Angel Delgadillo - A man and his life for Route 66:
A Master`s shave for motorcycle travelers
Coburg, April 26, 2011
He is 84 years old but he doesn`t look it: Angel Delgadillo - having worked for 46 years as a barber in the town Seligman in Arizona - home of 450 inhabitants and situated at the historical setting of the famous east-west connection between Chicago and Los Angeles, commonly known as Route 66. Countless memorabilia and the song „Get Your Kicks On Route 66“ have been dedicated to it. Not only Americans, but visitors from all over the world - many of them on Harley-Davidson motorcycles - love the changing history of the route. And they like to stop at Delgadillos former barbershop now a gift shop and museum, where Angel Delgadillo together with his wife Vilma still welcomes visitors now and then.
When Angel Delgadillo was born on April 19th 1927 the US-government was busy connecting roads and streets in order to build an east-west connection between Chicago and Los Angeles. Finally the new highway added up to a total of 2448 miles. Delgado`s family refused the temptation to go further west - as many others in the days of the Great Depression. But they were rewarded when traffic in the 50’s became a source of life for Seligman and later a cherished travel destination. „People need people“; this is a guideline for Angel Delgadillo in devoting himself to the visitors and with the advice for his fellow citizens in Seligman to do so also.
Even Hermann Reuther, manager of the motorcycle tour organization REUTHER-ENTERTAINMENTS, has been lucky to meet Angel Delgadillo in person on his tours. „Angel Delgadillo is the „Icon of Route 66“ for me“, the Harley-Davidson enthusiast explains. And he is also honored by the friendly terms they are on. His special pride is the nickname „Hermann the German“ that Delgadillo gave him. „Meanwhile it has become cult that someone from our group receives an original barber’s shave“, Reuther tells. „You’ll be Mister Baby Face“, Angel Delgadillo says as he takes pride in his work and does his job with a calm hand especially for wearers of heavy beards. Afterwards some of the accompanying wives thought they had a totally new husband in front of them.
Delgadillo accepted the challenge when the Route 66 was replaced by the Interstate Highway System. He was one of the founders of the „Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona“ and achieved the goal protecting the Route 66 as a historical highway in 1987. Since then he has become somewhat the unofficial spokesman of the Route 66 and carries the title „Guardian Angel of Route 66“. Hopefully he will be present in Seligman for a long time in order to sharpen his knife on his leather belt for special participants of Reuthers Motorcycle Tours.
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