Meteor City Trading Post first opened in 1938 as a Texaco gas station under the ownership of Joe Sharber. In 1941, Jack Newsum bought the property and added a store component so tourists could stop and buy souvenirs and groceries. "Lonesome Jack," a nickname that Newsum seemed to embrace wholeheartedly. Newsum had a city limits sign for the Meteor City Trading Post that read "Population: 1." Newsum ran the trading post alone until he married his wife Goldie and updated the city limits sign to a population 2.
In 1979 the original rectangular building housing the trading post was replaced with the eye-catching geodesic dome with the yellow Mohawk down the center. This could be considered the heyday of the Meteor City Trading Post, when tourists came by droves to buy souvenirs This was when tourists could view the nation's largest dream catcher and the 100-foot map of Route 66 painted by Bob Waldmire, American Route 66 artist and cartographer. In 1990, the original dome burned down and was replaced by the structure that stands today.
Meteor City Trading Post briefly shut down in 2001 and reopened later that year by new owners Richard and Ermila Benton. Because the 100-foot map of Route 66 had fallen into disrepair, the new owners painted over the original around 2002-2003. Despite their efforts, the Bentons put the trading post up for sale with an asking price of $150,000. By 2012, when no buyers came forward, the doors to the trading post shut, seemingly for good. The property sat in the abandoned in the desert.
Joann and Michael Brown purchased the Meteor City Trading Post in March of 2016, when they saw that it was set to be demolished. "We loved the wide-open spaces and the hospitality of the people of Arizona. We have a deep love for Route 66, and when we toured [the] Meteor City Trading Post, we knew we had to make an offer for the property as soon as possible."
Joann and Michael Brown worked tirelessly clearing the debris and clutter from the once bustling business and now hope to complete the interior of the dome in the spring of 2018, before starting to work on the living quarters. They would like to restore the 100-foot map of Route 66, but it is proven difficult to find complete photos of the original.
The Browns moved to Arizona in 2019. Joann had planned to reopen June 9, 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed everything, including permits. Part of the plan is to open Meteor City Trading Post as an arts market.
Images captured in 2007.
Meteor City Trading Post Facebook page.