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THE SUN SETS ON ANOTHER CHAPTER

I thought this stunning photo of a sunset taken from the hills above Route 66 directly to the east of the historic district in Kingman, Arizona, was rather illustrative of today’s brief post and trivia notes. According to a story in the Kingman Daily Miner it looks as though the historick Hotel Brunswick is about to again enter a period of hibernation, so the sun again sets on this historic structure and the on going eforts to make this block the crown jewel it once was.
Dating to 1909, this historic hotel is a key component in the restoration of the historic district. So, its impending closure represnts a set back in the ongoing efforts to breathe new life into that area.
For years the upper stories of the hotel were empty or served as storage rooms. Only the bar and the restaurant, then signed as the El Mohave Cafe, were utilized.
In the 1990’s the property was purchased by the Davis’s and after more than thirty years the hotel was reopened. It was my privelege to photographically document several aspects of the restoration and that often gave me the impression I was witnessing the opening of a long sealed time capsule.
The hotels time in the spotlight was brief and it again closed shortly after rennovations were completed. Sporadic starts and stops led to the current point where it it appears the ghosts in this venerable old hotel will again have the place to themselves.
With the exception of the old Lovin building on the corner of Fourth Street this block remained intact until quite recently. Now the restaurant next to the Beale Hotel, formerly a Chinese restaurant and the scene of a brutal tong inspired gun battle during the 1920’s as well as one of the oldest commercial structures in Kingman, is gone.
The Beale Hotel is still empty and pigeons make use of the broken windows. To the west the Nighthawk Saloon, the Sump, an underground bar, and the adjacent stores are also empty.
At the opposite end of the block, on the corner of Third Street, the Desert Drug, Frontier Bar, and Frontier Cafe have been replaced with a parking lot.
The Old Trails Garage, dating to about 1913, awaits its fate. Formerly a Chandler, Jeep, and even Packard facility plans are underway to restore the towering neon Packard sales and service sign for the front of the building and add a mural to the west side.
With the closure of the Brunswick only one operating business will remain, the Sportsman’s Bar. This is a true survivor from territorial days with an interior that appears as a smoke stained, dusky time capsule.
One step backward, two steps forward. That has been the story of the historic district rennovation for the past dozen years or so. Lets hope that continues in 2010.

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