just any corner, it's
Not just any corner, it's "the" corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Standin' on the Corner Park

Field review by the editors.

Winslow, Arizona

Is a passing mention in a song cause for a civic celebration? It is in Winslow, Arizona.

Old Winslow photo of the standin' man that inspired the statue.
Old Winslow photo of the standin' man that inspired the statue.

When the band The Eagles released "Take It Easy" (written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey) in 1972, its reference to "standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona" was just a catchy almost-rhyme. But the song gradually became a classic rock anthem for rootless wandering, and a Route 66 standard for those cruising along the Mother Road. The town, bisected by 66, noticed that travelers would stop and take photos in front of signs with "Winslow" in them, and decided to capitalize on its name-dropped good fortune.

On September 11, 1999, the town unveiled "Standin' on the Corner" Park -- a variant on the lyric that annoys some purists. Greg Hackler, one of the original members of the Standin' on the Corner Committee, told us that the merits of "a" versus "the" were debated. The committee, he said, decided that, "We don't want people to stand on any old corner; we want them to stand on the corner." So it became the corner even though the song never said what corner it had in mind.

The downtown corner features a life-size statue of a relaxed young dude-with-guitar, made by Ron Adamson. According to Greg, Ron had never sculpted a human before and used his son Dustin as the model. The idea for a statue came from a 1940s photo of a hat-wearing Winslow man on the corner leaning against a lamp post. Greg said that the older committee members wanted the 1940s hat-wearing man as the statue -- which would have created an awkward double-generation half-Eagles attraction. Then one of the younger members stood up and said, "No way! The guy's gotta be a hippie!"

Artist John Pugh in front of the repainted mural.
Artist John Pugh in front of the repainted mural.

And so, dude-with-guitar it is. The acoustic guitar, resting on the toe of the dude's cowboy boot, is unnaturally thin, a result of the mold cracking and being repaired at the last minute.

The statue is backed by a mural (painted by John Pugh) bolted to a wall, depicting the other key lyrics in the song: "a girl" in "a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me." The girl and the truck are reflected in a painted storefront window, and the truck's Arizona license plate, IG7WOM, references yet another Take It Easy lyric. A painted eagle is perched on one of the painted window sills.

In October 2004 the Corner was nearly destroyed when an adjacent J.C. Penney store caught fire and collapsed. For almost three years the dude and mural remained off-limits while Winslow cleared away asbestos rubble and stabilized the mural wall.

When the Corner reopened, Winslow expanded its theme into what was called Route 66 Plaza. While elaborate early plans never materialized, the adjacent (and now rubble-free) lot became a downtown park. A huge Route 66 shield sign -- visible from space -- was painted on the Corner's street pavement, and a real 1960 flatbed Ford truck was parked near the dude to complete the photo-op tableau.

Winslow estimates that several hundred thousand people stop by every year to stand on its Corner, and the metal dude has been burnished by uncounted legions of visitors draping their arms across his shoulders. Jackson Browne has made the pilgrimage several times. We're not sure if the late Glenn Frey -- who also sang lead on Take It Easy -- ever did, although a statue of him was added a few feet away from the dude in 2016.

Visitors know what to do at the Corner. Stand.
Visitors know what to do at the Corner. Stand.

Mindful of what the Corner had become, Winslow invited John Pugh back in early 2023 to completely repaint -- but not change -- the then-faded mural, using improved 21st century materials to ensure that the renewed artwork lasts well into the travel years of the songwriters' great-grandchildren.

Winslow is now home to an annual Standin' on the Corner Festival, which features tribute bands with names such as Hotel California and The Eagles Experience. And although the Corner is only one of four at its intersection at Second Street and Kinsley Avenue, Take It Easy pride radiates from the other three as well -- where businesses promise t-shirts, hats, and Route 66 memorabilia.

While we were taking photos at the Corner we met 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 that he once fronted a popular Denver band named The Moonrakers, and later a band in Baja named "The Suns of the Beaches."

Not exactly a girl in a flatbed Ford, but probably typical of the kind of encounter that awaits you if you stand around on the Corner long enough.

Also see: Strawberry Fields

Standin' on the Corner Park

Address:
66 W. 2nd St., Winslow, AZ
Directions:
I-40 exit 252, then east on Route 66 (Second St.) Northwest corner of Second and Kinsley Ave.
Hours:
Lit at night. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Tiny Church of the Mother RoadTiny Church of the Mother Road, Winslow, AZ - < 1 mi.
30-Ft. Skinny Indian Head30-Ft. Skinny Indian Head, Winslow, AZ - < 1 mi.
Big BulldogBig Bulldog, Winslow, AZ - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Rainbow Rock Shop Dinosaurs, Holbrook, AZ - 32 mi.

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