I grew up knowing I was a bit different. I crave adventure and excitement.
One of the reasons I got married at a young age was probably that adventure and excitement. You know what though? I knew that my husband was no different than I was.
It’s not a wonder then that when my husband was researching our Route 66 trip from Dallas (not on the Route, but that was Day 0) to LA and he found Two Guns we had to go visit.
And, yes, our kids objected. One even refused to get out of the car because she was afraid a ghost would get her.
It was in the middle of the day!
Given the history though, I can’t blame her.
The address itself now sits within Winslow, Arizona territory because when the original owners of the land applied for a zip code they were denied. Really, though, we need to start at the beginning.
In 1878, the Apache attacked a Navajo encampment killing everyone but three girls who were taken into captivity. Naturally, the chief was upset and sent his men to find them. They found the Apache’s in a cave because of the smoke to cook and keep warm.
The Navajo men went back to their chief who sent them with more men to attack. The men used sage bush and driftwood to start a fire at the front end of the cave. The Apache men begged for mercy and were going to be spared until the Navajo asked about the girls they kept. After hesitation, the Apache understood the girls were murdered. Therefore, they shot the men and then used the ammunition to shoot into the fire, causing the flames to get worse and the men inside the cave died as well.
The two set of indians never fought again and both have warned that the cave and surrounding land was cursed.
Naturally, the story doesn’t end there though. In 1922, Louis and Earle Cundiff purchased 320 acres around the cave and put in a gas station for travelers along the Sante Fe Highway (which would eventually become Route 66 and then I-40).
Stopping there, Henry Miller saw the potential in the area and rented the space from the Cundiffs. He created a zoo, a restaurant, and tours into the cave where the Indians had passed. He had cleared it out and started selling the skulls as well.
Naturally problems arose from here. After an argument in 1926, Miller killed Earle. After getting out of prison he continued to live there but was hostile to the customers.
His building burned down in 1929.
Louise and her new husband continued to live there and run the place, rebuilding the burnt down place. It grew given the new Route 66 and in 1950 they sold it.
The new owners built an improved gas station and the KOA campground came in (hookups are still there by the way); however, the station burned down in 1971 and has been abandoned since then.
Here’s a video of our journey:
Sources of information include: