The recent performance by Doga from Czechia may have been one of the most unusal events in the history of the Palace Saloon. Photo Zdenek Jurasek
The Palace Saloon opened its doors in 1906. Colorful characters, outlaws, celebrities, and countless legions of thirsty Route 66 travelers have bellied up to the bar over the years. But I would be willing to bet that never in its history has there been an evening like October 12, 2023.
Henry Lovin opened the Palace Saloon after a fire had erased most buildings along Front Street, now Route 66, in Kingman, Arizona. It was built of stone and concrete, and promoted as Kingman’s only fire proof saloon. Henry Lovin’s fascinating story, and the history of the saloon, is told in the innovative narrated self guided historic district walking tour developed by Kingman Main Street.
At some point in its history the name was changed to Sportman’s Club. But aside from the signage little has changed. This venerable old saloon is an Arizona territorial era tie capsule.
Attesting to its unique place in Kingman and Route 66 history is its inclusion as a point of interest in the Route 66 Navigation app. The app developed by Touch Media, a company based in Bratislava, Slovakia illustrates the international nature of Route 66 in the modern era. And it is just one connection with the international Route 66 community.
On October 12, Doga, the acclaimed Czech heavy metal band kicked off their first Route 66 pub tour with a performance at Sportsman’s Club. Accompanying the band on the tour developed by Zdenek Jurasek of the Czech Route 66 Association were thirty fans from central Europe. A film crew also is a part of the tour as it is being filmed for a forthcoming documentary.
Until quite recently the old Palace Saloon was the only operating business in what was once the very heart of Kingman. Dominating the block between Third and Fourth Street are the long shuttered Hotel Beale and Hotel Brunswick. The Lovin Building on one corner, and Desert Drug, Frontier Cafe, and Frontier Lounge on the other, were razed years ago.
But times do change. The Old Trails Garage that dates to 1915 is still used for storage by the owner. But the facade has been renovated with perioed correct signage, and a circa 1930 Packard sign again glows bright. The Arizona Store that opened in 1910 as a one stop shop for mining and ranch supplies is now Garibaldi’s Restaurant. And work is well underway to give the Brunswick Hotel a new lease on life.
Times change. There is an ebb and flow to most communities. Kingman is not an exception. But occasionally you will find one of those special places where time seems to have stood still. Personally, I am atracted to places such as the Sportsman’s Club like a moth to a flame. I suppose that this is rather fiting as Jim Hinckley’s America is built on a passion for sharing America’s story.
Scoops on 66 in Kingman, Arizona is the dawn of a new era for an historic building with a mysterious past. ©Jim Hinckley’s America
My world is always full of surprising twists and turns but I never imagined that a Saturday morning would be spent in search of Boston Friedel. This particular quest actually started several months ago.
The owners of this distinctive stone building along Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona were working to unravel its mysterious past. Since working with Kingman Main Street on phase one of a narrated, self guided walking tour, documenting the history of the buildings in the historic district has been a passion. And this particular building has intrigued me for quite some time so I offered my assitnce.
It is now home to Scoops on 66, a delightful handcrafted ice cream shop. It was originally a cafe. But when did it open and who built it?
In Search of Answers
Well, the gas station next door opened in 1947. The picture of the station show the building with a simple cafe sign. And there is ample evidence that it was a cafe in 1940.
Becky Fawason, director of the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, turned up an interesting item of unknown origin in old records. “September 1925 – November 1925, Judge LeRoy V. Root – Temporary Chairman while organizing Chamber office located in Boston Friedel’s lunch room in the 200 block of Front Street (now Andy Devine Avenue, a rock building next to the Highway 66 car wash.”
That simple note opened an entire can of worms, and deepend the mystery of the building with its distinctive window and door trim. There are numerous buildings in Kingman with the same trim work, but we have yet to decipher their origins. These include the Assembly of God church built in 1936, the Siesta Motel built in aboout 1929, a wing of the Richardson Auto Court built in the mid 1930s, and the Bell Motel razed several years ago.
