With the exception of the post card from Bisbee these photos are from the Mohave Museum of History and Arts in Kingman. Fig Springs Station was located on Route 66 a few miles from the eastern slope of the Black Mountains. When Jack Rittenhouse made his fact finding drive along Route 66 in the 1940s the station was abandoned. When we moved to this part of the country in 1966 the station was gone having burned years before. Still, there were extensive ruins of which the most notable was a play house built as an exact replica of the station. Today concrete slabs and the fuel island are all that remain. Photographs as well as post cards are more than mere time capsules, they are portals into a moment long past. As such they are truly priceless treasures.
Look at the detail of the Oatman photo taken about 1938. The glory days of the mines was over but the realignment of Route 66 was more than a decade in the future so the community still had a vitality. You may click on the photos to enlarge.
The Bisbee post card is post marked 1941. By this time the town had shaken off the wild and wooly frontier era and had settled into the comfortable roll of prosperous, rock solid community with a future.
This has long been one of my favorite haunts. As such it will be profiled in detail in my forthcoming book, Ghost Towns of the Southwest. It will also be where we will celebrate our 25Th anniversary and, maybe, someday call home.
July in Kingman is often pretty warm with afternoon temperatures pushing 110 degrees. Still, it is one of my favorite times of the year as it is when the monsoon season usually kicks in.
The towering majesty of the thunderheads that cast long shadows over the desert plains as they rise above the mountains, the whipping winds with a tantalizing smell of rain that precedes the actual storm, and the clean, fresh sky that follows make summer storms on the desert a truly entrancing experience. This is but one of many reasons why it is so difficult for me to imagine ever living anywhere but among the sand, the sage, the rocks and wild, sun scorched places.
The deadline is fast approaching for Ghost Towns of the Southwest and I feel more than hear the clock ticking. Still, there is an order to priorities that needs to be followed.
Wednesday evening Harlan Dennis, pastor of a church in Peach Springs, called and asked if I would handle the services on Sunday as he had a family emergency. So, bright and early Sunday morning I headed east on Route 66 to Peach Springs with eager anticipation.
Though my dear wife was unable to go the drive, as always, was a pleasant one with most of the traffic heading west. By the time I arrived in Peach Springs the coulds were building heavily over the mountains to the east and there was a tantalizing hint of rain in the air.
A caretaker for the church arrived to unlock the doors a few minutes before the service was to begin and as the swamp cooler had been off for several days we chose to open both front and back door as well use the ceiling fan. As the storm drew closer the temperature began to drop and we were blessed with a delightful breeze that swept through the church.
I brought my camera equipment in the hope there would be time for photos after church on the return trip. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, mostly scenes that I could play with utilizing photo shop.
One of these is the new photo at the top of the page. This was taken from Route 66 as it climbs through Truxton Canyon. The other photos are of an original alignment of Route 66 east of Truxton, an old service station in Truxton, down tow Peach Srings on Route 66, and the ruins of a school in Valentine.
Speaking of Truxton it looks as though the old wrecking yard there is being cleaned out. Hopefully the cars are avoiding the crusher.
All in all it was a pleasant day, a day to reflect, a day to make new memories on the old double 6.
The Octauto was the brainchild of Milton O. Reeves, truly an independent thinker. The concept behind this, as well as the six wheeled wonder that followed, was that tires would last longer as the weight each tire carried was halved with an eight wheeled configuration. This was not Reeves first automotive endeavor or his most prosperous. Before stretching this Overland to a wheelbase of 180 inches he had manufactured a line of rather conventional vehicles between 1905 and 1910. His primary business was the manufacture of pulleys and pulley systems. One of these, a variable speed transmission that utilized a series of tapered pulleys, was the initial inspiration for his automotive endeavors. In 1896, he built a motorized wagon as a promotional device for his VST. The wagon garnered much publicity, none of it favorable. The noise was more than an acceptable irritant to the residents of Richmond, Indiana, and it terrified horses. Reeves rectified the former problem with the development of a muffler, the first known use of such a device for automotive application. In an effort to resolve the latter he acquired a paper mache horse from an area blacksmith, sawed off everything behind the front shoulder and mounted the front portion to his car. The head and neck also served as a cover for the fuel tank! Reeves and the Octauto will be profiled in a forthcoming Independent Thinker column I write for Cars & Parts.