Thursday, April 5, 2012

Salome Cafe / Cactus Bar - Arizona

destroyed by fire, July 10, 2011

Salome Arizona looses a piece of history

The historic Sheffler's Cafe, recently known as the Cactus Bar and Salome Cafe were totally destroyed by fire in a mid-morning fire on July 10, 2011.

Salome Cafe / Cactus Bar

 It wasn't till December of 2011 that I actually found out about this sad news. I know it's an old story, but wanted to share some things about one of those spots folks consider out in the middle of nowhere that for brief moments when traveling in times past was a major part of my life when going on roadtrips. For 20+ years when traveling up to see friends and family in Prescott ('We Call It Preskit') Arizona we always made it a point of stopping in Salome and having a meal or at least some coffee at really the only cafe for miles around. Walking in side the place was like stepping back into time. Somewhere back into the 1940s time that is. The decor and everything else was authentic from that era. Unfortunately no doubt, so was the kitchen where the whole fire thing probably started. 
The building itself was an old styled Adobe with no doubt 16 inch thick walls. Never had air-conditioning as it had those thick walls and Swamp cooler which gave another real feel and flavour for the time warp thingy. The food was typical American country Diner food which never changes. Why change or fix when it's not broken - *grinning*  Salome is no doubt alot like other small towns with the usual big fish in the small pond who are always read about in local paper, the usual town characters and difficult to deal with folks on the outskirts who gets a visit from the local Sheriff once a year or so. 
I remember there use to be an old Texico Station across the street from the Cafe with much of the same old style desert town fixtures which stay the same , signage and all. Mostly along the old Route 60 highway you see a collect of once long time gone bustling roadside businesses long since dead, but Salome survived and folks seem to continue to make a go of it out there. No doubt helped by Snow Bird winter traffic which adds to the income of the area. There are alot of neat little towns or roadside stop communities along the way coming or going like Brenda, Hope, Harcuvar, Aguila or Wenden which is probably the next biggest town along the way. But if there was a capitol city to Harcuvar Valley it would be Salome, AZ & it's official Courthouse would be the Salome Cafe &Cactus Bar
When traveling through the area and often in the summer (July/August) we'd leave Indio CA around 5:00pm and by the time we'd hit the Colorado River there would be these massive majestic looking Thunderheads displaying their drive-in theater light show for us as we drove on to parts east & north. What an entertaining natural wonderment that was and by the time we'd hit the Salome/Wenden areas the rain would be pouring down. Sometimes so hard that you couldn't see a thing and had to pull over to allow the storm to pass. Once pulled over I'd wait for the lightning and downpour to ease a bit and step out into a desert atmosphere which was permeated with the heavy fragrance of the local common Creosote Brush. You've never experienced a natural refreshing exhilarating high until you've breathed deep and inhaled  the scent of rain soaked native desert scrub. 
I don't really know what it is about out of the way lonely places that I'm attracted to and want to live some day. I've kind of always been that way. I do hate the hustle and bustle of any city life no matter what that city is in the world. I admit it, I hate most all cities anywhere in the world. Now I'm stuck in a sort of industrial one with a lot of generic Scandinavian classless tasteless architecture built in the 60s and heavily influenced by old Soviet era Housing Projects. The longest I've lived in one spot was a small town called Anza California and that was 10 miles outside of that little town. Looked thru some picture archives and found some historical photos I'd like to share.
Many of the photos come from Steve Garufi who has some excellent bike riding adventures across the country, which Arizona being one of them. Here are his links:

It was originally called Sheffler's Cafe back in the 1950s

The next picture is more of what I remember it looking like

and the road leading to Salome, Wenden, Aguila & beyond 

US Route 60 passes through a lot of little communities

 Town Sign before coming into the town of Salome

Sheffler's Motel is still to be found across the street

Motel Motor Court Yard

Don't be fooled by this next picture of downtown Salome , it's really not as busy as it looks

Other things they do in Salome's Cactus Bar
Much credit for my info comes from the local News source there AZ Outback and there is also a Facebook page for the documenting of the rebuilding of the Salome Cafe & Cactus Bar here with loads of photos: 

If you'd like to visit Salome Arizona but can't afford it or it's just too dang far out of the way, try connecting with Google-Earth and take a drive on Hwy Route 60. It's actually pretty kool as you can literally travel the countryside along that same route from Interstate 10, stop and pan the cameras around when you wish and in a virtual sense experience what we've been telling you about for the past ten minutes or so.



  1. I like outposts like that...even though the coffee is weak (as well as the beer), they have hearty food and good characters there. Shady stops out of the searing sun. Character that is not easy to find, especially in many sterile spaces. The one in Anza looks interesting, too!

    1. This place was pretty kool in that it was an old Authentic 16" Adobe Walled building on the outside and even as long as it's been there since last year, they never once upgraded from old Swamp Cooler to modern Air Conditioning. Breakfast were good. Like New Meixco where every local Greasy-Spoon and off the beaten track Roadhouse advertises on those handpainted road signs how they have the best Sourdough Biscuits and gravey, this place was no different except they did have great breakfasts and excellent Mexican Food.

      If you see their Facebook page, they have lots of photos showing the restoration is moving right along. It appears that the Adobe Walls stood the test of fire. They should have because they were built like a fortress. Their biggest Holiday is famous author Dick Wick Hall Days. It's kinds of like New Mexico's town of Fort Sumner claiming Billy the Kid as their own. LOL

  2. Love to watch the humming birds in my little yard in Palm Springs, when I am there in winter. So fearless! Sadly there are none in the UK! Used to grow Zauschneria when I ran my nursery - pretty little plant but brittle. I used to take batches of it to plant sales and customers would pull a plant out to examine and - woops - half the stems would snap off and they'd stuff it back and walk away! I stopped growing it for sale but its a good plant for a warm sheltered spot.

    1. Thanks Ian

      Puzzeling that your comment went herein the Salome Cafe/Cactus Bar post than in the Hummingbird section. Oh well.

      I miss the Hummingbirds also. I live in Göteborg Sweden and they don't have them here either. I have spoken to Africans who say some are present there. It was always a joy to plant with various wildlife in mind.

      Thanks, again , Kevin

  3. A lot of the photos you used are from my bike across USA journal. Truly, it's not that big of a deal, but a reference with a link would be appreciated.

    I'm sad to learn the cafe burned down. Real sad. :(



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