Flagstaff’s famed Museum Club is a Route 66 icon, east of downtown Flagstaff. It’s a living reminder of the days of driving the Mother Road.
The Museum Club garnered its name from its beginnings as a museum, taxidermy shop and trading post, the boyhood dream of taxidermist Dean Eldredge in the early 1930s. The museum was a showplace for Eldredge’s lifetime collection of stuffed animals, Indian artifacts, rifles, and a reported 30,000 items of interest and curios.
Positioned on Route 66, travelers stopped to see the landmark, and locals soon dubbed the establishment, “The Zoo.”
Eldredge died after just five years in business, and most of his collection was sold. In 1936, Doc Williams, a local saddle maker bought the building, and taking advantage of the end of Prohibition he opened a nightclub that was an immediate success.
Several owners operated the establishment through the years, and it survived as a nightclub, recording studio and roadhouse. In 1963, Don Scott, a steel guitarist who had spent time with Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, bought the club and turned it into a country music dance hall, and began to book acts like Wills, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
With his many contacts in the music industry, Scott put the club on the map on the western swing circuit. Many aspiring stars making the trip from Nashville to Las Vegas were booked into The Museum Club.
In 1978, Martin and Stacie Zanzucchi bought the club, made extensive renovations, and restored some of the ambiance of “The Zoo” with taxidermy mounts, antlers and period décor.
Today The Museum Club thrives, hosting rising stars of country music and new sounds as well.