In Search of Boston Friedel
The note from the chamber of commerce raised an array of questions. In 1925, the core business district centered on Fourth Street, and Front and South Front Street. Here you had the railroad depot, the Harvey House, a Packard and Chalmers dealership, and a gas station, cafe and free camp ground for travelers on the National Old Trails Road. The Loving and Withers store with office block, several restaurants, the Palace Saloon, Hotel Beale and Hotel Brunswick, Palace Saloon and Old Trails Garage were also nestled at this intersection.
Front Street deadened at the Powerhouse, First Street, just one block from the building now housing Scoops on 66. And across from the Powerhouse, now Locomotive Park, was the county rodeo grounds and ball field. So, why would there be a cafe and a chamber of commerce office two blocks from the main business district on a dead end street?
Well, I decided to delve into newspaper archives. How hard could it be to find stories about someone with a name as distinctive as Boston Friedel? As it turned out, it was more difficult than imagined but I wasn’t surprised.
The first discovery was dated November 1920. I learned that “Boston” was a nickname. And I learned that he opened an “eating emporium” across from the Santa Fe Depot. This raised more questions. Across from the depot on Front Street was a pharmacy, a restaurant ( but not Boston’s), a Ford dealership and a store. So, was Boston’s emporium across from the depot, south of the tracks?
There was a gas station on the corner of South Front Street and Fourth Street directly across from the depot south of the tracks. Next door was a small cafe with unknown name, and a free campground.
And A Bit More Confusion
The water was muddied even more with discovery of a snippet dated September 9, 1921. “Boston” Friedel has opened a horseshoe lunch counter on South Front Street, in a new building erected for the purpose on land leased from Mary Sweeney.” The stone building used by Scoops on 66 is on Front Street, now Andy Devine Avenue.
The search for Boston Friedel is in its early stages. But I have yet to even determine his real first name. I have learned that he was active in the local gun club, but the articles just say Friedel. And there are a couple of interesting items associated with county elections published in the late teens. One article notes involvement by J.L. Friedel. Another notes L.J. Fridel, and a third reads Robert L. Friedel.
And now a quest has become two. What is the history of the little stone building? And now I am in search of Boston Friedel. But this is Jim HInckley’s America, and we share America’s story. And Mr. Friedel, and Scoops on 66, is definitely a part of that story.
National Old Trails Road in Kingman, Arizona Photo Mohave Museum of History & Arts
The National Old Trails Road in Kingman, Arizona circa 1918. Photo Mohave Museum of History & Arts.
Subjugation of the Hualapai people followed a brief war in the late 1860s. And as a result, over the course of the next twenty years the northwest corner of the Arizona territory was inundated with a veritable flood of prospectors, ranchers, miners, investors, crooks, grifters, and outlaws. They poured into the area over the Beale Road, Mohave Prescott Road, and on steamboats plying the Colorado River. And, of course, sprinkled among the new arrivals were also opportunitsts and entrepreneurs such as Conrad Shenfield.
Opporotunity Arrives in Mohave County
In November 1882 news that the track laying crews of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad were entering Mohave County from the east sparked infectious excitement throughout the region. The railroad would change everything. With its completion to the Colorado River, the cost of transportation for people and goods would plummet.
A letter from railroad survey engineer Lewis Kingman published in territorial newspapers fueled the excitment. He noted that it was the company’s intention to reach the Colorado River before the spring in 1883.
And he also gave a glimpse of how northwest Arizona would be transformed with completion of the railroad. Kingman claimed that more than thirty teams of supplies loaded in Williams were leaving for Hackberry, Mineral Park, and the railroad camps west of the track each week.
Meet Mr. Shenfield
To ensure that the railroad reached the river before the summer of 1883, the company employed nearly six hundred men to survey, cut grades, spread ballest, build bridges, and cut and lay ties as well as rails. One of these employees was Conrad Shenfield.
Shenfield was a subcontractor for the Atlantic & Pacific Railraod. His exact duties have been lost to history. But what is known is that he quietly acquired land at carefully selected locations along the railroad at various points. One of those places in a mesquite wooded flats east of Atlantic Springs that was sheltered by bluffs of volcanic tufa stone was initially established as a railroad construction camp.
