Trailer Talk

A Flatbed Ford Is on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona

A park commemorates a verse from the '70s Eagles' tune, and it's been drawing tourists since the late '90s.

March 28, 2016

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The "flatbed Ford" sits in the park at East 2nd Street and Kinsley Avenue, along eastbound Historic Route 66. Photos: Tom Berg
The "flatbed Ford" sits in the park at East 2nd Street and Kinsley Avenue, along eastbound Historic Route 66. Photos: Tom Berg

Truck bodies carry cargo, too, and every so often this blog will discuss subjects concerning them. For one such, I’ll delve into the musical past and the curious present.

What do you think of when “Winslow” crops up in print or a conversation? If you’re into older pop music, it’s the tune whose most famous lines are:

“Well I was standin’ on a corner in Winslow Arizona

and such a fine sight to see.

It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford

slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

That verse comes about midway into the song, written by Jackson Brown and Glenn Frey, that was a big hit for The Eagles (Frey just died in January). That was in 1972, when it was the first cut on their album, “The Eagles.” People born long afterward probably know it and its refrain and title, “Take It Easy,” because it was also on their ’94 album, “Hell Freezes Over.”

Last Friday I drove through Winslow in a two-car convoy with my stepdaughter and granddaughter, who were moving from California to Ohio. I promised to show them that famous corner, and there it was, at 2nd and Kinsley, along eastbound Historic Route 66. If you pass Winslow, you almost certainly do so out on Interstate 40, which bypassed the small city in the late 1970s.

Progress brought faster and safer transportation, but merchants in Winslow were left with little business when the I-road opened – something that happened countless times as the Interstate System spread through the country. Not until the ‘90s did Winslow citizens come upon the idea of promoting the town by marking a spot where that famous musical encounter could’ve occurred, according to a Wikipedia entry. And there’s an official website, standinonthecorner.com.  

The building on the northwest corner was restored and murals added, but it burned in 2004 and was torn down. In its place is a plaza, and the next building to the west was given over to the park.

The scene now includes a statue of the fictional guy, a flatbed Ford parked nearby, and in second story windows of the building, manikins of a couple getting cozy (the singer connected with the girl driving the truck, we presume). A few window ledges over sits a statuette of a bald eagle (spirit of The Eagles?).

After parking my granddaughter’s car, what’s the first thing I went to? The Ford, of course. Turns out it’s an F-500, a ’60 or so model, it appears, with a 12-foot steel bed and stake sides.

1960 or so F-500 is clean and at least cosmetically restored. Nose emblem has a lightening bolt, indicating there's an inline 6 under the hood.
1960 or so F-500 is clean and at least cosmetically restored. Nose emblem has a lightening bolt, indicating there's an inline 6 under the hood.

No name plate’s on the body, but I imagine it’s one of tens of thousands of similar flatbeds produced and worked hard back in the day. Who knows, maybe it hauled hay for a rancher, or goods taken from boxcars and delivered to local businesses.

Steel flatbed body wears tall stakes with wooden slats. Imagine what it hauled in its day.
Steel flatbed body wears tall stakes with wooden slats. Imagine what it hauled in its day.

The city officially designated it, “Standin’ On The Corner Park.” There’s a bunch of photos of it on Yelp! here.

Does it draw people? There were a dozen or so, milling about and taking photos, in the few minutes we were there. There’s a big souvenir shop just across the street, and my stepdaughter bought a shot glass as a remembrance.

You might want to grab something, too, if you take the time to swing through Winslow. It’s better done eastbound, and there’s ample parking on 2nd Street nearby, but beware of the 15-mph speed limit as you approach the corner.

The first line of the song says, “Well I’m running down the road…” and that’s what we had to do, for we had 1,740 miles to go 'til Westerville, Ohio. The Corner was worth stoppin' for, though.

Comments

  1. 1. Greg Smith [ March 29, 2016 @ 05:48AM ]

    Terrific article Tom! I happened to pick up a Coca Cola truck in Winslow, AZ for a Ride-n-Drive at the GM Desert Proving Grounds back in 1978. Rest assured the Eagles song was on my mind at the time. It is nice to know the city put up the park and I hope to get back there someday to see it.

  2. 2. Bill Whitney [ March 29, 2016 @ 06:20AM ]

    For the record, that is a 1958 Ford. Looked about like the '57 but in '58 Ford went from single to dual headlights.

 

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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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