Kingman Travel Guide, Arizona
Located between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, Kingman has been for many years viewed by those who stopped there on their way to cross the desert, as more than just a crossing point, a town worth spending a couple of days.
Of course at first people came in town mostly to get provisions for their journey and most of the people still see it as a simple stopover but if you have some time to spare you will get to discover its history.
The town came into existence as a railroad town when in the early 1880s, because gold and silver were discovered in the nearby hills, the railroad decided to extend its tracks to the area. As for many other towns that began their life this way, he railroad brought prosperity and the chance to become bigger and more developed. The fact that it was also near the National Old Trails Highway, the precursor of Route 66, was also to its advantage. It still didn’t develop as much as other railroad and gold rush towns did. Maybe because of poor investments and Las Vegas being close by has attracted most investments.
The nearby towns of Oatman and Chloride had basically the same fate. Even if they boomed as gold mining towns until the 1920s, when the mines became unprofitable not many of those who became rich stayed to help the town prosper. Today gold mining is still operational, but does not bring in much profit. The towns have tried to turn towards tourism as the main income generator operating tours of the gold mines and trying to focus on and develop what they have: a fairly long history and the longest extant stretch of historic Route 66.
Many have walked this road on their way to Los Angeles in search for a good job and a better life and Kingman was on the way. Their stopover was to the benefit of the town. Today people come to look for what has remained of the historic Route 66, now replaced by I-40 and here they can find the longest bit stretching from Kingman to Ash Fork. The Route 66 Museum came into being to provide more information to those interested in the history of the Road. The exhibits track the history of Rout 66 and include all roads that preceded it. The displays include a Studebaker Champion, an "Okie" truck, mock-ups of a gas station, diner, hotel lobby, and barbershop and a collection of old photos.
The town's many interesting historic buildings are located downtown. Many of them date from the railroading heyday and give the place the look and feel of the city’s past. These buildings are the town’s main attraction and since there is little else you can do you might as well visit them and learn about the local history. A good place to start with is the Mohave Museum of History and Arts then continue with a tour of the Bonelli House dating 1915. It is an interesting historic home containing much of the original furniture.
Andy Devine’s fans are welcomed to visit the room in the local museum where his memory lives on. The locals cherish his memory and they even named a street after him and celebrate his memory during Andy Devine Days that take place in September.
There is still something for those who want to spend a few more days in the area as the Hualapai Mountain Park offers numerous possibilities for outdoor recreation at an elevation of 7,000 feet. You can go hiking, camping and even just for a picnic. Accommodation is available at the rustic rental cabins built in the 1930s. You can choose to have an excursion in one of the nearby classic Wild West ghost towns of Oatman and Chloride and visit the place where many films were shot.
Kingman is the ideal place for a relaxing vacation with the opportunity to discover the history of the place or to experience a great area to camp.
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