Ghost Towns, Two Guns, Arizona
About thirty miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona, is the historic ghost town of Two Guns. The area that would become Two Guns started as a site of major confrontation between the Navajos and the Apaches in the 19th century. In 1880 the land just to the south of Two Guns would become home to the town of Canyon Diablo, which would become a ghost town before Two Guns was even born.
When the white settlers began to populate the area, they recognized that it was an ideal place to Cross Canyon Diablo – first by wagon, then later by motor cars. The town was originally called "Canyon Lodge" when the National Trail Highway moved westward. Later when the Trail was re-named Route 66, the town’s name was changed to Two Guns, after a local resident named Henry E. Miller, who called himself "Two Gun Miller." Reportedly, Miller was an eccentric hermit who lived in a cave in nearby Canyon Diablo and was hostile to visitors. He was also said to be wild and violent. Another report says that he owned the service facilities in the town and that was the reason for using his name.
Two Guns became one of many tourist stops along Route 66 with a gas station, over night accommodations, a cafe, and a souvenir shop for the many travelers of the Mother Road. Later a "zoo" was added to the popular tourist stop which included mountain lions, panthers, and bobcats. Their "cages" were huge kiln-like structures of brick, mortar and chicken wire, built along the rim and north wall of the canyon.
After I-40 bypassed Two Guns, it like so many other popular Route 66 stops, died a quick death. Although numerous resuscitations have been attempted for Two Guns, it still sits lonely and abandoned today.