Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Transportation in America before 1876 Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 Delivering the Goods: Watsonville, California, 1895 A Streetcar City: Washington, D.C., 1900 People on the Move The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903 Americans Adopt the Auto Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927 Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s On the School Bus: Martinsburg, Indiana, 1939 Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 City and Suburb: Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois, 1950s On the Interstate: I-10, 1956-1990 Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960-1970 Going Global: Los Angeles Introduction The People's Highway Cyrus Avery: 'The most direct road to the Pacific coast' Lucille Hamons: 'I was alone here to run this place.' The Haggard family: 'Headed west toward California' Caroline Millbank, Janet McDonnel, Ethel May Krockenberger, and Mary Jane Pecora: 'Our rest stops were lots of fun' Bobby and Cynthia Troup: 'Get your kicks on Route 66' The Delgadillo family: 'Playing with bands up and down Route 66' Pete Koltnow: 'Bumpy seats and the open road' Indian Trading Posts
10: The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s–1940s

The Delgadillo family: “Playing with bands up and down Route 66”

Angel Delgadillo Sr. arrived in Seligman, Arizona, in 1917 and set up a pool hall and barbershop for the town’s Mexican and Basque populations. In 1926, Route 66 came through town and helped the family prosper. During the Depression, however, the family relied on the children’s musical skills to survive. Juan Delgadillo began playing trombone in the Hank Becker Orchestra. Later his brothers and sisters formed the Delgadillo Orchestra, which traveled Route 66 in Arizona.

Seligman, Arizona, 1930s
Seligman, Arizona, 1930s
Before Route 66 came through, Seligman was a railroad town on the Santa Fe line. Angel Delgadillo Sr. worked for the railroad as a laborer and then a skilled worker. Involved in the great 1922 shopmen’s strike, Delgadillo lost his railroad job and opened his own business. His son Angel followed in his footsteps and also became a barber in the town.

“During the Great Depression, times became tough and my dad’s business was very poor, and we were just about ready to join the Grapes of Wrath people. Our house was boarded up, and my dad and brothers got our Model T Ford ready, they built a trailer to haul all our things. I was just a little bitty guy, and I was real scared about what was going to happen to us. Then my brothers Juan and Joe got jobs playing with bands and traveling up and down Route 66, and we didn’t have to leave after all.” —Angel Delgadillo Jr.

Delgadillo Orchestra, 1940s
Delgadillo Orchestra, 1940s
Continue
National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits