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 towns 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 childrens 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
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 shopmens 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 dads 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 didnt have to leave after all. Angel Delgadillo Jr.