“The Stony Wold Motel, Kingman, Arizona is constrcuted entirely of black malapai stone, a volcanic stone found abundantly in colorful Arizona. Thoroughly fire proof. Interiors are luxuriously furnished in Monterey furniture with an emphasis on comfortable beds. Bathrooms are completely tiled. Every detail is designed for the comfort and convenience of the traveler. Approved by the American Automobile Association.”
In A Guide Book to Highway 66 published by Jack Rittenhouse in 1946 the Stony Wold was one of sixteen motels and two hotels listed as lodging options. Attesting to the role that Route 66 played in the local economy, Kingman had a population of 2,000 people that year.
The Era of Renaissance
Today both hotels noted by Rittenhouse still stand along Route 66. But the Brunswick and Beale no longer rent rooms. Shuttered for decades and poorly maintined, the once stately Beale faces an uncertain future. The Brunswick has been given a new lease on life and is currently being renovated.
The survival rate of authentic pre interstate highway era motels and auto courts is quite low. The World Monuments Fund noted that these are some of the most endangered properties on Route 66. Surprisingly three of the motels referenced by Rittenhouse still stand. Two of them still rent rooms. In addition there is a motel from 1929 and 1951, now apartments, in Kingman, and two motels from the mid to late 1950s.
Unfortunately the uniquely styled Stony Wold is not counted among the survivors. But is not forgotten. It survives in sepia toned post cards. And it lives on as fond memories with people like Jane Marie Hout whose father built the Stony Wold and other businesses in Kingman.
Sharing America’s Story
At Jim Hinckley’s America we tell people where to go. And we share America’s story. On the June 4th episode of Coffee With Jim our guest was Jane Marie Hout who talked about the Stony Wold Motel, her father’s epic trip to Arizona from New York during the Great Depression, and his many contributions to the development of Kingman.
The podcast was marred a bit by techinical difficulties in the opening minutes. But the free range conversation soon had my full attention, and that of the audience. It was a glimpse into life lived during mid century America. And it provided much needed detail for my ongoing work with Kingman Main Street that is developing a narrated historic disrict walking tour.
Scheduled for an upcoming episode of Coffee With Jim, is a conversation with Ron Clements, auhtor of A Sports Fan’s Guide to Route 66. Talk about the book alone should make for aninteresting half hour. But Ron’s story doesn’t stop there. He and his wife have lived the RV life for more than four years. They have traveled to all forty eight states, and Alaska.
In our quest to find interesting guests for the podcast, we meet some truly interesting and inspirational people. And as it turns out, we also inspire road trips and encourage people to look at this amazing country just a bit differently. Welcome to Jim Hinckley’s America.