Recently, I received an invitation from the Route 66 Association of Kingman to join them in their search for vintage signs in the historic Beale Hotel. The family that owns the property has joined with the association in their initiative to locate, restore, and replace historic signage in the original business district as well as along the Route 66 corridor.
It was a most fascinating venture. The family diligently works to preserve the property and prevent further decay but with limited financial resources it is a daunting task as this is an expansive and massive complex; three stories, three adjoining buildings including the territorial era Sportsman’s Bar, and cellars under each one.
The storied old hotel that served as the boyhood home for character actor Andy Devine has a rather lengthy celebrity association. Buster Keaton stayed at the hotel while filming Go West in 1925. Charles Lindbergh was a frequent guest during the construction of the airfield to serve his pioneering T.A.T. Airline. Purportedly, Tap Duncan, Louis L’Amour, and Amelia Earhart were also guests.
Today the old hotel and its vast catacombs are a dusty time capsule where a century of Kingman history is preserved. Exploring the historic hotel by flash light gave the adventure a sort of Indiana Jones feel, especially in the cellars as the light played across A-1 beer cans, a shelf full of irons from the 1950’s, boxes of paperwork and records, and old pool tables from the Sump Bar that was once a favorite watering hole since its underground location ensured it was a cool oasis on hot summer days.
This tarnished gem is truly deserving of restoration that will again make this the crown jewel in the Kingman historic district.