Holbrook – somewhere in the middle of nowhere
Holbrook is located in north-eastern Arizona's Navajo County on the banks of the Little Colorado River and along Interstate 40. In 1881 railroad tracks were laid and a railway station was built. The community was then named Holbrook, in honor or the first chief engineer of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.
The railroad is now BNSF and Holbrook is still an important transportation hub for north-eastern Arizona.
Nowadays Holbrook is surrounded by the plains of Arizona’s high plateau country, which are not very inviting for visitors. The town, with about 5000 inhabitants, still has some western/frontier style with some older buildings. When we arrived and left we were amazed by the wide empty roads lined with shops, businesses, motels and gas stations, all with garish (neon) lights.
Holbrook has just a couple of things to offer:
- the Historic Navajo County Courthouse (built in 1898), which now houses a small museum. When we arrived it was already closed.
- Old Route 66 (Hopi Drive and Navajo Boulevard)
- Wigwam Motel (along Route 66), although we were happy not sleeping there so close to the noisy railroad.
But the main reason for tourists to stop and stay overnight in Holbrook is the vicinity of Petrified Forest National Park, which is just 19 miles east to the south entrance. The town is the gateway to this national park and for us also the only reason for visiting Holbrook.