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History Timeline


Route 66 is Born   Route 66 is created by connecting roads from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California to expedite the increasing cross country travel



Angel Opens his Barber Shop on Route 66 in Seligman   After attending the American Barber College on Route 66 in Pasadena, California; and then finishing his apprenticeship on Route 66 in Williams, Arizona: Angel Delgadillo opens his barbershop on the original alignment of Route 66 in his hometown of Seligman, Arizona. (That section of Old Route 66 is now Railroad Ave.)



I-40 replaces Route 66 September 22, 1978   Seligman, Arizona is by-passed by the opening of the new interstate. The traffic of thousands of automobiles passing through town on a daily basis comes to a halt. Route 66 is decommissioned, all the road signs are taken down, including the sign locating the town of Seligman. The livelihood of Angel's Barber Shop and all the other businesses in town, disappears in one day.



Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona is formed February 18, 1987   As a response to hearing many travelers' reminiscences about their experiences on Route 66, Angel Delgadillo, in an effort to "bring back the economy to our towns", calls a meeting in which the 1st Historic Route 66 Association is formed. The Association's goal is to get the State of Arizona to bring back Route 66 as a historic highway


The Original Route 66 Gift Shop is Established March 1987 in Seligman, AZ   Angel and wife, Vilma, start selling Route 66 memorabilia out of their barbershop/poolhall thereby establishing the first Route 66 gift shop.  For the first year all proceeds from the Route 66 merchandise goes to the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona.


Arizona deems Route 66 a Historic Highway in November 1987   The Arizona State Department of Transportation makes Old Route 66 a Historic Highway due to the efforts of the Angel and the other dedicated members of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona.


CBS Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on the CBS show "On the Road" with Bill Leverton



Historic Route 66 Dedication April 23, 1988   The State of Arizona preserves a 159 mile stretch of original Route 66 by designating it a historic highway. The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona holds a dedication ceremony celebrating their success. To watch the 1988 News Story about the dedication ceremony in Seligman CLICK HERE   Now, every year the Association hosts a celebration of Route 66, now called the "Fun Run". For more information about the Fun Run see their website at

NBC Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on NBC with Ron Hoon



 CBS Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on CBS with Dan Rather


ABC World News Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on ABC World News with Peter Jennings



Angel is named President Emeritus of the Historic Route 66 Association July 7, 1990   The headquarters for the Association is moved to Kingman, Arizona but the Association names Angel President Emeritus "in acknowledgement and appreciation of the dedication, imagination, and tireless efforts that brought about the creation and world-wide growth of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona."


Good Morning America Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on Good Morning America



Nightline Television Interview   Angel is featured on Nightline, ABC's late-night television news program



48 Hours Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on the well know television show "48 Hours"


National Geographic Explorer Television Interview   Angel and his story are featured on TBS National Geographic Explorer "Route 66 the Mother Road"



Grand Canyon State Tourism Award   Angel receives a 1996 Grand Canyon State Tourism Award for his part in increasing tourism to Route 66 in Arizona



National Geographic Magazine does Route 66!   The September 1997 issue of National Geographic features an 18 page spread on Angel, Juan and the Snow Cap, Seligman, and Route 66.  See our "Us In Print" page to see the article, and many others featuring Angel.


PBS Television Interview   Angel, Seligman, and the longest preserved stretch of Route 66 are featured on PBS "Great Drives on Route 66"




History Channel   Angel and his story are featured on the History Channel



Angel receives Steinbeck Award May 6, 2000   The National Historic Route 66 Federation awards Angel with the Steinbeck Award for beginning "the revival of Route 66."

  Arizona Speaker of the House honors Angel May 7, 2000   The Speaker of the House of Arizona, Jeff Groscost, presents an award to Angel "in recognition of your dedication to preserving Route 66 and your legendary contribution to the establishment of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona."


Angel's story helps contribute to the storyline of "Cars" June 12, 2001   Pixar's John Lasseter visits Seligman on his Route 66 trip researching for his upcoming computer-animated movie CARS and interviews Angel about his life on Route 66. CLICK HERE for more info.



Angel and the Delgadillo family are featured in a standing exhibit about Route 66 at the Smithsonian National Museum Of American History   The America on the Move exhibit opened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in November 2003. The exhibition features a section called "The People's Highway" which chronicles how Route 66 affected the lives of certain families during the 1930s and 1940s.


Angel is honored with a Culture Keeper Award 2003   The Arizona Historical Foundation awards Angel Delgadillo as an Arizona Culture Keeper for his participation in the preservation of Route 66, its history, and culture.



Arizona Governor presents Tourism Award to Angel   At the Governor's Tourism Awards of 2005, Governor Janet Napolitano presents Angel with a tourism award for "Arizona Preservation".



