Snowdrift Art Space in the former Babbitt's Department Store
The Babbitt Brothers of Flagstaff operated their first Winslow branch store on Front (now First) Street from 1897 to 1914. In 1914, they moved the business into the new Hubbard building at 120 West Second Street and Warren Avenue, now the home of Snowdrift Art Space.
Built by businessman George E. Hubbard as the new Babbitt Brothers Mercantile, the largest single building in Winslow to date was typical of local commercial architecture prior to World War I, boasting thick masonry walls, a slightly pitched roof with parapets, and a boxy shape that maximized space and minimized construction costs.
The business featured an open storefront to attract customers, a main sales floor, a partial mezzanine level, a three-story reinforced steel and concrete vault, and a concrete basement that could house fifty-four carloads of goods. “Without exception, this building is one of the largest and most modern business structures erected to date in Northern Arizona…" (Winslow Mail, 8-22-1914)
In 1926, the section of the transcontinental National Old Trails Highway that passed through downtown Winslow on Second Street became part of the newly-commissioned US Route 66, and Babbitt’s Department Store was now located on the “Main Street of America.” On May 11, 1951, Babbitt’s held a grand re-opening after a modernization and beautification remodel, with all sixty-one employees on hand to staff an additional 4,400 square feet of retail space. Departments ranged from groceries, hardware, and Indian goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, and alterations.
In 1953, Winslow City Council made Route 66 a two-way highway to ease traffic jams through downtown, with Second Street running eastbound and Third Street running westbound. The Babbitts opened a modern “Babbitt Thriftway” grocery at West Third and Prairie Avenue in 1955 and used the former grocery space in the Second Street building for furniture and appliances.
By 1981, Babbitt’s moved the department store to the Third Street location as well, and Winslow residents Pete and Helen Madrid purchased the Hubbard Building. The Madrids opened P&H Enterprises in the former department store, which sold western wear, Whirlpool appliances, and Goodyear tires. They closed the business in the early 1990s, and the building changed hands several times before ultimately falling into disrepair.
In 2002, sculptor Dan Lutzick purchased the building, began renovations, and renamed it Snowdrift Art Space after the old “Perfect Shortening” advertisement still visible on the exterior east wall. Now the gallery, studio, and home of Dan and Ann-Mary Lutzick, Snowdrift Art Space houses an extensive collection of Dan’s work and is open to the public for guided tours by appointment.
Entry submitted by the Lutzicks of Snowdrift Art Space, www.snowdriftart.com