Seniors Find An Old Mining Ghost Town In Arizona


Oatman, a small town on the National Register of Historic Places is in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona. Senior travelers will find Oatman on historic route 66, Oatman Hwy, about 28 miles from Kingman AZ just across the Colorado River and up the hill from Laughlin, Nevada.

One visitor noted that The Oatman Hotel is worth a visit. There is an ice cream counter on the ground floor and upstairs is the room where, supposedly, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon.


The Hotel is allegedly haunted by “Oatie”, the friendly ghost of an Irish miner. Oatman, AZ is what many call…“Old West Fun!”

Seniors Hear The Town’s Story

Located at an elevation of 2,710 feet (830 m), Oatman began as a small mining camp soon after two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find in 1915, though the vicinity had already been settled for a number of years.

Oatman’s population grew to more than 3,500 in the course of a year. The district had produced $40 million (or approximately $2,600,000,000 in today’s market price) in gold by 1941. Senior visitors will see many old historic buildings in town and some contain artifacts of the mining era.


“Oatman” was chosen for the name of the town in the posthumous honor of Olive Oatman, a young Illinois girl who had been taken captive by Indians during her pioneer family’s journey westward in 1851 and forced into slavery for five years.

She was later traded to Mohave Indians, who adopted her as a daughter and had her face tattooed in the custom of the tribe. She was released near the current site of the town. Although they discovered gold in the area in 1863, Oatman did not officially become a town until 1906.

 Seniors Find Burros In Oatman

Oatman was fortunate insofar as it was located on busy U.S. Route 66 and was able to cater to travelers driving between Kingman and Needles, California. Yet even that advantage was short-lived, as the town was completely bypassed in 1953 when a new route between Kingman and Needles was built. By the 1960s, Oatman was all but abandoned…except of course, for a lot of wild burros.


Today Oatman is an authentic old western town with feral burros roaming the street.  Back when Oatman was a gold boom town, the miners hauled their supplies with faithful burros. When the gold ran out, around the time that the road got paved, the old miners simply abandoned their burros to fend for themselves.

These burros know their stuff and are often found blocking traffic, unfazed by the honking of passing motorists. Watch your handbags ladies, the burros are known to grab them thinking they may contain tasty burro snacks.

Seniors, when you are in northern Arizona, take a side trip over to Oatman and take in a weekend gunfight.  -jeb





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