The tiny community of Ash Fork lies on the juniper-studded hills some 15 miles west of Bill Williams Mountain. Founded in 1882 when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad was laying tracks for a transcontinental railroad, Ash Fork became an important rail junction by 1895 when another new line was built, this one south to Phoenix. The storied Route 66 opened in 1926 and U.S. Highway 89 not long after, making Ash Fork the most important link between Northern and Southern Arizona by both rail and highway. By the mid-20th century, however, rail routes changed and Interstate 40 opened a half-mile south of town, stopping overnight the flow of traffic through Ash Fork. While many residents were forced to leave, those who remained stubbornly refused to concede defeat. As the new century dawned, the citizens of Ash Fork had developed a new community spirit and hopes for a brighter future.
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35th parallel American Arizona Cafe Ash Fork Atlantic and Pacific barbershop baseball basketball Beale began Bill Williams Mountain Bob Starr building built business district bypassed Cafe and Bar California cattle Coconino sandstone construction Corps of Topographical Courtesy Hume collection cowboy depot early end of town Escalante Hotel Fayrene fire Flagstaff flagstone Fork's Frank Fred Harvey gas station Gene Harvey Girls Harvey House hauled highway Hotel Arizona Interstate Interstate 40 Johnson Canyon later Lewis Avenue Lewis Hume located main line Marshall Trimble McCoy miles Motel motor court north of town Northern Arizona opened original Harvey House Pacific Railroad passengers Peavine Phoenix photograph Prescott Prescott and Central Railroad Avenue residents restaurants rock doodlers Route 66 Saloon Santa Fe Schwanbeck Seligman sheep steam locomotives stone town's traffic transcontinental railroad trestles tunnel U.S. Camel Corps U.S. highway system volunteer firemen White House Hotel Yavapai Theater Zettler's Market