From the very earliest days, Cool Springs camp and service station was an important stop for motorists traveling Arizona's Route 66. Cool Springs was built in the mid-1920s and has been connected with Route 66 from the very start.
In the 1930’s, James Walker moved his family from Huntington, Indiana to live at Cool Springs. While there, Mr. Walker built 8 cabins, improved the station and ran the operation. Mrs.Walker cooked the meals and made sandwiches. The kids, Tom, Mary, Jim and Chuck, all helped out. Mr. Walker returned to the Midwest leaving Cool Springs to Mrs Walker.
Cool Springs continued to flourish through the World War II years. Mrs. Walker married Floyd Spidell and he continued the tradition at Cool Springs. Their chicken dinners became a mainstay for the Route 66 traveler in western Arizona. After the war America’s love affair with the automobile took off and Cool Springs entered its golden age.
Then in the early 1950s something happened that foreshadowed the changes to come for Route 66. This part of Route 66 was bypassed by a new straighter alignment of Route 66 through Yucca, Arizona, that did away with the need to traverse the steep mountain grades of Sitgreaves Pass. Interstate-40 follows this newer alignment of Route 66 across the desert today. This new alignment of Route 66 also bypassed the town of Oatman, Arizona, effectively turning it into a ghost town. After the mines closed during World War II, Route 66 had provided the economic base for the old mining town and the business, like Cool Springs, located along her route. When the newer alignment of Route 66 was opened the busy days of Cool Springs became numbered.
Sometime later, Mrs. Walker left Mr. Spidell leaving Cool Springs to him. With the passage of years an elderly Floyd Spidell found the upkeep of Cool Springs increasingly difficult. He asked his niece, Nancy Schoenerr to come and live at Cool Springs and give him a hand. Nancy and her husband, Chuck, moved to Cool Springs in 1957 with their kids and Aunt Nettie.
Ned Leuchtner tried repeatedly to buy the property for three years from Nancy but to no avail. Nancy’s reasons for not selling were sentimental. Finally, in the summer of 2001, Nancy called and said she wanted to sell. She was moved by Ned’s appeal to rebuild Cool Springs. The rebirth of Cool Springs had begun.
This is what it looks like today as we travel the Route 66 to Oatman, Al said the clerk inside was a bugger….told him not to open his hostess cupcakes inside the store….told him to Get Get Get! Cold and Windy as all get out, look at the flags in the last picture….direct force!