Back in the 1880's, Holbrook was known as the "town too rough for women and churches." This was in the heart of a lawless land with Mormon settlements to the south, the Navajo Reservation to the north, and huge cattle ranches east and west. In those days the Santa Fe Railroad built through town and established their station about one block from the infamous "Bucket of Blood Saloon." A couple blocks north of that is where the Navajo County Courthouse was built in 1898. The courthouse itself cost some $12,000 to build. The jail inside was specially built in St. Louis and brought by train for a total cost of $3,000. The jail was small and crowded but no one ever escaped from it. The courthouse was in operation until 1976 when a new county government center was established several miles south of Holbrook and all county functions were moved there. In 1981, the Navajo County Historical Society took over the old building and opened a museum in it. Inside you'll find all kinds of historical items, including paintings that were made by some of the prisoners while they were doing time. One thing I don't remember seeing, though, was anything commemorating the trial of George Smiley, the only man ever hanged in the courtyard.
I remember Holbrook from those days when I was quite young and I traveled with my family across half of America on Route 66. In driving along Hopi Drive, old memories were evoked, especially by places like the Wigwam Motel ("Sleep like an Indian, stay at the Wigwam tonight"). But back in those days, the Petrified Forest wasn't yet a National Park and Holbrook didn't have nearly the focus on dinosaur fossils... although rock and gem shops were everywhere, as were Indian Trading Posts and Navajo rugs. A lot of town looked to be reasonably new, but there's a lot of old buildings that look to be little changed from 50+ years ago, too.
Founded: 1881, Incorporated: 1917
High School or Higher: 78.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 15.8%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 5.8%
Cost of Living Index for Holbrook: 80.4
Median Household Income: $40,100
Median Home Value: $67,200
Median Resident Age: 33.0 Years
Educational Services, Lodging & Food Services, Government, Utilities, Construction, Retail Services, Transportation Services, Health Care, Social Services, Finance & Insurance Services
Unemployed (August 2014): 14.9%