The grassy Hualapai Valley ideally suited for ranchng was located a short distance to the east. The broad Sacramento Valley that stretched to the Colorado River lay to the west. The forested Hualapai Mountains lay to the south. And in the surrounding Cerbat Mountains, rich deposits of gold, silver, lead and other minerals were fueling a boom. Shenfield recognized the opportunities. He pictured the site as the hub for mining, ranching and transportation once the railroad was completed.
Kingman: Land of Opportunity
And so he began surveying a 160 acre town site at the temporary western terminus of the railroad. Next, he began selling lots in what was dubbed Middleton Siding. As it turned out there was a slight flaw in Mr. Shenfield’s ambitious plans.
Conrad Shenfield told propspective buyers that he had acquired “town site privileges.” But he had only filed for those privileges. It was June 9, 1886 before he ws awarded the deed. But this did not stop him from selling property, or from people buying property in the land of opportunity.
The following advertisement was published in the Alta Arizona weekly, dated January 27, 1883: “For particulars as to prices of town lots in Kingman address C. Shenfield or C.W. Middleton, at Mineral Park. A perfect title given soon as the patent for the 160 acres upon which the new town is located arrives from Washington.”
Within a few months, a tent city quickly sprang up along the tracks and siding, the name was officialy set as Kingman with the filing of a post office application. The initial survey was a large square of 34 city blocks cut in half from east to west by the main line of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. There were two primary boulevards. Front Street ran parallel to the tracks on the north, and South Front Street ran on the south side of the tracks. The center point was land designated for a depot on Fourth Street.
Dawnof A New Era
Well, as they say, the rest his history. In late October 1883 the railroad announced that survey work had commenced for the construction of a warehouse, depot and loading platform. Kingman boomed, Within a few years the county seat was relocated from Mineral Park, and that once promising community faded into obscurity.
Shenfield and the railroad laid the foundation. The National Old Trails Road, Route 66 and then I40 ensured Kingman’s bright and promising future into the 21st century and beyond.
The historic Hotel Brunswick on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona. ©Jim HInckley’s America
The towering old stone hotel has been casting a long shadow in the historic heart of Kingman, Arizona since 1909. It is a tangible link to Arizona territorial history, a nearly forgotten chapter in Ford family history, and even with famous Hollywood celebrities.
John Mulligan arrived in northwest Arizona in the 1870s, about the same time that John W. “Watt” Thompson came to the Arizona territory from New Brunswick, Canada. Mulligan, a stonemason by trade, quickly learned that there was more money in applying his skills than in mining or prospecting even though he had been moderately successful in both pursuits.
A Legacy Built of Stone
According to his obituary published in the Mohave Miner in 1935, in 1881 on the southwest corner of what is now Beale and Fourth Street, Mulligan built the first house in a rough and tumble Atlantic & Pacific Railroad construction tent camp that would become known as Kingman.
The obituary also noted a few of his other contributions to the development of Kingman. He was the primary contractor for the Hotel Beale and Hotel Brunswick.
He was also a charter member of the Elks Lodge. And he was the contractor that built the lodge that still stands on the corner of Fourth and Oak Street. The obituary says that he laid some of the stone “with his own hands.”
He was also the concrete contractor for the Mohave County Jail built between 1909 and 1910. Another relic that stands on courthouse grounds.
The Hotel Beale, Hotel Brunswick, territorial jail and the courthouse built in 1915 are some of the points of interest on the narrated self guided historic district walking tour. This innovative project was developed by Kingman Main Street.
The Ill Fated Partnership
On an array of projects including mining, property speculation, and construction Mulligan partnered with John Thompson. In 1907 the partners began work on their most ambitious project to date, the construction of a stylish, modern hotel on Front Street, now Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66), in the same block as the Hotel Beale.
