Delgadillo named one of state's first 10 Culturekeepers

Angel Delgadillo, the Seligman barber who founded the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, has been selected as one of the state's first 10 "Culturekeepers."

The first 10 inductees to the Arizona Culturekeepers will be honored at a ceremony and photos and plaques will be exhibited in Culturekeepers hall of fame at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Phoenix.

Delgadillo grew up in Seligman when Route 66 was the main street and the only road west.

Dust bowl refugees of the 1930s were the first to migrate through Seligman and Kingman on the way to California.

When Interstate 40 bypassed Seligman in 1978, Delgadillo no longer had to wait to cross the street in Seligman.

He founded the Route 66 group and brought highway officials to tour Route 66 from Seligman to Topock.

They were successful in getting the highway dedicated as historic and maintained by the state.

The 16th annual Route 66 Fun Run will begin in Seligman on May 2, a continuing result of Delgadillo's pioneering efforts.

He will start the first of more than 700 cars heading to Kingman from his Seligman barbershop.

Delgadillo has been featured in a video, has an Internet site and was chosen winner of the John Steinbeck award for his efforts to keep the culture of Route 66 alive for future generations.

Another Culturekeeper inductee with Route 66 ties is Janice Griffith of the Old Trails Museum, part of the revitalization of downtown Winslow on Route 66.

Route 66 was once known as the Old Trails Highway.

Griffith was instrumental in the preservation and restoration of the famous La Posada Hotel, an early-day Harvey House on the Santa Fe Railway.

The ranching history of Arizona will be recognized with the naming of the Arizona State Cowbelles as a Culturekeeper.

The 64-year-old organization of wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of Arizona cattlemen have long promoted the cattle industry.

The first Cowbelles met in Douglas in 1939 as a social outlet during the Great Depression.

They are now a national organization that directs legislation, education and beef promotion.

"We are proud to acknowledge these men, women and organizations for their efforts to preserve and conserve Arizona's culture," historian Marshal Trimble said.

Trimble is the chairman of the Culturekeepers program.

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa and the Arizona Historical Foundation is sponsor of the program.