By Tracy McNew
If you visit the Winslow, Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s website, the photo on their homepage is of a street corner on Route 66. In the center of that picture is a bronze sculpture by Libby artist, Ron Adamson.
His sculpture depicts a man “standin’ on the corner.” A reference taken directly from the Eagles song, Take It Easy.
The song made Winslow famous in 1972, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s, after economic hard times hit, and I-40 had routed traffic around the city instead of through it, that Winslow decided to memorialize a corner from that Eagles song.
Now, twenty years after he built it, Adamson’s bronze sculpture of a man standin’ on the corner is the centerpiece for Winslow, Arizona’s famous Standin’ on the Corner Park that attracts tourists from around the globe.
Behind Adamson’s statue, the scene is completed with a mural of “a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look,” at the statue. It is such a fine sight to see, and thousands agree.
In fact, a 2015 LA Times article about “The Corner,” estimated that 100,000 tourists visit the site annually.
The Winslow chamber’s website calls it, “the most famous corner of Historic Route 66.”
Ron Adamson calls it “surreal.”
Adamson visited Winslow on Sept. 28 and 29 to take part in their 20th annual Standing on the Corner Festival, and he got to witness first hand, just how famous his statue has become. The impact, he said, was powerful.
Twenty years ago, Adamson recalled, he managed the entire sculpting project himself with just a little help from his sons Jeff and Dustin, and some metal grinding by another young man named Josh Ricketts.
“It really was my baby for more than a year,” he told The Montanian. “So when I stood and really studied the statue and looked at how it was worn smooth on both shoulders, and the hand holding the guitar, it seemed like I was reunited with one of my sons.”
This was, Adamson shared, the first time that he’s actually felt an emotional attachment to a piece of his art.
Adamson stayed with Winslow resident and Libby native, Dale Mansfield during his visit. The two knew each other’s families growing up, but didn’t really become friends until Mansfield moved to Winslow. The statue was what brought them together.
Mansfield told The Montanian, that the day after he moved to Winslow he was having coffee when someone found out that he was from Libby and asked about Adamson. They soon reconnected on Facebook and have become close friends.
Mansfield said, “Ron had zero idea of how important and indeed world-famous his sculpture was until he saw it for himself.”
During the festival, Mansfield’s wife had 100 photos of Adamson printed for him to autograph, and they were gone in less than four hours. “He was treated like a celebrity, but he did not act like one,” Mansfield said.
Adamson plans to continue taking it easy here in Libby for the foreseeable future. He will continue to travel to art shows though, and he now plans to make a point of driving the 21 hours to Winslow every year for their Standin’ on the corner Festival.
Contact Ron on Facebook to learn more, check out his other art, or to purchase a mini Standin’ on the Corner statue of your own for $3,000.
Ron Adamson stands gazing at his now world-famous, “Standin’ on the Corner” statue in Winslow, Arizona during his visit in September for their 20th annual Standin’ on the Corner Festival. He had to get up early in the morning just to avoid the crowds. Photo courtesy of Ron Adamson.