I spent a great deal of the morning digging deep into the photo archives at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts in Kingman. The goal was to find some never before published photos of Oatman, Goldroad, Truxton, Hackberry, and Valentine for the new book, Ghost Towns of Route 66. The primary challenge in endeavors such as these is to not get lost on the multitude of fascinating rabbitt trails that are always found buried in the files. Today it was particularly difficult to stay focused as I stumbled into a collection of photos taken by Marion Tenney and Bessie Hood on their epic western adventure in 1925. Apparently these two adventuresome young ladies ran into trouble on the west side of Sitgreaves Pass above Goldroad when they missed a curve and drove off the road. After the photo of their car (1920 Dodge?), intact and upright but with a broken front axle, in the rocks below the highway were a number of photos showing where they stayed in Goldroad, the garage where it was repaired, and the mechanics posing with the finished product. For my purposes I selected a great photo showing main street (the National Old Trails Highway) in Hackberry circa 1916, and another of the 1952 ribbon cutting ceremony for the Black Mountain bypass that transformed Route 66 in western Arizona into a four lane highway through Yucca. However, the most fascinating photo discovered was a promotional shot of a Vellie on the National Old Trails Highway in downtown Oatman circa 1920. Apparently the photo was taken in conjunction with teh cross country promotional drive of this Vellie. The detail is fascinating. The Vellie is loaded with all manner of ropes, tents, tools, camping gear. It is coated with mud and dust as are the goggled driver and passenger.Oatman is a narrow canyon of two and three story buildings. In the background is the looming Elephant’s Tooth and the head frames for a large mine. On the street are trucks, cars, and horse drawn wagons. The remainder of the morning was consumed at the office, in running errands for my mother and in discussions with an archives in Oklahoma pertaining to photos of Bridgeport. Counted among the many items to be addressed this afternoon and evening are captions for Arizona photos, work on the launching of a Facebook group, Destination Kingman, and work on photos for a commercial account. Our initial work for the latter was not accepted. However, our Sunday afternoon photo excursion netted some interesting shots, in spite of near gale force winds, and allowed us to narrow the focus in regards to what the customer is needing. This photo was taken near Fort Beal just off U.S. 93, northwest of Kingman. I had hoped to capture the snow covered Hualapai Mountains as a backdrop but the winds and resultant dust negated all attempts.
IN THE HOME STRETCH