Just across the
River and up the hill from Laughlin,
is the historic town of Oatman,
Arizona. Often described as a
town, it doesn’t quite fit the category, but close enough,
considering that it once boasted over 10,000 people and now supports
just a little over 100 people year-round.
Though Oatman is
only a shadow of its former self, it is well worth a visit to this
town” that provides, not only a number of historic buildings and
photograph opportunities, but the sights of burros walking the
streets, as well as costumed gunfighters and 1890s style ladies
In its heyday, from the
early 1900s to the 1940s, Oatman
and the nearby town of
were the largest producers of gold in
Johnny Moss first mined the area for Gold
in the 1860's, staking claims to two mines, one named Moss, the other
Oatman, after Olive Oatman who was kidnapped by Apaches, sold to
Mojave Indians and released after five years near the current town
site in 1855.
mining would have it's up and downs in the Black Mountains until the
early 1900's. An official town began to form around 1904, complete
with a Post Office, when the Vi-vian Mining Company began operations.
The tent city called Vivian quickly grew as miners flocked to the area.
Between 1904 and 1907 the mine yielded over $3,000,000 and a large
gold find at the Tom Reed Mine in 1908 brought in $13,000,000.
In 1909 the town changed
its name in honor of Olive Oatman.
Hotel, which was built in 1902, did a brisk business to the area
miners. This old hotel, renamed the
Hotel in the 1960's, is the only historic two story adobe building
in Mohave County. Though guests no longer stay the night here, there
is a museum on the top floor and a bar and restaurant on the bottom
In 1915, two
miners struck a $14 million gold find, providing yet another boom to the
settlement. Soon, the town had its own paper, the Oatman Miner,
as well as dozens of other businesses.
was first built in the 1920s, several supporters worked to have the road
parallel the railroad through
Yucca, where its supporters lived. However,
its peak as a mining community and had more clout. So, even though
it made the drive more difficult on those old Model-T’s, the road took the
hazardous journey up Sitgreaves pass and bypassed