MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ARTS
Mohave County is one of the original four counties of Arizona. It originally contained all of the southern point of present day Nevada. Currently, Mohave County contains approximately 13,400 square miles of land. It has no less than 148 canyons within its boundaries, most of which help make up a large portion of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River that separates the top 1/3 of Mohave County from the bottom 2/3. The county is bordered by three rivers and one creek along with four lakes that are impounded behind dams on the Colorado and Bill Williams Rivers. The county is intersected by 21 mountain ranges and the corresponding valleys in between. There are five climate zones in Arizona and Mohave County is the only county in the state that contains all five.
Prehistoric cultures in Mohave County trace back to Paleo-Indians of the Clovis complex from 9500 to 7000 B.C. It was followed by the Archaic Period (7000 to A.D.1) and we only have artifacts that allow us to classify the people of that period into the broader culture. Between A.D. 200 and A.D. 400 we saw the rise of the Anasazi throughout southern Colorado and Utah and northern New Mexico and Arizona. The Anasazi culture would disappear between A.D. 1200 and A. D. 1400. A culture called the Patayan would appear in lower Mohave County and the interior of Arizona about A.D. 700. Subgroups of this culture would include the Cerbat and Cohonina in the inland areas and the Amacava along the Colorado River. It is believed the Cerbat are a direct link to the Pai (Hualapai and others) and the Amacava are a direct link to the Mojave. By historic times in A.D. 1600, the Mojave, Hualapai and the Paiute were the three main tribes of Mohave County, as they are today.
Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate and approximately thirty men including two priests, headed west from the present day San Juan, New Mexico area and trekked across Arizona. Crossing the Verde Valley to the headwaters of the Santa Maria River, he followed the stream until it became the Bill Williams River (Rio San Andrés), and became the first European of record to enter the area of Mohave County. His time along the Colorado River must have been during flood stage as after he reached the Gulf of California he declared California to be an island which would be shown as such for 200 years on Spanish maps.
Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante made their way from Utah into northern Arizona. The small party of eight or so entered the Mohave County section of the Arizona Strip somewhere near the area of present day Colorado City and pushed south and then east to the Paria River.
Fray Francisco Garces, a Franciscan Missionary travels through the future Kingman area on his journey to bring Christianity to the Indians of Arizona. He first visited the Mojave along the Colorado River then traveled through Hualapai territory on his way east to find the Hopi and Navajo.
Jedediah Strong Smith, and a party of 13 to 18, traveled through Mohave County in 1826 and again in 1827 beginning the mountainmen era for Mohave County. He is perhaps the first Euro-American of record to see Mohave County, entering the area near the northeastern mouth of the Virgin River Gorge sometime between September 21 - 24, 1826. His party reached the Mojave Villages on about October 15, 1826, where they rested and traded peacefully with the Mojave. Smith was followed by Ewing Young. Young made a number of journeys through the Mohave County area, in 1826-27, 1829, and 1830. The 1826-27 party included Dr. James Craig, James O. Pattie, Sylvester Pattie, Isaac Slover, George C. Yount, William Pope, Nathaniel Miguel Pryor, Richard Laughlin, Edmond Russell and Jesse Ferguson. This particular party left a bloody trail of conflicts with Indians all along its route of travel. The 1829 party, which included Kit Carson, generally had peaceful relations with the Indians, particularly the Mojave. In 1830, Young again had problems with the Mojave.
John C. Fremont made a trip from Santa Fe, New Mexico to California on the Old Spanish Trail. As the route crosses the northwestern corner of current day Mohave County, we can safely say that the “Pathfinder” crossed our county. This is only one of many trips that Fremont made through Arizona and appears to be the only time he ever entered Mohave County boundaries. That includes his term as one of Arizona’s territorial governors.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brings the portion of Arizona lying north of the Gila River including Mohave County area as a part of other newly acquired territories into the United States.
Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, one of the first U.S. Topographical Engineers, and party explores the Kingman area on his survey of the 35th parallel route across Arizona.
Francois Xavier Aubry made a number of excursions across northern Arizona and Mohave County. His journeys, in 1853, took him through Mohave County a little farther north than most of the military expeditions.
Lt. Amiel W. Whipple traveled the southwest area of Mohave County on his expedition to survey a practical route for a railroad across the 35th parallel.
In 1854, Francois Xavier Aubry once again followed the same basic route across Mohave County. This time, he took a wagon, a larger force of men, and stated that his intent was to locate a wagon road as close as possible to the Thirty-fifth Parallel.
1857-59 Lt. Edward Beale, commissioned by the government to lay out a wagon road along the 35th Parallel, uses camels in addition to pack mules and horses. His road building crews locate springs in the Kingman area that would eventually bear his name and become one of the first water sources for the new town of Kingman.
