Kingman, Arizona sure is one unique town. Its history, well that’s pretty unique too. Kingman has been an area traversed ever since the 1850’s. Kingman was first explored by Lieutenant Lorenzo Sitgreaves, who also passed through the Oatman/Goldroad Area in 1851. They traveled along the 35th parallel. A navy lieutenant by the name of Edward Beal created the first trail through the area. It was known as Beale’s Wagon Road. He was assigned the job of creating a road to California, trying to stay as close to the 35th parallel as possible. Beale’s Wagon Road was later paved and turned into part of Route 66 in 1937. Other than the typical mules and horses, Beale was part of an army experiment which involved camels. For more information on this experiment, view our Hi Jolly history page.
With the completion of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad across Arizona in 1883, Kingman became a railroad stop. Lewis Kingman, who was an engineer for the railroad, decided to name the small town after him. As well as rail traffic, Kingman was also a stop for airliners. On July 8, 1928, Charles Lindbergh landed in Kingman to inaugurate his new mail service. He would be flying from Los Angeles, California to New York, New York in 48 hours. One thousand five hundred people met him at the Kingman Airport.
Clarke Gable and Carole Lombard were married in Kingman in a small Methodist church. They then honeymooned in Oatman in order to not be followed by the press. Kingman is also ‘home’ to Andy Devine. While Devine was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, he lived much of his early life in Kingman. Kingman was boosted by mining in the nearby mountains, including Oatman, Chloride and Mineral Park. Kingman also was boosted by the construction of the dams along the Colorado River. The final boost for Kingman was the use of the Kingman Airport for WWII training. Over 35,000 personnel were trained at the gunnery school on this air force base. After WWII was over, Kingman Air Force base was used to store old war planes. Nowadays, Kingman is a hub for DHL Airlines.
Kingman has been the county seat for Mohave County since 1887. Places to visit in Kingman include the Mohave County Museum of History and Arts, the Route 66 museum and the Kingman Army Airfield museum just to name a few.
The Kingman Army Airfield during World War II*
The Hualapai Mountains south of Kingman
Varney, Philip. Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. 10th printing. Phoenix, AZ: Department of Transportation, State of Arizona, 1994. 36. Print.
Trimble, Marshall. Roadside History of Arizona. 2nd edition. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2004. 294-295. Print.