100 Years

On Beale Street, one block off Route 66, a renaissance is infusing the historic business district with an infectious vibrancy. ©Jim Hinckley’s America

A centennial is 100 years. In 2026 the most famous highway in the United States, iconic Route 66, the Main Street of America, will be 100 years old, and people from throughout the world are already making plans for a pilgramage to celebrate this centennial milestone. And communities beween Chicago and Santa Monica are hard at work to capitalize on what promises to be America’s longest block party.

But there will be another historic event to celebrate as well. In 2026, unless the modern incarnation of the 1850s Know Nothing party succeeds in burning the place down. It will be the semiquincentennial, the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

This historic milestone will give communities another reason to celebrate. And for the event organizer, or community leader, with vision, ambition, passion and the ability to build cooperative partnerships, the two anniversaries will provide unprecendented opportunities.

Welcome To Kingman

On Beale Street an unfolding renaissance is infusing the historic heart of Kingman, Arizona with an infectious vibrancy. Just in time for the forthcoming anniversaries, that transformation is now sweeping along Andy Devine Avenue, iconic Route 66, and surrounding residential neighborhoods. It is almost as though the hands of time are being turned back.

Passionate entrepreneurs that recognize the opportunities are giving derelict buildings a new lease on life. The City of Kingman has launched an expansive downtown infrastructure improvement project that will make the area pedestrian friendly without impeding traffic. Organizations such as Kingman Main Street are developing projects such as the innovative narrated self guided walking tour. A thriving arts community is being manifest in events, in new galleries, and in the restoration of the Beale Street Theatre as a performing arts center.

Destination Kingman

Visitors are taking notice, and the city is on the cusp of becoming a destination. Roberto Rossi, an Italian travel journalist recently paid a visit to Kingman. He noted, “Ho avuto la fortuna di visitare Kingman insieme al mio amico James Hinckley che ci ha portati alla scoperta degli angoli nascosti di questa splendida cittadina.” “I was lucky enough to visit Kingman with my friend James Hinckley who took us to discover the hidden corners of this beautiful city.”

And he listed a few things that make Kingman unique.

“2. Downtown Kingman – Walking through historic downtown Kingman is a time trip. Admire the historic buildings and enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants, many of which keep Route 66’s golden years spirit.
3. Events and Festivals – Kingman is known for its events along Route 66, including the “Andy Devine Days Rodeo” and the monthly “Chillin’ on Beale Street,” which offers live entertainment, vintage cars and delicious food.”

The Centennial And Beyond

As we draw closer to the mega anniversary celebrations in 2026, event organizers will have an opportunity to provide the visitor with an authentic experience that is a primary attraction for visitors. And by 2026, with completion of the theatre renovation, the infrastructure project, and facade renovations, organizers of popular events such as The Original Chillin on Beale will have an opportunity to create multifacted marketing. They will be able to showcase the diverse array of restaurants, microbreweries, and historic architecture as well as attractions such as the narrated self guided tour developed by Kingman Main Street.
A diverse array of events held in the historic heart of the city will further fuel the renaissance in the historic heart of Kingman. That will ensure Kingman is a destination for visitors, for entrepreneurs and people looking for opportunity to the Route 66 centennial and beyond.
As Kingman is my adopted hometown, and the foundation for Jim Hinckley’s America, it has been a distinct honor to play a role in the transformation. And it has me looking toward the future with eager anticipation.