LEGENDARY GUNFIGHTERS, TONG WARS, AND A SEARCH FOR ROUTE 66

In the morning we will resume shooting for the first video in the Jim Hinckley’s America series. The primary focus for the first installment is the search for the various alignments of Route 66 in the Kingman area, and the interesting personalities associated with this desert crossroads. 
One of the locations where will be filming is the last vestige of the old American Kitchen Restaurant, a building currently being demolished. On October 20, 1926, five members of the Bing Kng Tong kicked down the back door and entered the kitchen where Tom King, a Chinese immigrant and manager of the restaurant was peeling potatoes. 
King, associated with the rival Hop Sing Tong, died in a hail of bullets. The five assailants immediately fled west over the recently designated U.S. 66 with Mohave County Sheriff Mahoney and several deputies in pursuit. 
An intermittent running gun battle ensued. Near Topock the driver of the assailants car lost control and and all five suspects were immediately arrested. 
The shooting, and the subsequent trial that went as far as the Supreme Court, had far reaching implications. Surprisingly, the incident is now less than an historical footnote even in  Kingman. 
Another location is he Hotel Beale. The hotel has a long association with celebrities in Kingman including Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. However, its most famous association is with Andy Devine. 
In Kingman, Route 66 is signed as Andy Devine Avenue, an honorarium for the towns favorite son. The under sixty crowd may not be familiar with Andy Devine but for more than thirty years his distinctive gravely voice ensured a lengthy career as a character actor in hundreds of motion pictures, a pioneering television show, and even in an animated film by Walt Disney. However, what few know is that the Devine family played a key role in laying the foundation for Route 66. 
Initially, the course of the National Old Trails Highway followed that of the Trail to Sunset through New Mexico and Arizona, a pioneering automobile road mapped by A.L. Westgard. As an interesting historical footnote this trail had as its eastern terminus in Chicago the same intersection that would later serve as the eastern terminus for Route 66.
From Las Vegas New Mexico, in 1912, the National Old Trails Highway followed the Santa Fe Trail to Santa Fe, and then south to Albuquerque down La Bajada Hill. From Albuquerque the road continued south to Socorro, then west to Springerville in Arizona, before continuing southwest to Yuma where it linked with the Ocean to Ocean Highway.
A contingent of leading businessmen from Needles, California, and Kingman, Arizona that included Tom Devine, father of Andy Devine and owner of the Hotel Beale, attended the 1913 National Old Trails Highway convention. Armed with extensive documentation about road conditions, tourist attractions, available services, the railroad and other pertinent information, they swayed the convention with a very persuasive argument and as a result  the National Old Trails Highway was rerouted west across northern Arizona and through the Mojave Desert to Barstow.
The primary issue with this first project is how to get all of this information into a thirty minute format. In addition to these great stories there is also the towns association with Louis Chevrolet, Barney Oldfield, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, William Hardy, the Beale Camel Caravan …



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