After more than a decade of frustrating setbacks, exciting plans that melted faster than ice on the Fourth of July in Oatman, and watching opportunities to transform Kingman made manifest in the resurgent interest in Route 66 slip away, it is looking as though the year 2013 will be a year of tremendous resurgence. The proverbial Phoenix is about to rise from the ashes. For years the time capsule Hilltop Motel, 1956, was the travelers only option when it came to vintage lodging choices. Then refurbishment of he El Trovatore Motel commenced.
Sam Frisher, owner of the historic El Trovatore Motel built in 1939 (928-753-6520), is now adding the final touches to what he hopes will be the world’s longest Route 66 map, the latest in a series of colorful murals that is transforming the old motel into a photographers paradise. In addition, he is launching his Legendary Route 66 Adventure Tour, a day trip enterprise on the 15th of this month.
In addition to offering pick up from Las Vagas, group rates, and special discounts will also be available. The initial tour will be from Kingman to Seligman with stops at sites pertaining to the Kingman Army Airfield, the Hackberry General Store, Grand Canyon Caverns, and the Route 66 Museum at the Powerhouse visitor center.
A proposed secondary tour being discussed would focus on ghost towns as well as Route 66. This tour would include Hackberry, Oatman, and Chloride as well as the scenic site of Fort Beale, a pivotal location in area history as well as an important link to the history of the Beale Wagon Road of the 1850s.
Either tour will be made available in one of two packages. One will feature just the tour itself while the second would include a night at the El Trovatore Motel as well as breakfast at the Hot Rod Cafe.
For the November/December issue of 66 The Mother Road, John and Judy Springs are planning two new features; a real estate section and a pilot feature, a community profile insert as a printable PDF file. The first community selected for the profile feature will be Kingman.
Of course the Springs are also sponsoring the Big Palooza contest with winners to be announced at Cuba Fest in October. One of the grand prizes will be a gift basket that contains everything needed for a free weekend in Kingman from lodging and meals to souvenirs and wine. http://kdminer.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=52149
The old Hotel Beale may be hovering between a future and transformation into a memory but plans are moving forward on the Brunswick Hotel and the owner is looking for someone to lease the soon to be renovated restaurant, as well as someone to manage the hotel. If you have ever dreamed of having a business on Route 66 this is your golden opportunity. For more information contact Brenda Marker at 928-263-6250.
My dearest friend and I have been asked to create a photo exhibit portraying the Route 66 corridor from Chicago to Santa Monica for the lobby wall. In addition we have received permission to utilize a section of the lobby to create a window display and expand on my current “unofficial Route 66 visitor center.”
At this time my office, which is also a small museum, serves in this capacity. In addition to providing brochures for Route 66 attractions such as Afton Station, the Wigwam Motel, and Pontiac, Illinois, I meet with tour groups to answer questions and speak about Route 66 after hours, and sign books as well as provide information for folks on the road passing through Kingman.
With use of the Brunswick lobby I can expand on the amount of material made available, meet with larger groups, and my dearest friend and I can provide general information about the area as well as answer questions about Route 66. The plan is to have much of this in place before Christmas.
Josh Noble, the area tourism director, is expanding the Route 66 in Arizona geocache program. In addition, he is moving toward completion of a Route 66 in Mohave County based exhibit for the mezzanine of the Powerhouse Visitor Center. This will be a permanent exhibit and is a state centennial project.
Another project that Josh is involved with is the creation of the world’s largest Route 66 museum. In essence the idea is to recreate the pre-interstate highway Route 66 corridor in Kingman by reproducing post cards and historic photos, adding a descriptor as well as a QR code linked to a site for more information, and placing them at the site from which the picture was taken.
To date, more than fifty post cards have been scanned. The next step is to find a feasible way to reproduce the images, with QR code, and mount them in a uniform manner.
The goal is to produce and mount these in groups of ten. A target date for the installment of the first groups will be by the date of the annual Route 66 Fun Run.
In Kingman, the Phoenix rises. In Kingman, the transformation of the community into the crossroads of the past and future is on the horizon.