Named the Brunswick by Thompson, when completed in 1909 this would be the first three story building in Kingman. Using locally quarried Tufa stone from the Metcalf quarry, Thompson and Mulligan planned for this to be one of the finest hotels in the northwest part of the territory.
After completion of the hotel work began to make it competitive with the neighboring Hotel Beale. A newspaper article dated February 1911 noted John Mulligan’s return to Kingman. He had been in Los Angeles purchasing fine furnishings for the third floor of the hotel.
In 1912, the Mulligan and Thompson partnership unraveled. Speculation for the split continues to this day but the actual reasons are lost to history. Reportedly the men would never speak again. The Hotel Brunswick was divided, literally, with construction of a that wall that separated the building into equal halves.
The agreement reached gave each partner twenty-five hotel rooms. Mulligan was also given the original lobby and the bar. Thompson acquired the restaurant. Oddly enough it appears that the hotel continued operating under a single name – Hotel Brunswick.
The Ford Connection
In 1915, Edsel Ford and his college buddies set out on an epic adventure from Michigan to the Panama Pacific Exposition. Photo Historic Vehicle Association
In the summer of 1915, Edsel Ford and a few college buddies set out from Dearborn on a grand adventure. The destination was the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, but like an increasing number of tourists, they set out to see the exotic cultures of Santa Fe and the pueblos in New Mexico. The natural wonders of sites such as the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert were also attractions, so they followed the National Old Trails Road to Los Angeles before proceeding up the Pacific coast.
Unofficially it was also a businiess trip. Edsel inspected a number of Ford agencies, including the one in Kingman. And he often made use of a Ford garage for needed repairs during his adventure.
Ford’s travel journal entry for Thursday July 15, 1915, reads, “Got going from Williams about 11:00. Had lunch at Ash Forks. Loafed along; found it very hot. Bought some gas and oranges at Seligman. Stutz broke another spring and returned to Seligman. Cadillac and Ford went on to Kingman, arriving at midnight, Brunswick Hotel.”
Attesting to the hotel’s prominence the Hotel, Garage, Service Station and AAA Club Directory published in 1927 listed two recommended lodging options in Kingman. The Hotel Beale at $1.50 to $3 per night, and Hotel Brunswick at $1 per night. Evidence of its decline is found in the Directory of Motor Courts and Cottages published by AAA in 1940. The hotel is no longer listed.
Mulligan sold his portion of the property in about 1925. It sold again in about 1928, the Brunswick name was dropped, and it became the Ideal Hotel.
Then in 1930 it was sold again. An article published in the Mohave Miner in November of that year noted, quote, “The name Hotel Brunswick has been restored to what is now known as the Hotel Ideal, it was announced on Wednesday of this week by George La Plante, manager.” It was also noted that extensive work to modernize the hotel was underway.
It was during this period that the distinctive but dated appearing front portico with balcony was removed, and the neon sign added. In the years that followed several cafes operated from the former restaurant including Scudder’s, Richey’s and Lockwood’s Chicken in the Rough.
There is another celebrity association with the hotel. Local legend has it that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard attended a brief reception at the bar after marrying at the St. Johns Methodist Episcopal Church in March 1939.
Dawn of A New Era
The Thompson side of the hotel was sold to Joe Otero in 1959. After a remodel he opened the El Mohave restaurant. It proved to a be popular eatery for locals and for travelers on Route 66. And it was also a favorite of Senator Barry Goldwater when he was in Kingman. In 1966 Otero purchased the rest of the property and closed the hotel. He also removed the dividing wall on the first floor and linked the bar and restaurant.
The restaurant closed in 1980, and the old hotel was left vacant until 1994 when it was acquired by Priscilla and Rennie Davis. Restoration commenced with rebuilding the staircase in its original configuration and replacement of the portico and balcony. For a brief time, the hotel, bar, and restaurant were again open for business. Even the original switchboard, on loan from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, was placed in its original location. It proved to be a short-lived endeavor. The historic district renaissance was still more than a decade away.
In 1998 the hotel again closed. A series of new owners purchased the property with plans for renovation and restoration of business. But it was not until 2012 when it was acquired by Werner Fleischmann, a Swiss developer, that intermittent work commenced in earnest.
