City/Town Snapshot: City of Holbrook

Formerly known as Horsehead Crossing, Holbrook was named in 1880, after H.R. Holbrook, first chief engineer of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. It sits at an elevation of 5,080 feet and is the county seat for Navajo County. Holbrook is the central point for a variety of adventures in northeastern Arizona. The Petrified Forest National Park, Homolovi Ruins, Window Rock, Canyon de Chelly, Native American cultures, rich Old West and Pioneer history, scenic vistas, the Mogollon Rim and a diversity of recreational settings are all within easy driving distance of Holbrook.

Begin your adventure by visiting the Navajo County Historic Courthouse in downtown Holbrook. Built in 1898, the courthouse serves as an area museum and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The courthouse serves as an excellent source of information about area attractions and the museum includes a walk through the old jail. Many notorious trials were held in the stately courtroom, but only one hanging took place in the courtyard. For 78 years the courthouse was used to dispense justice to all of what is now known as Navajo County. The museum also displays Native American art and a fascinating look at Holbrook's history. Holbrook is also the starting point for the annual Hashknife Pony Express ride.

Holbrook is also home to several historic sites and has a true "Wild West" history. A self-guided walking tour map is available at the historic courthouse visitor's center and includes fascinating historical sites such as the Bucket of Blood Saloon. Gunfights were common at the Bucket of Blood; in fact, a painting hangs in the local museum bearing two bullet holes from a target competition between two betting cowboys who both turned out to be poor shots. Another is at the Blevins House, where the famous shootout between Sheriff Commodore Perry Owens and the Blevins gang took place. In the mid-1880s, the little western Arizona town of Holbrook was known as a place "too tough for women and churches." There was no law enforcement to speak of and a group of cow punchers from the Aztec Cattle Company had moved into the area. These cowpunchers called themselves the Hashknife Outfit, and they soon became known far and wide as the "theivinist, fightinist bunch of cowboys in the West".

Holbrook was a frontier town in 1881 and it has been a frontier town ever since. Only the theme has changed. In the 1880s, the frontiersmen were cowboys, cattle ranchers and railroaders who made Holbrook the center of ranch country. In the 1930s through the 1950s, the "frontiersmen" were travelers of Route 66.

Today Holbrook is the frontier for modern explorers. The spectacular beauty and spirituality of Indian Country beckons travelers to pull off Interstate 40. When they do, they step into a different space and time, where ancient traditions and values provide a deep and rich perspective on life.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ  85007
Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874

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