From its inception 1882, Kingman, Arizona has been a stop on the way to someplace else. It was founded an built on transportation.
But it was also a destination. For many people Kingman was the land of opportunity. It was a place where people could get a fresh start and enjoy the dawn of a new day.
In 1881, the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad, forerunner to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, established a construction camp at the site of present day Kingman. As the company pushed the rails west, the construction camp followed. But a few people stayed behind.
Lewis Kingman, the towns namesake, was a railroad survey engineer. His work included the approval of contractors for certain jobs. One of those contractors was Conrad Shenfield.
Shenfield was one the people that saw a bright and shining future in Kingman. He filed with the railroad and received a 160-acre townsite privilege along the right away. On June 9, 1886 Mohave County Judge John M. Murphy certified his deed.
But Shenfield had begun collecting on his investment immediately. And was also the city’s first taxpayer. In 1882 he was assessed $4,555 on assets that consisted of the town site and property including wagons, equipment to level lots, tools, wagons, mules, horses and blacksmith shop.
In 1883 tax records indicate that there were seven property owners in Kingman. 1883. I.N. Cochran owned a stable with corral and one horse. H.W. Coleman owned a lot with a tent that he used as a restaurant. H.W. Klienworst had a tent, and was building a house. W.H. Lake had two lots, one with a wooden building used as a saloon. Ryan & Company owned a saloon. A. Spear had two lots with a two story hotel. And E.W. Smith had a lot with tent and corral.
Shenfield’s dream of empire ended with his unexpected death in 1888. To settle the estate, the court auctioned the unsold lots.
At first Kingman, even though it had the advantage of railroad access, was overshadowed by mining boomtowns such as Cerbat, Chloride and Mineral Park. But in less than fifteen years, Kingman was designated the county seat. And as the mining towns began the slide to abandonment, Kingman experienced steady growth.
The 1884 assessment of Kingman properties reached the sum of $15,703, a dramatic increase from $6,970 assessed the year prior. for the year 1883. By the turn of the century Kingman could boast of several churches, a red brick schoolhouse, and even after a series of devastating fires, a booming business district along Front Street (Andy Devine Avenue).
Within thirty years the town boomed as a transportation hub at the junction of U.S. 66, U.S. 466 and the railroad. Added to this in 1929 was Port Kingman, a terminal for Transcontinental Air Transport, the first successful passenger air service.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Kingman is still a transportation hub. To this has been added an industrial park with tremendous potential. And it is also a have for retirees fleeing the land of six and eight month long winters. It is still a great place to enjoy the dawn of new day.
Beginning anew in Kingman, Arizona, or just looking for a fresh start, begins with Apex Manufactured Homes. We are the leading dealer of quality Schult Homes in Arizona.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America