As with so many things it began simply enough. In this case it
was a question asked. Actually it was the asking of several questions before the idea came to mind, and then it took even more questions before the idea coalesced into the illustrated walking tours now being offered by Promote Kingman. The endeavor has proven to be relatively popular, and judging by the response received, entertaining as well.
What sets the adventure along the Route 66 corridor, and through the historic business district in Kingman, Arizona apart from the average guided walking tours is the liberal use of modern technology and photos from the archives of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, and my personal collection. With several hundred historic images downloaded to my iPad, I am able to provide a walk through time and allow people to experience the evolution of the city, as well as Route 66.
I can be quite the story teller, or so I have been told, but this adds life to the tall tales. As an example, while telling the story of the Clark Gable and Carol Lombard nuptials, I can transport people back to Kingman as it was in 1939.
Kingman’s lengthy association with the rich and famous of Hollywood is a lengthy one. When Buster Keaton filmed Go West in 1925, this was the fourth major motion picture shot in the area.
On the illustrated walking tour, often under neon lit skies, I stop at filming locations, and other celebrity associated sites. An ample dose of stories about murder, mayhem, sordid affairs, and nefarious characters is also provided. All of this, of course, is amply seasoned with stories of colorful characters, travelers on the National Old Trails Road, such as Edsel Ford, and Route 66.
For more about Kingman’s celebrity association, tales from the dark side, and walking tours, check out our patrons page for exclusive content (button top right corner).
With the passing of time, when writing about history,
it becomes quite a challenge to separate myth and legend from fact and fiction. Even first person accounts can be fictitious when compared to facts if enough time has passed, and a story can be told so often that myth becomes truth. Adding weight to legends that become fact are first person accounts, an interview at the time of an incident that provides a perspective derived from fear, prejudice, or even shadowing that obscured detail.
Case in point, the honeymoon suite for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard at the hotel in Oatman, Arizona. Yes, the couple did marry in Kingman late one afternoon, at the Methodist Episcopal church that still stands on the corner of Fifth and Spring Streets. Yes, there was a small wedding reception at the Brunswick Hotel afterwards, and there was an early morning press conference in Los Angeles early the following morning. So, is the story of the honeymoon suite fact or fiction? If it is myth, what are the origins?
The list of celebrities, legendary cowboys, movie stars, and famous artists
that have called Kingman home, or that have stopped by for a visit or two over the years is surprisingly lengthy. However, with the exception of Pamela Anderson’s indecent exposure incident, even in Kingman, this celebrity association is often less than an historic footnote .
Recently two of these esteemed individuals, Andy Devine and Bob Boze Bell, author of the Route 66 Kid were awarded a rather prestigious award, induction into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. As a result, once again the international media spotlight focused on Kingman, just as it did in the 1950’s when the television program This Is Your Life honored Andy Devine, in 1939 when Clark Gable and Carol Lombard married here, and in 1925 when Buster Keaton selected the ranch of Tap Duncan north of Kingman as a filming location for his latest motion picture, Go West. (more…)