Nickerson Farms Family Restaurant stood abandoned for decades before the structure finally collapsed in late 2013. I decided to stop and have a look at the ruins since they were just off the freeway. I’m glad I did because there were two more abandoned places adjacent to it. The restaurant lay in a huge pile of rubble, but the red pavilion next to it was still standing. And as an added bonus, a decaying billboard.
The Nickerson Farms franchise-operated from the 1960s until the early ’80s. At one point there as many as 60 locations, most of which were along interstate freeways in the Midwest. The franchise was born when a former franchisee of Stuckey’s convenience stores decided he was fed up with the rules and regulations and struck out on his own. Each Nickerson Farms consisted of a restaurant, gas station, and gift shop that sold honey made from bees on site. They even had a window into the beehive so customers could watch the bees as they went about their business.
Next door to the ruins of Nickerson Farms is the remains of another local attraction, The Picacho Peak Trading Post.
The place burned down in 2002. A neighbor, who witnessed a sudden flash just as the fire broke out, attempted to fight the blaze with a garden hose until firefighters arrived. Attempts to save the trading post were unsuccessful. Now all that remains is a stone foundation and part of the legs of the giant statue the once welcomed customers.
In the back of the property stands an abandoned trailer home, presumably the former home of the owners of Pichaco Peak Trading Post. The place was in rough shape and the possessions left behind by the previous residents were scattered on the floor.
Just down the street is Arizona Nut House, a cute touristy shop that appears to have been vacated somewhat recently. Thick bars cover every door and window. Remarkably, all the window panes were still intact.
A semi trailer sat on the property, presumably containing furniture and supplies from the shop. But when I peered through the windows, I saw that most of the fixtures still remained inside the store.
I headed toward Tucson, stopping to appreciate an abandoned restaurant and the beautiful sunset. The place isn’t entirely abandoned. Apparently a band is using it as a practice space.
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