There is still a question about the future of the hotel. Rooms? Apartments? Offices? But there is no question about the restaurant. Fully refurbished it is about to open as Garibaldi’s!
When Kingman Main Street asked for my assistance with development of the narrated walking tour, I jumped at the opportunity. This was an excellent way to bring the city’s history to life, and to share stories of men like John Mulligan and John Thompson. It was also a great way to share America’s story, and inspire road trips by telling people where to go. That is what we do at Jim Hinckley’s America.
For centuries the site of Ed’s Camp has been an oasis for travelers. ©Jim Hinckley’s America
Scattered machinery and assorted rusty junk of indeterminate age baking under a blazing Arizona sun. The forlorn remnants of a long abandoned store, cafe, gas station, and tourist cabins. The skeletal remains of an Oldsmobile driven from Michigan shortly after WWI. A scattering of modern trailer homes framed by an arch adorned with LM. And a background of quintessential western landscapes that make it impossible for a one eyed blind man to take a bad photograph. This is Ed’s Camp today.
Located along the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66, and that highways predecessor the National Old Trails Road, in Sitgreaves Pass, Ed’s Camp sits on a site steeped in history. And as it turns out, the site known as Little Meadows is also steeped in mystery, legend, and history.
Illustrating the fascinating history and conflicting of stories is an entry in Arizona Place Names by Will C. Barnes that was firt published in 1935 contains this entry.
“Sitgreaves Pass, Mohave County – In Ute or Black Mountains so called by Lt. Ives because Sitgreaves part passed through it. Coues, however, says, “Sitgreaves did not cross this pass as Ives states, but used the so called Union Pass. Beale named this pass – Sitgreaves – John Howells Pass for one of his men, October 1857.” Coues who locates this pass John Howells Pass as east of Oatman, did such careful research work though here his judgement is undoubtedly correct.”
My knowledge of Little Meadows mostly came from Ed Edgerton, the Ed of Ed’s Camp that had arrived at Little Meadows in about 1919. My first paying job was working for this old codger. I hoed and pulled weeds, watered melons and tomatoes, and generally tried to help in the garden.
Ed was a man of few words but he took a shine to me. And so, he often talked about area history and geology. On occassion he would drag me into the mountains to work on a spring or pipeline, a prospecting expedition, or to drag in some gem and mineral specimens that he sold at the rock shop. Tragically, I was jsut a kid and so paid little attention to the stories or the lessons he imparted.
But according to Ed, Father Garces camped at Little Meadows during the expedition of 1776. In his journals the formidable mountains were noted as Sierra de Santiago. In the Ives report of 1858 they were listed as the Black Range or Black Mountains. Other explorers of that era referenced them as the Sacramento Range.
And it that isn’t confusing enough, for reasons unkown, the southern tip of this range near present day Yucca, Arizona was often called the Blue Ridge Mountains. There was even a small mining camp Blue Ridge near Warm Springs Canyon. A post office using that name was established in April 1917.
I have learned over the years that Ed’s stories weren’t always accurate. A few were downright exaggerations. Others might have been simple lapses in memory. And some were just recycled legends and myths, such as the story of the Warm Springs Canyon treasure.
With clarity I recall Ed talking about how Little Meadows with its dependable springs that flowed all year round was a popular camp grouond for travelers on the National Old Trails Road. That, he claimed, was why he purchased it and established Ed’s Camp.
But not once did he mention that there was also an inn at this site in the teens. Was it there when he arrived in Arizona after WWI? When did the Wayside Inn open? When did it close, and why?
Recently Andy Sansom, a good friend with a passion for obsure history shared a couple of fascinating items that piqued my interest. Then, with a bit of research, I discovered some intrguing snippets in the form of advertisements and newspaper articles from 1918 and 1919.
And now, I am off on another quest, unravel the history and the mystery of Little Meadows. This should be an interesting venture as it will also mean revisiting a special place from my childhood that is as the foundation of Jim Hinckley’s America.