First, your Route 66 trivia note of the day. Today, Route 66 fans instantly associate Hackberry with the general store that fronts the highway. The town itself, with its little post office, an old boarding house, a couple of tumble down houses, a scenic cemetery, the school, and the water towers that once served the needs of steam locomotives, and the original alignment of Route 66 as well as the National Old Trails Highway is south of the tracks.
When the school closed in Hackberry twenty-five years ago it marked the end of an era. This was the last two room school house in Arizona.
In recent years this old town has been front and center of a environmental storm as the hillsides are stripped of rocks for landscaping. Residential development also threatens to erase the ghostly remnants of this old town.
It taxes the imagination to see the town that once was so prosperous there was serious consideration for making it the county seat. Of course that was more a hundred and twenty years ago.
The springs shaded by a Hackberry tree near the town site were an important dependable year round source of water for the Hualapai people. They also quenched the thirst of the Father Garces expedition of 1776.
American trappers used the springs in the 1830s and American expeditions led by Sitgreaves stopped here before turning south to follow the small river that flows through present day Wikieup before turning west to the Colorado River. The famous Beale Camel Corps also stopped here on the mapping expedition that served as the foundation for the westward expansion of the railroad.
During the 1860s and 1870s the springs became an important stop for travelers on the Mohave Prescott Toll Road that linked Hardyville, near present day Bullhead City, with Fort Whipple at Prescott. The discovery of a rich silver deposit near the springs sparked a rush and the founding of Hackberry.
The ore deposits were exhausted rather quickly but the waters from the springs was more valuable than gold in the harsh desert climate. This and the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s gave the town a new lease on life as supply center for area ranches and mines.
By the turn of the century Kingman had eclipsed Hackberry and the old town began a precipitous slide that was briefly held in check with the establishment of the National Old Trails Highway and then Route 66. Realignment to the north of the tracks in the 1930s and then the bypass of Route 66 served as the death knell for the town of Hackberry.
If you are fascinated by ghost towns like Hackberry I suggest Ghost Towns of the Southwest as an addition for your travel planning library.

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