Recount History

Learn about the culture and history of our area at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts in historic downtown Kingman, Arizona. This ample collection of genuine artifacts tells the story of Kingman from ancient times to the present, from the Native Americans who first inhabited the land, to the early pioneers, mining expeditions and ranching.
The Mohave Museum, located at 400 W. Beale St. is the first stop of more than 30, on the Kingman Historic Downtown Walking Tour. This is a self-guided tour of notable buildings and museums, some of which date back to the 1800s.
You can pick up a map of the walking tour at the Mohave Museum. It is a great way to spend the day, getting a little exercise and learning about this corner of the Southwest.
Plan to dedicate at least an hour to the Mohave Museum, rich with information and artifacts from various donors. The cost is $4 for adults, free for children under 12, and also admits you to the Route 66 Museum and a tour of the Bonelli House — two other stops on the walking tour.
Upon entering the museum, the first exhibit is the hall of presidents, with a painted portrait of each U.S. President and First Lady. A copy of the Declaration of Independence, a collection of White House ornaments and other points of interest round out the dedicated space to American history.
Next is a small nod to the Route 66 era, with cutouts of James Dean, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, as well as a classic jukebox in one corner. This section is compact, as the Route 66 museum delves much deeper into this entire era.
The next room illustrates “The Mohave Epic,” a tale of Mohave County starting back in 8,000 B.C. It describes the Native American progression, from the Yuman tribes to the Mohave and Hualapai Indians. Next came Spanish explorers, followed by American trappers and military explorations. Wagon trails led way to prospectors setting up camp, followed by a railroad reaching the area in 1882. The “Epic” tells of Oatman, Fort Mohave and surrounding towns, as well as modern construction and civilization erupting as economic growth and expansion took over the county. Examples of a Native American dwelling, covered wagon, steam engine and more, accompany the exhibit.
Native American weaving and pottery is displayed in the next room, followed by ranching and mining exhibits. The beginnings of little mining towns, such as Oatman and Chloride, each have its own corner telling which minerals were found and who first developed the area.
Hometown pride is showcased in the Andy Devine exhibit, dedicated to the actor and radio star from Kingman. Devine appeared in several Western films from the 1930s-1960s. He was a sidekick to Roy Rogers several times, as well as appearing in John Wayne pictures. He also dabbled in animated roles, voicing Friar Tuck in Disney’s “Robin Hood,” among others. A life-size cutout, his actor’s chair and one of his saddles are among his belongings in the museum.
An Army airfield exhibit, wildlife display, a restored pipe organ and pioneer clothing round out the final exhibit. There is a small gift shop with Arizona souvenirs before exiting the museum. Current hours are Tuesday-Friday (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.).
Your next stop should be the Route 66 and Electric Car Museum within the Powerhouse Visitor Center at 120 E. Andy Devine Ave. This museum is currently open from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Remember to bring your ticket from the Mohave Museum for free admission to this museum (or vice versa).
The first floor of the Visitor Center includes two gift shops — one filled with Route 66 merchandise and another with general Arizona gift items. There are brochures and maps to numerous area attractions available here as well.
Upstairs is the Route 66 Museum, which begins with information on Native American trade routes, progressing through the early pioneer life, from wagon trails to the railroad and surviving hardships such as the Great Depression and World Wars. Then it carries on to brighter days of Route 66 passing through Arizona and bringing with it roadside commerce. A 1950 Studebaker Champion is on display next to a replica ‘50s diner and gas station. A mural of “the good times” expresses this thriving era of family trips down America’s Mother Road before the Interstate Highway System made the old route obsolete.
Follow the steps downstairs to the final exhibit — the electric car museum. A number of prototypes in the early days of automobiles are on display, from Mobilettes to the Detroit Electric Model 60. The Buckeye Bullet, an alternative-fuel racecar built by Ohio State University students is another interesting piece in the display.
After two museum tours you may be ready for a lunch break. Just across the street from the Visitor Center is Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner to keep with the vintage motif. Stop in for a milkshake, burger, hot dogs, or various other breakfast, lunch and dinner options, open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
After lunch head across the street to check off another item on the walking tour, the Santa Fe Locomotive #3759. The train was built in 1928 and ran from Los Angeles to Kansas City for 20 years.
If you continue down Andy Devine Ave. past the diner, you will run into Hotel Brunswick and Hotel Beale, both built at the turn of the 20th century. Turn up Fourth Street after Hotel Beale and see several of the notable tour buildings, including the Little Red Schoolhouse, built in 1896.
Head for the Bonelli House on 5th Street to ensure you don’t miss the house tours (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) Tuesday-Friday. This tour is also free with your paid museum admission.
George and Effie Bonelli built a house in downtown Kingman in 1895, but the original house was destroyed by a fire in January 1915. By the end of that year George had rebuilt the home for Effie and their eight children, which still stands today.
Several of the family’s belongings are displayed in the house, and the house itself remained in the family until the City of Kingman acquired the relic and opened it for public tours in 1978. The house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Sites since April 1975.
The house tour is not long and leaves plenty of time to continue meandering through town to hit as many of the walking tour highlights as desired. The rich history of Kingman and Mohave County has been preserved well and is worth the walk.