The Museum Club, known locally as “The Zoo”, is a Route 66 icon. It began as a taxidermy museum/shop in 1931 when taxidermist Dean Eldredge purchased federal land just outside Flagstaff, Arizona. He constructed what he believed was “the largest log cabin in the nation.” The upper floor and roof are supported by several massive tree trunks and the doorway is under an arch constructed from the crook of a large tree. The building is designated as a Historic Landmark.
Unfortunately, Dean passed in 1936 and most of his collection was sold. The building was purchased by a local saddle maker who took advantage of its proximity to Route 66 and opened a nightclub.
Over the years, the nightclub passed through several owners. By the 1950s, the building had become somewhat run down and was commonly associated with late-night brawls.
” The Zoo” nickname arose because of all the fighting that took place at the club. The alternative origin of the name dates back to its days as a taxidermy museum.
In 1963, guitarist Don Scott bought the club and converted it to a country music venue. Scott had many contacts in the industry and was able to attract some excellent acts.
The Museum Club continues to be a popular country music honky-tonk, with a legendary happy hour. The neon guitar sign at the side of the road has become an icon of Route 66. The menu items for lunch and dinner often carry the names of famous country music stars.