At the west end of Locomotive Park in Kingman, Arizona is a monument to the nations veterans, and another dedicated to Lt. Beale and his camel caravan. On the opposite of Beale Street, on the corner with Grandview Avenue is Metcalf Park, another delightful oasis. At the entrance to that park, under the towering trees, is the replica of a monument made from minerals obtained at area mines that once stood between the Santa Fe Railroad Depot and the Harvey House on the south side of Front Street, now Andy Devine Avenue, at the intersection with Fourth Street.

At the east end of Locomotive Park, the corner of First Street and Andy Devine Avenue is dominated by the garishly painted landmark that is Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. Ironically the diner known for its root beer and classic American fare appears to be a recreation of the romanticized image of a Route 66 roadside restaurant circa 1958 when in actuality it is authentic, save for the paint scheme. Originally operated as the Kimo Café (Kingman-Mohave County) the restaurant dates to 1939. Until its transformation into Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner a service station and garage adjoined the restaurant. Today the former garage serves as the gift shop and overflow seating area, and the fuel pump island and access drive is enclosed as a part of the restaurant.

Immediately to the east is an automobile dealership that specializes in the sale of classic vehicles. The blending of architectural styles make it difficult to ascertain its age but Dream Machines has a very lengthy association with Route 66. In fact its roots reach all the way back to the 1920’s and the establishment of Cool Springs on the eastern slope of the Black Mountains. The dealership itself dates to 1946. The glass enclosed showroom was a 1960’s addition. In its long history it served as a Ford and GM dealership, and in the late 1950’s, as the areas one stop sales and repair facility for the Edsel. One of the original partners in the dealership was Roy Dunton (the “D” in Mr. D’z). In his youth Roy for an uncle, N.R. Dunton who owned a garage in Goldroad near Oatman. N.R. was involved in an array of area businesses and in about 1926 established Cool Springs, a Route 66 landmark of the modern  era that literally rose from the ashes like the mythical Phoenix.

The historic district in Kingman is a bit worn at the heel but for urban explorers with a bit of an inquisitive nature, dusty gems abound. There is also ample evidence that a renaissance is well underway after years of decline that was precipitated by the bypass of Route 66 that funneled traffic through town on Andy Devine Avenue.

On the corner of Third Street and Andy Devine Avenue, a parking lot (check out the murals in the wall of the garage) recently replaced the Desert Drug, Frontier Bar, and Frontier Café. The Old Trails Garage itself was a rather nondescript structure with the west wall facing the parking lot is worth a bit of examination as in its rough hewn façade are fascinating peaks into the buildings construction. With assistance from the Route 66 Association Kingman the facade has been renovated and adorned with the logos from the various automotive companies that have operated here over the years; Mack, LaSalle, Buick, and Studebaker. The prize, however, is a renovated Packard neon sign that dates to about 1930. At the rear of the building a ghost sign offers mute evidence that Jeeps were also once sold and repaired there.

To be continued –

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America