Surprise Discoveries & A Bit of Exploration

Surprise Discoveries & A Bit of Exploration

Moving buildings from the Kingman Army Airfield to Kingman. Photo Mohave Museum of History & Arts

Kingman, Arizona has a long and colorful aviation history. Each chapter has led to a number of diverse contributions to the community. In 1919 the Gulf-to-Pacific Squadron set up to use the airfield in Kingman, roughly the location of Mountain View Cemetery on Stockton Hill Road today, as a base for a series of historic flights over the Grand Canyon. From High in Desert Skies by William Kalt III, “On February 24, 1919 locals provide “70 high-test” gasoline and Mobil “B” oil for the aircraft and Lt. Jones pilots a history making aerial exploration of Arizona’s spectacular chasm.”

“Returning to Kingman, the aviators attempt to fly above a fierce wind, but the capricious currents play mean all the way. After landing, Lt. Searle telegraphs Arizona Governor Thomas Edward Campbell, writing, “Lt. E.D. Jones and I made first flight over Grand Canyon today. Very cold, scenery wonderful, impossible to describe. Wednesday expect to make moving pictures.”

In 1928, T.A.T (Transcontinental Air Transport) came to town. Pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh was in charge of establishing air ports for the fledgling airline, and in 1929 he arrived in Kingman to survey a site and oversee construction. The Hotel Beale served as his headquarters, and Amelia Earhart attended ribbon cutting ceremonies when “Port Kingman” opened. Surprisingly the terminal building survived decades of urban sprawl and is today a part of the Brown Drilling complex.

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