Kingman, Arizona: The Heart of Historic Route 66
The city of Kingman sparkles like a gem in the center of Arizona’s spectacular high desert. Kingman is famous for its frequent windy days, which keeps the air clean and fresh. Conveniently located on Interstate 40, it is the gateway for “Route 66 and Beyond.” It offers the best of historic charm and all the modern conveniences of urban living. Scenic hiking and bicycle trails, historic downtown areas, excellent restaurants and cafes, microbreweries, shopping and a full roster of festivals and events make the Kingman experience one to remember!
A Little About Kingman History
Kingman was founded in 1882, when Arizona was only Arizona territory. Situated in the Hualapai Valley between the Cerbat and Hualapai mountain ranges, Kingman is known for its very modest beginnings as an intelligible railroad siding near Beale’s springs in the Middleton section along the newly constructed route of the Atlantic. The city of Kingman was named for Lewis Kingman, who surveyed the Atlantic and Pacific railroads, right-of-way between Needles, CA and Albuquerque, NM. Lewis Kingman supervised the construction of the railroad from Winslow, AZ to Beale springs which is near the present location of the town of Kingman.
Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a U.S. Navy officer in the service of the U.S. Army corps of topographical engineers, was ordered by the U.S. war department to construct a federal wagon road across the 35th Parallel. His secondary orders were to test the practabilaty of the use of camels as pack animals in the southwestern desert. Beale traveled through the present day Kingman in 1857 surveying the road and in 1859 to build the road. The road became part of Highway 66 and Interstate Highway 40. Remains of the wagon road can still be seen from White Cliffs Canyon in Kingman.
Santa Fe Locomotive NO.3759
On display in Locomotive Park, the train was donated to the city of Kingman in 1957 as a historical landmark. This train had a top speed of 100mph and ran on steam (coal fired 1927-1941, oil fired 1941-1953). The caboose of the train was added in 1987, when Kingman children pulled it into place with so much force a backhoe had to be employed to stop it. Information about the train can be viewed in the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. In Locomotive Park, it is an interactive display, which means visitors can actually climb aboard and view the interior. the park is the site for many of the city’s festivals and events throughout the year.
Kingman is the Turquoise Capital of the World
One of the world’s largest suppliers of turquoise is mined from a mountain north-west of of the city. Kingman was coined the “turquoise capital of the world” due to a little smart marketing on behalf of a man who developed and sold the semi-precious gemstone. Leonard Hardy, (of L.W. Hardy Co.), also brought forth the Turquoise Kings, a semi-professional softball team. The team played in a few International Softball Congress (ISC) World Championships in the 1970’s. In 1974 they won the trophy for the best uniform.