Lt. Joseph C. Ives was selected to explore and survey the Colorado River, via riverboat, to a point as far up the river as he could reach, and thus determine the river’s navigability. After reaching the farthest point of navigation, he was instructed to explore the upper river overland in order to better map the Colorado River and its tributaries.
In response to immigrants being attacked by Indians on the Beale Wagon Road at the Colorado River Crossing. Ft. Mojave is established by Col. William Hoffman, 6th U.S. Infantry, as a protection against the Indians. Major Lewis Armistead is placed in charge when Col. Hoffman is ordered elsewhere by his superiors.
Fort Mojave is abandoned at the beginning of the Civil War in the east.
Jacob Hamblin crosses the Colorado at the site of Pierce Ferry. This site would become a major crossing point for Mormon pioneers as the made their way into new Arizona settlements.
Fort Mojave is re-garrisoned by two companies of Fourth California Volunteers. Men from the fort explore for gold. John Moss discovers a rich deposit about 5 miles N.W. of the Oatman area. Arizona separated from New Mexico Territory.
Mohave County is one of the first four counties of the new Arizona Territory and its county seat is set at Mohave City next to Fort Mojave.
Captain William .H. Hardy establishes a trading post and a ferry, which becomes known as Hardy's Landing or Hardyville about 6 or 7 miles up river from Fort Mojave. The incorporation of the Mohave and Prescott Toll Road is approved by the Legislative Assembly with tolls as follows: “each wagon and two horses 1 1/2 cent per mile and each additional animal 3/4 cent per mile; one horse and vehicle 3/4 cent per mile; pack animals 1/2 cent per mile; horned cattle, horses and mules and others in droves 1/2 of 1 cent per mile; sheep, goat, or hog 1/8 of 1 cent per mile.”
There is a full outbreak of hostilities between miners and settlers and the Hualapai Indians.
Military encampment is set up at Beale's Springs to protect the mails and travelers from Indian attacks on the Mohave and Prescott Toll Road.
The Mohave County seat is moved from Mohave City to Hardyville.
Camp Willow Grove is established on the eastern side of Mohave County near the area called the Willows. The purpose of the Camp was to provide support, protection, and supplies to the troops and travelers along the Toll Road during the campaigns of the Hualapai conflict.
Major John W. Powell explores the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.
The Walapai Mining District was formed and it would lead to the growth of mining in the Cerbat Mountains and the establishment of mining communities to support mining activities
One of the last military-supported survey explorations of the Southwest and Arizona (including Mohave County) was conducted by 1st Lieutenant George M. Wheeler of the Corps of Engineers.
Major John W. Powell made his second exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. This time he spent more time surveying the surrounding countryside of the canyon area as well as a large area of the Arizona Strip of Mohave County.
Camp Beale's Springs is commissioned and serves as a temporary reservation for the Hualapai Indians. With the end of the conflict with the Hualapai, the mining activity resumes in the Cerbat Mountains and the communities of Cerbat, Todd Basin, Mineral Park and Chloride are founded.
The Mohave County seat is moved from Hardyville to the new mining town of Cerbat who had narrowly beat out Chloride and Hardyville in the election of 1872. Cerbat built the first “permanent” court house and has the distinction of being the first site of a legal execution of a convicted murderer in Mohave County. A man named Michael Dekay was hanged on January 14, 1876, for the murder of his wife.
Camp Beale’s Springs is deactivated and the Indians are sent to reside on the Colorado River Reservation at Parker.
1876 Up to October, 2,000 mines have been located and recorded, of assays from $1,000 to $10,000 per ton silver. Population of Mineral Park is now about 200 with a five-stamp mill, private school house, post office, stores, saloons and private dwellings.
The Mohave County seat is moved from Cerbat to the booming mining town of Mineral Park.
The first house erected in Kingman area was the dwelling of Henry P. Ewing and William Heimrod. It was destroyed by fire in June of 1903.
Kingman (formerly known as Middleton) is established as a siding on the new Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.
A U.S. Post Office is established in Kingman with Edward E. Thompson serving as the first Postmaster.
The first train pulls into Kingman.
The county tax rolls for Kingman include: one tent used as a restaurant, one tent used as a residence, a lumber house known as Ryan and Lassell's Saloon, a hotel run by B.H. Spear, a stable and a corral with one horse. Truly, it can be said that Kingman was a one-horse town.
The Atlantic & Pacific Railroad opened its first depot, in Kingman. It was a wooden two story building. This was the only depot along the railroad in Mohave County.
Kingman was host to the first Masquerade ever held in Mohave County.
