If you attended the First Friday festivities this month,
and took place in the scavenger hunt, evidence was abundant that the historic business district is experiencing a rather dynamic renaissance. The people behind the Kingman Center for the Arts and the owners of Southwest Trading Company, The Farmhouse, Black Bridge Brewery, Savon Bath Treats, Diana’s Cellar Door, Beale Street Brews, Garibaldi’s, Rickety Cricket, Floyd & Company, Gracie’s Vintage, the Garlic Clove and other businesses are fueling a dramatic transformation of the area into the center for Kingman’s night life and arts community.
Underlying the renaissance are passionate young entrepreneurs, community minded volunteers like Ken Conaway and Gene Kirkham, organizers of Chillin’ on Beale, and innovative, outside of the box thinking. Hobbyist classes at The Farmhouse attracts people from Kingman as welll as surrounding communities like Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City. The reputation of microbreweries and restaurants is spreading world wide, and often you will find people from Europe, Japan, and Australia mingling with locals as well as people from the river communities at sidewalk cafes.
Initiatives to foster awareness, locally as well as internationally, of all that the district has to offer are as diverse as the people that are investing time and money in the renaissance. Promote Kingman offers historic district tours led by author Jim Hinckley. The crowdfunded Jim Hinckley’s America projects, including the popular Friday morning program, also playing a part in the areas increasingly popularity. In 2017, the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook live programs reached nearly 79,000 people.
Route 66 continues to serve as the primary gateway to the district. On May 15, the first European Route 66 Tour will overnight in Kingman, and with assistance provided by the Route 66 Cruizers, people from Germany, Norway, Czech Republic, Netherlands, UK, Italy, France, and Belgium will be enjoying the neon, the beer, and the good food as well as a bit of shopping in the eclectic shops. During the Route 66 Fun Run, the first weekend in May, tour groups from Australia and New Zealand will mingle with auto, and Route 66, enthusiasts from throughout the United States and Canada.
Donations of vehicles are pouring in for the electric vehicle museum. Repairs have been made to the Hotel Beale. Plans are again moving forward for the renovation of the Brunswick Hotel. Dunton Motors with an ever changing display of vintage vehicles is becoming a destination. Neon is being restored and added to the district as well as the Route 66 corridor. Historic Kingman is experiencing a renaissance and it is exciting!