Oatman, Arizona, An Old Ghost Town

J IOatman, Arizona, An Old Ghost Town

Or Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves on Old Route 66


We wanted to see some old ghost towns while we are staying in Kingman, Arizona so we took off yesterday to see Oatman and hopefully get some interesting photographs.

When we got there, we were extremely disappointed to see that it was entirely commercial, with the board walks filled with cheap T-shirts, wind spinners, and other imported knick-knacks.

The only reason we stopped was to see the burros, and they are everywhere in the street.

The babies are incredibly cute, but the locals actually have to put stickers on their foreheads that say “do not feed me” since they are still nursing.

oatman 1

You can buy little compressed chunks of hay for $1.00 but watch out.  They got us with one of the oldest Carney tricks there is, giving you change for a twenty with the two fives folded to look like three fives.

Of course my husband just stuffed it in his pocket, and we found out when we got back. He also noticed a guy that offers to clean your sun glasses for free and then another guy picks your pocket. It’s just so sad to see a historical site turned into such a sad, run down junkyard of abandoned houses and unhappy citizens.

One of the locals said they have over 200 mules in town that are descendents from the original abandoned miners’ pack animals.

Oatman is in the Black Mountains with an elevation of 2,710 feet. It started as a small mining camp soon after two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find in 1915.

“Prospectors imported burros to Arizona in the 1860’s, then abandoned them after a mining bust. Having evolved in the deserts of North Africa, the burros did just fine in the arid Southwest, and their population in Arizona is now about 4,800.”-Washington Post 2016

The road on Old Route 66 is winding with some breathtaking views of the hills and mountains so I did get a couple of nice shots.


I did see a mountain goat on the way back.

oatman 3

We saw a couple of girls parked here on the way up, so we stopped to see what we thought was an old mine and this is what we found:



It’s pretty dry now, so it looks like the spring is either dry or there is a leak…

“During the WPA construction of the “Gold Road Section” from Gold Road Mine to Kingman, sources of water for animals, cars and humans alike were hard to find.

A man named Shaffer found water seeping from cliff walls and built a basin made of indigenous rock and concrete. He set it where the springs could drain into it.

Locals kept gold-fish, snails and plants in it to help keep the water fresh and algae free. Many local residents call it the Gold Fish Bowl.

The spring has frozen over or gone dry, but someone always restocks it with fish. The only hint of its presence is a column of stone stairs built up the cliff wall to the basin.”-Route 66 News



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s