Kingman becomes Mohave County's fifth county seat beating out Hackberry and Mineral Park in a special election in 1886.
Mohave County's population is now about 1,500 with 300 at Kingman. Cerbat has a five-stamp gold mill and a five-stamp silver mill. Gold Basin has a ten-stamp mill and Signal a ten-and twenty-stamp mill. About 60,000 head of cattle and 5,000 goats range the mountains and mesas and 2,000 acres are under cultivation in the valley of the Big Sandy (alfalfa, barley and vegetables).
Kingman's new public school constructed of red bricks and dubbed “the Little Red Schoolhouse,” opened its doors to students.
The Arizona and Utah Railroad is completed and is making runs daily (except Sunday) to Chloride. It became so frequently used by the citizens of Kingman and the other communities along the line that it was referred to locally as the CB&F RR or “Chloride Back and Forth Railroad.”
Mohave County’s first telephone directory with 23 listings for Kingman is published in the Mohave County Miner.
Kingman's population has grown to 550. Chloride is now a booming town of 2,000. Jose Jerez discovers gold in the area that would become Gold Road.
The Hotel Beale is opened in Kingman and it would become a major accommodation stop for the rail traveling public in Northwestern Arizona.
The Atlantic & Pacific Railroad depot, (now known as the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railroad), in Kingman, burns down and is rebuilt as a smaller one story building,
The Santa Fe Eating House (Harvey House) is opened in Kingman.
Oatman - Goldroad mining area is opened up and along with the mines of Gold Road a general explosion of population begins.
E.T. Perkins surveys along the Colorado River and recommends dam sites at Boulder Canyon, Black Canyon, Bull’s Head and Parker.
The Elks Lodge, founded in 1899, formally dedicates their tufa stone lodge building located at 4th and Oak Streets in Kingman.
The Beale Hotel is purchased by Tom Devine, father of actor Andy Devine.
The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad depot again burns down.
The new and current Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad depot is opened.
Clement C. Leigh is hung behind a stockade at the Mohave County Courthouse for killing Jennie Bauters, a soiled dove, in Acme now known as Goldroad.
The Desert Power & Water Company's powerhouse in Kingman becomes operational. Designed to initially supply power to the mines in the Gold Road district, it also supplied inexpensive electrical power to other area mines, homes and businesses.
The Hotel Brunswick opens in Kingman. It is Mohave County’s second three story building replacing an earlier brick three story building on the same site. It is the first three-story building in town constructed of local tufa stone.
On February 14, Arizona becomes the 48th state. The county seat of Kingman celebrated the event of statehood with the following activities:
Forty-Eight heavy dynamite charges were discharged.
Services of commemoration were held at the Elks Opera House.
Rev. Clyde Deming offered up a patriotic prayer.
Judge Carl G. Krook and William E. Mahoney made patriotic speeches.
School children sang patriotic songs.
An orchestra played patriotic pieces.
Mrs. Thomas Devine sews a star for the new state on a flag that her son Andy proudly carries in an impromptu parade.
The National Old Trails Highway was established and wound its way through Mohave County bringing an ever-increasing amount of automobile traffic.
The new Mohave County Courthouse constructed of local tufa stone is dedicated and opened at the northern most end of 4th Street in Kingman.
An exciting mining boom is in full swing at Oatman and Gold Road.
Mohave County Union High School opened on 1st Street at the end of Oak Street in Kingman. It would serve as the only high school for Mohave County until high schools were built in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu.
Central Commercial Co., “America's most amazing country store.” opens in Kingman. It would be the largest supplier of hardware, dry goods and foods throughout Mohave County for more than 50 years.
The Kingman Fire Department, an all-volunteer department is officially organized.
Mohave General Hospital opens in Kingman to provide comprehensive medical services to all Mohave County residents.
A new federal highway is designated through Mohave County, as U.S. Route 66 begins its life as the "Main Street of America."
Kingman Grammar School opens its doors for the first time, replacing the “Little Red Schoolhouse.” It would come to be called Palo Christi.
Congress authorizes Boulder Canyon Dam Project. (Hoover Dam)
The first Ford Tri-Motor "Tin Goose" airplane lands at "Port Kingman". The airport was established and dedicated by Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart as part of a promotional tour on July 8, 1929, for the Transcontinental Air Transport Company. "Port Kingman was one of the first commercial airports in Arizona and TAT was the forerunner of TWA.
Six traffic stop signs are installed on Kingman intersections the first traffic control signs in the county.
"Talkies" came to Kingman and Lang's Theatre had a grand opening to celebrate the first all-talking movies to come to Mohave County and the town. The movie was The Love Parade.
President Hoover signs the bill for the Boulder Dam Project.
