Kingman, Arizona — Caravans of Cars and Camels
February 24, 2019
Even though the month of January has turned into the month of February, it remains the year 2019 and so my 2019 New Years’ “Goals”, or Resolutions, still apply. One post per month I resolved — I wrote down the goal on paper and even worse, I posted my intentions on Facebook. Now that promise is forever on the internet, and there can be no excuses. So herewith the February 2019 installment featuring an old friend — warm, sunny Kingman, Arizona.
I’d seen Kingman several times before. Kingman is a crossroads. Looking eastward from Los Angeles (where I lived during the 1980s) Kingman is the gateway to the rest of the country. I drove through Kingman to get to the Grand Canyon, Amarillo, Kentucky and to my parents’ home back in Pittsburgh. If you’re travelling north and south instead of east and west, the long desert highway that is US 93 intersects the I-40 in Kingman, about halfway between Las Vegas and Phoenix.
At first I saw the town as a hot, dusty Arizona truck stop, but I wasn’t the first caravan to come through.
Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale, commanding a caravan of camels, blazed a wagon route through Northern Arizona Territory back in 1857-58. Beale Street in Kingman is named for him. (But apparently not Beale Street in Memphis. Wikipedia has Beale’s resume.)
Beale is remembered here:
Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, 1822-1893. Pioneer in the Path of Empire. Hero of the War with Mexico. Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Appointed General by the Governor of California. Commanded exploration of wagon route to the Colorado River with the only camel train in American history, 1857-1858.
Beale’s wagon route soon became a railroad route. Mining sprang up in Kingman and then receded. As cars followed trains, Route 66 followed the railroad route, then Interstate 40 replaced US 66. Even with the mines gone, Kingman is forever a crossroads and will never disappear.
Unless you get off the Interstate you won’t notice the snow-covered rocky cliffs above the historic buildings along old Route 66. Kingman has a few nostalgic hotels here, some old bars and so forth. The Beale Street Brews coffee house brings life to this street, along with the Red Neck Pit BBQ next door (now Floyd and Company Real Pit BBQ). Here are a few buildings and street scenes:
A few blocks off Beale Street the Mohave County Courthouse stands like a Roman temple above the forum. Built in 1914 of local gray stone, it emerges behind a line of tall, thick juniper trees. The trees are three stories high; the courthouse is only two but the cupola adds maybe another story and a half. The building stands at the top of Fourth Street, looking down on Kingman from above – a good place from which to administer Justice.
As the courthouse was built in 1914, it’s likely that the front statue was added a few years afterward, following the end of World War I. This particular design — a doughboy holding a hand grenade aloft in his right hand — is a common design for World War I memorials seen throughout the country.
Finally, some more examples of old stone construction:
I hope you enjoyed Kingman and are enjoying your February. March is just around the corner…
All photos by the author. Photos were taken in February, 2010, except for the courthouse photos which are from October, 2005.
A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.