THE THING

1950's MOJAVE HWY 91 CALIFORNIA

 

 

Prince and his wife Janet opened their first Thing? roadside attraction and curio shop on Highway 91 between Barstow and Baker, until the expansion of the road into an interstate brought about the loss of the building. In 1965 the Prince family packed up The Thing? and moved to the current location. A heart condition and several strokes led to Prince's death in 1969 at the age of 56.

 

The Thing? is is now located just off I-10 at Exit 322 on a hilltop between Benson and Willcox, near Texas Canyon, at 2631 North Johnson Road in Dragoon. On the south side of the highway, the attraction is part of a large gas station and gift shop complex painted red, yellow and blue. Amid the bows and arrows, moccasins, baseball caps, velvet paintings and turquoise jewelry, the gift shop also sells The Thing? shot glasses and T-shirts. Suggestions have been made to management to sell bumper stickers for proud Thing? veterans.

 

Syndicated columnist Stan Delaplane traced The Thing? back to 1950. Janet Prince, who later moved to Baltimore, was interviewed by Delaplane in 1956 and told him, "Man came through here about six years ago. He had three of them he got somewhere. He was selling them for $50." Today, the attraction is operated by an Albuquerque-based company, Bowlins, Inc., which owns several roadside trading posts throughout the Southwest.

 

 


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