From March to September on the third Saturday afternoon of the month, Beale Street in Kingman, Arizona, just one block north of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) is transformed into an automobile enthusiasts version of paradise. As a bonus there is great music, a vibrant historic district framed by stunning skylines of towering buttes, mesas, and spires of stone, cold beer served at two award winning microbreweries, and a delightful array of diverse restaurants. In October the date for the Chillin on Beale festivities is adjusted to coincide with the arrival of Craig Parish’s Route 66 Motor Tour. (more…)
There is so much good and positive in Kingman, including a large segment of the population, but once again the town has been given a black eye that will take a long time to heal. After all, we are still remembered as a town where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh found a nest of like minded people and even a partner in crime.
You would have to drive from Death Valley to Loveland Pass in
Colorado to find lows and highs equal to what we have been through in the past week or so. To paraphrase (or plagiarize) a bit of classic literature, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times: dedication of a memorial to a valued friend and a bit of bittersweet family time with my dearest friend and son, the debut of a new book and unexpected support from friends, squandered opportunities and unnecessary battles, taxes and hard choices, memories and reflections.
On Sunday, with artist Gregg Arnold, the model of Twin Arrows Trading Post created by Willem Bor was unveiled at Antares Point Route 66 Visitor Center east of Kingman. The stand, created by Arnold, and the setting were poignant and moving for a number of reasons.
Even though our association with Willem, and his wife Monique, was quite short, we enjoyed memorable milestones in life with these friends. As we pulled the cover from the display, I flashed on our first evening in Europe, and a delightful dinner in Willem and Monique’s home where the artists handiwork was on full display. Thoughts turned to last summer in Germany when a contingent of Dutch friends, including Willem and Monique, enjoyed dinner, laughter, and lively conversation. Clouding these delightful memories was the death of Willem earlier this year. (more…)
Every community is plagued by self serving factions, apathy, naysayers, and
people who simply never learned to play well with others. In communities where these people dominate government or the tourism office or media or civic organizations, opportunities are missed, long term sustainable progress is stifled, and vision for the future is conceived through extensive study of the rear view mirror. Spend an hour or two in a town, city, or village where these type of folks run the show, listen to the locals in the restaurants or taverns, check out the historic business district, cruise a few neighborhoods, peruse online reviews of businesses and there is a very good chance you won’t make a return visit.
So, exactly, how is a community transformed from a haven for the apathetic and people obsessed with protecting their fiefdom into a vibrant place where people want to visit, to open businesses, to raise families, and to retire? Let me introduce you to the speed bump theory of community development. (more…)
I am unsure as to how this past week can adequately be described. Exciting? Frustrating? Maddening? Depressing? Exhilarating? Exhausting? Enjoyable? Fun? Thrilling? Productive? Perhaps I could better set the stage…
In 2014, the city of Kingman hosted the International Route 66 Festival. The theme was
Kingman: Crossroads of the Past & Future. The opening of the world’s first electric vehicle museum, a partnership between the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation and Kingman tourism at this event marked the beginning of a new era on Route 66, and in Kingman. Well, with the ever increasing acquisition and donation of vehicles, including an ultra rare electric 1998 Chevrolet S10 pick up truck, the museum has outgrown its current location in the Powerhouse Visitor Center and has more vehicles in storage than are on display.
In partnership with Promote Kingman, a fund raising initiative that includes solicitation of sponsors and partners will be launched in 2017 to rectify this problem. The goal is to raise adequate funds for establishment and creation of a dedicated museum that will chronicle the fascinating evolution of the electric vehicle, as well as related infrastructure. (more…)
History is a lot like a good pot of stew. If we merely skim the surface, we miss the meat and potatoes at the bottom. This leaves the impression that the stew is a bit thin, and without a great deal of flavor. Then we tell folks that the stew wasn’t very good and the story is repeated until it becomes fact.
With the passing of time, even photos are not always enough to separate myth from fact. Recently the Route 66 Association of Kingman initiated an ambitious plan to partner with property owners in the historic business district to restore facades as well as historic signage. One of these projects was the Old Trails Garage owned by the Graves family. As historic research is something I engage in regularly, I was asked to assist in determining the date of construction and to find images of the garage that would allow for a more accurate recreation.
The earliest view of the garage was a photo post card from about 1918 in the possession of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. However, something did not seem right as the garage was supposed to have been built in 1912 or 1914, and I didn’t see the Brunswick Hotel that was built in 1909. This was accredited to a bit of photo editing, common in many early post cards. Then with assistance from Steve Rider, a prolific collector of National Old Trails Highway era post cards, a similar post card was discovered but this one indicated a Needles, California location. (more…)