The fellows name was Bliss. As with most people who become an historic milestone, Mr. Henry Bliss never knew
The embryonic electric vehicle museum is the first and only museum dedicated to this style of vehicle. Credit Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation
that unexpected death would bestow a dubious form of immortality. He simply stepped from the New York City streetcar that September afternoon in 1899, and became the nations first pedestrian struck and killed by an automobile. Today’s editorial in the Kingman Daily Miner about the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to the electric vehicle led me to reflect on Bliss, his demise, and how there is little new under the sun.
The electric vehicle museum in Kingman, Arizona was born of a limited partnership between the city and the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation during the Route 66 International Festival in 2014, an event that was aptly themed Kingman: Crossroads of the Past & Future. For reasons not understood the museum has never progressed beyond the initial stage even though it garners international media attention and the collection continues to grow. The prestigious Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles recently donated 15 historically significant vehicles. (more…)
There is an old adage that the two certainties in life are
death and taxes. There are, however, two more adages that you can bank on. One, times change, whether we like it or not. Two, it is up to you to create the survival guide for the modern era and to keep it updated. In short, adapt and learn to adapt or face the consequences. You can bet money that the best blacksmith in town had fallen on hard times by 1915 if he hadn’t added automobile repair to the services offered.
By 1918 the Fred Harvey had adapted to changing times by adding touring coaches as a means to ensure hotel properties remained profitable. Courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts.
The Fred Harvey Company pioneered development of hotel and restaurant chains. They didn’t, however, rest on their laurels after dominating the railroad hotel business in the southwest. They developed tours, added buses, and began marketing to tourists traveling by automobile.
As an author I have, with a degree of success, made the transition from typewriter and carbon paper to word processor. Marketing, a crucial skill for the writer that is going to transition from hobbyist, is another matter. There are indications that I have been somewhat successful in regards to shameless self promotion. As an example, yesterday I learned that Route 66: America’s Longest Small Townis going into a second printing even though the book was released this past April.
Before you ask, I haven’t won the lottery. An uncle did pass away last year
but he wan’t wealthy, and he didn’t include me in his will. As to treasure, last month I found a 1939 dime in my change, and acquired a promotional brochure for Dinosaur Caverns (now Grand Canyon Caverns). So, you may ask, how do I intend to share the wealth? What, exactly, are the golden opportunities alluded to? To explain that, I will need to start with a bit of shameless self promotion.
First, I am taking to the road again. On July 22, I will be signing books and the new DVD at Autobooks-Aerobooks, 2900 Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, California. There are other tentative appearances in southern California that bracket the one in Burbank but these are awaiting confirmation. I will provide dates, times, and locations as soon as possible. Also, please feel free to contact me to schedule an appearance; a book signing, a presentation, or both. For the 2017 season I have created a presentation entitled Kingman, Arizona: 120 Years of Tourism.
The presentation may seem a bit narrow in scope. However, as it includes tales of Louis Chevrolet, Buster Keaton, and Clark Gable, political intrigue that resulted in the rerouting of a highway, and the arrest of a celebrity for indecent exposure, I am confident that you will find it interesting.
One more. In April, two new books with Jim Hinckley in the byline were released. To be a bit more specific, it was one new book, Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town, and an expanded version second edition, Ghost Towns of the West. In September, 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Dieis scheduled for release. At the end of May, the first DVD in a new video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 was released. Signed copies of books are available through this blog, and the DVD, with autograph and Kingman, Arizona souvenir, is available through Promote Kingman. When inquiring about book orders include zip code, totals and payment options will be included in the response. (more…)
This morning I enjoyed a brief but interesting discussion
with KC Keefer, the brilliant videographer behind the Genuine Route 66 series and a series of videos on forgotten places such as the Painted Desert Trading Post and Glenrio in partnership with Dr. Nick Gerlich. The topic of conversation was Route 66 as a catalyst for economic development and revitalization in rural communities. As that has been the subject of recent Jim Hinckley’s America blog posts as well as Facebook live programs, I found his insights and thoughts to be particularly relevant.
In building the foundation for economic development in a community, tourism as a primary component is a very poor choice. However, tourism should always be considered a component in the creation of an economic development plan, especially in a community that has Route 66 as the main street through its historic business district. Additionally, in these communities all marketing should include a Route 66 element. The popularity of the road will magnify these type of initiatives. often with tremendous results.
As important as Route 66 in in regards to marketing or revitalization initiatives, myopic focus on what Route 66 was can be as detrimental as not using it at all. It is imperative that a community also focus on the future. As an example consider the embryonic Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum in Kingman, Arizona. In addition, Route 66 should also be utilized as a means for showcasing the unique attributes of a community. If a town can blend these components in a single package, and has the leadership needed to get community buy in, it will be transformed, regardless of rural location or size. (more…)
Even though it was often said that I had a gift for telling people where to go,
it was at least ten years after the publication of my first feature article before an attempt was made to capitalize on that talent. Well, that was almost twenty years ago and though fortune in the form of financial compensation has proven somewhat elusive, it has been a truly rewarding endeavor. It has also been an educational experience, a faith building endeavor, a grand adventure, a chance to hone my skill as a pinata impersonator, an international odyssey, and an endless opportunity to meet the most fascinating people. This and the friendships made along the way are the true reward that has come from harnessing my gift for telling folks where to go.
Sunset in Kingman, Arizona
Now, with eager anticipation and a touch of apprehension I am turning my sights toward 2017. First, however, I need to give 2016 a proper send off. On Friday morning, at 6:15 Arizona time, there is theJim Hinckley’s Americaprogram from Beale Street Brews on Facebook live. I will be answering readers questions (feel free to ask your questions on Friday morning, or by email) about Route 66, the road less traveled, and the infancy of the American auto industry, and talk a bit about the exciting events pending for 2017. I also plan on introducing folks to Ralph Teetor, the inventor of cruise control. That evening the Route 66 Association of Kingman will be hosting a reception for Rasheed Hooda, a fascinating gentleman who is walking Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, at Calico’s on Beale Street at 6:00 PM. (more…)