Billy Connolly Visits! May 28, 2011   Scottish comedian/actor, Billy Connolly, visits on his journey along Route 66. Connolly's Route 66 adventures on his trike was then made into a four part British documentary television series in which Angel, the barber shop, and the gift shop are featured in the fourth and final episode. Even more information about Angel is included in Billy's book: Billy Connolly's Route 66.


Chevy Commercial featuring Angel becomes Finalist for 2012 Super Bowl December 2011   Country Music Artist, Trace Adkins narrates this beautifully filmed commercial about Angel, his 1965 Chevrolet truck, and Route 66. It is a wonderful tribute and a must watch.  See it on YouTube: click here.



Angel is awarded a Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award on Friday May 15, 2015   Angel was presented this award by the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Arizona State Historic Preservation Office of the Arizona State Parks to honor his outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s historic resources.

  Angel inducted into the National Barber Hall of Fame   On September 23, 2015 Mr. Angel Delgadillo became the 63rd barber to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Barber Museum in Canal Winchester, Ohio. For more information to go the National Barber Hall of Fame Webpage


Angel's Barber Shop celebrates 70 years!   Angel opened his barber shop and pool hall on May 22, 1950.  Although he retired as the town barber in 1997, he continued his barbering for tourists from all over the world for many more years.  2020 not only marked the 70th anniversary of his barber shop being open, but also that Angel (age 93) had been barbering non-stop in that barber shop for 70 years!



Angel retires from barbering   At 95 years young, Angel finally retires from barbering. He officially retires on July 7th, 2022 which is the 75th anniversary of the day he started barber college: the day he considers to be the day he started his barber career. And because Angel's barber college was on Route 66 in California, his apprenticeship was in Williams, Arizona on Route 66 and his own barber shop was opened on Route 66 in Seligman, that makes 75 years of barbering on Route 66!


Angel is inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame   On July 14th 2022, Angel was presented with the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame Award at a special gala held during the Arizona Governor's Conference on Tourism in Phoenix. The award honors the individual who has earned a lifetime distinction through many years of active involvement in tourism and unique contributions to the betterment of the industry and the State of Arizona.



The Angel Delgadillo Storyfile Exhibit Opens   On July 27, The Powerhouse Visitor's Center in Kingman, Arizona unveiled its newest exhibit, the interactive Angel Delgadillo Storyfile experience with accompanying history museum exhibit on Angel's life.


Angel Celebrated as a 2023 Arizona Historymaker   At a gala at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe on October 14, Angel was awarded the distinction of being an Arizona Historymaker by the Arizona Historical League, Arizona's oldest cultural organization founded in 1864.


National Recognition! On November 8, 2023 a 96 year-old Angel traveled to Washington DC to accept his President's Award for National Leadership in Historic Preservation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has only awarded this honor three times previously.

(Also, during this trip to Washington DC, Angel and family were given a private tour of the Smithsonian exhibit featuring the Delgadillo family that was created 20 years earlier.)





From the Arizona Office of Tourism on Angel's induction to the Hall of Fame:

“Angel Delgadillo’s contributions to Arizona’s tourism industry, and especially in saving Route 66 and preserving its immersive experience of a classic time in American history, cannot be truly measured. However, we were very proud to recognize Angel and what he means to Arizonans and the thousands of visitors who still get to experience Route 66 to this day because of his efforts.”



From the Culture Keeper Award given to Angel:

"Angel Delgadillo: The Angel of Route 66"

"Angel Delgadillo was not content to sit by and watch Seligman wither away after the new Interstate 40 bypassed it in 1978. He wanted to keep the culture of historic Route 66 and keep his community vital.

Angel was born in 1927, the same year the National Highway System was initiated. He watched as Route 66 became the main throroughfare for western migration, saw dust-bowl refugees raise the dust of the road on the way to Califonia in their Model T Fords, saw the road paved in the late '30s, watched as post-WWII migrants made for sunnier pastures, and saw vacationing families head for Disneyland throughout the '60s and '70s.

'Like a river flowing, it made us part of the world.' Angel says of the road. And he watched on September 22, 1978, as the new Inerstate opened and the traffic through Seligman was turned off as if a switch had been flipped. What had been 9,000 cars a day dwindle to 50.

When the town of Seligman stared to succumb to its new isolation, Angel took action. The answer, he said, lies right in front of us. In February 1987, he called together a meeting of business owners in the area and the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona was founded, with Angel as its first president. That same year he successfully lobbied the state legislature to dedicate the stretch of old highway from Seligman to Kingman as Historic Route 66. He worked tirelessly to attract media attention to the historic highway and the unique communities along it.

His efforts have been rewarded. Angel has been interviewed hundreds of times by media from all across America and Europe. Now people are diverting to Seligman and historic Route 66 as a destination and spending more time and money than they ever did when they were just driving through. the romance of America's Main Street has captured the fancy of millions of people, and it is largely due to the efforts of Angel Delgadillo, who insisted on keeping the culture."