Hoover Dam was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt on September 30th. Lake Mead is formed and begins to fill.
Hoover Dam power structures are completed and power generation can commence.
Parker Dam was completed. Lake Havasu was formed and begins to fill.
On March 29, 1939, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard were married by Rev. Kenneth Engle at St. John's Methodist Church in Kingman.
Davis Dam construction authorized. Located just north of Bullhead City which was begun by Utah Construction Company (prime contractors for Davis Dam).
Work started on Davis Dam, but would stop on the Dam in December as all construction resources were diverted to the war effort.
The Army Air Force opened the Kingman Army Airfield to serve as a Flexible Gunnery School to train aerial gunners. An estimated 36,000 gunners were trained here.
World War II airfield, auxiliary to the base at Kingman, constructed at Site Six on the Colorado River.
First Mohave County Fair was held in Kingman.
Kingman Army Air Force Base is de-activated including all auxiliary fields.
Work resumes on Davis Dam as well as the growth of Bullhead City
Storage Depot 41 is established at the former Kingman Army Air Field and over 7,000 planes were stored there. Most were salvaged.
Natural gas comes to Mohave County.
Highway 66 bypasses Oatman as the new highway section opens between Topock and Kingman.
Kingman is incorporated. It becomes the first incorporated city in Mohave County since Chloride incorporated in 1900 and unincorporated in 1916.
Davis Dam is completed.
Front Street is designated Andy Devine Avenue in honor of the TV and film actor who grew up in Kingman. The designation was announced on national television during the show "This Is Your Life" when it featured the life of Andy Devine.
Ford Proving Ground at Yucca is dedicated at the 4,000 acres of the abandoned WWII Army Airfield Sub-Base. The test site was set up for performance and durability testing in a hot dry climate.
AT&SF Railway Locomotive, Engine 3759, is introduced to Kingman and area residents in August and put in place at its new permanent home in Locomotive Park.
Mining sees some resurgence when the Duval Mining Corporation begins an open pit copper mining operation in Mineral Park.
Lake Havasu City was established in 1963 by Robert P. McCulloch as a self-sufficient, planned community.
Mohave County pioneer Amy (Cornwall) Neal's dream becomes a reality on April 27th, when the Mohave Museum of History and Arts is dedicated by native Arizonan and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.
Mohave community College is founded with its district offices in Kingman with education centers established at Bullhead City, Colorado City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City.
London Bridge is opened and dedicated in Lake Havasu City. Robert P. McCulloch purchased the London Bridge for $2,460,000. Moving the bridge to Lake Havasu City and reconstructing it in the middle of a desert cost an additional $7 million.
Southern California Edison builds the coal fired, Mohave Generating Station, power plant across the Colorado River from Bullhead City, Arizona. A majority of the 500 plus employees and their families reside in Mohave County, Arizona.
The old vacant Mohave County Union High School was destroyed by fire.
Kingman suffers the loss of 12 citizens, 11 of them volunteer fire department personnel, at a railroad propane tank explosion on July 5.
Lake Havasu City is incorporated.
U.S. Interstate 40 is opened through Kingman completing the section of I-40 that traverses Mohave County.
The Duval Mining Corporation, Kingman's largest employer, shuts down most of its operation at Mineral Park.
Kingman celebrates its Centennial Year.
Kingman Daily Miner, formerly the Mohave County Miner and the Mohave Daily Miner celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Duval's Mineral Park operation closes entire operation causing negative impact on employment in Kingman area.
1983 Kingman Hospitals, Inc. takes over management of Kingman Regional Medical Center.
Bullhead City is incorporated.
Kingman's "Great Locomotive Pull" moved Engine #3759 forward to accommodate the addition of a caboose to the in locomotive and its tender at Locomotive Park.
Casino owner, Don Laughlin, funds and builds a bridge across the Colorado River connecting Bullhead City, Arizona and Laughlin, Nevada. He donates the 3.5 million dollar bridge to the states.
First Annual Route 66 Fun Run across Mohave County from Seligman to Topock
Historic Elks Lodge 468 building in downtown Kingman is heavily damaged by fire.
The Olympic Torch passes through Mohave County.
The renovated historic Brunswick Hotel and the historic Power House open in Kingman.
Mohave Generating Station, Laughlin, Nevada ceases operation causing a major negative impact on employment in Mohave County, Arizona.
Ford Proving Grounds in Yucca, Arizona ceases operation. The facility is sold to Chrysler LLC.
Nationwide economic recession of 2007 has major negative impact on tourism and construction industry in Mohave County, Arizona.
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Mohave Museum of History and Arts
400 West Beale Street
Kingman, Arizona 86401