Oatman, Arizona

One of our favorite places on old Route 66. Considered a ghost town because it was originally built on mining. When the miners left Oatman nearly died.

View down Main st.
Named after a woman, Olive Oatman, who was captured and later released by the Mojave Indians, Oatman is still going today. Strike after strike kept Oatman alive, the biggest seems to be the 1915 strike of $14 million. The town had its own paper, the Oatman Miner. The population of Oatman went from a few hundred to over 3500 within a year. In 1921, a fire burned much of Oatman, but the town was rebuilt. Mining was somewhat sporadic through the next forty years, and Oatman still survives today.

Oatman Hotel
The Oatman Hotel, built in 1902, is the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mojave County and has housed many miners, movie stars, politicians and other scoundrels. The town was used as the location for several movies such as How The West Was Won, Foxfire and Edge of Eternity. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned at the Oatman Hotel March 18, 1939. Their honeymoon suite is still one of the major attractions that keeps the Oatman Hotel open. Gable returned here often to play poker with the local miners and enjoy the solitude of the desert. 

The Locals
Oatman is a fun place to visit -- an authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and gunfights staged on weekends. The burros are tame and can be hand fed. The burros were left behind when the miners left and now roam wild. I once put a carrot on top of my Aunts purse without her knowing. Took he a while to figure out why the burros kept nudging her. We usually stop and get a bag of carrots at a grocery store before we get to Oatman for feeding them. Although they also sell carrots there.. just a little more expensive.

Christmas Bush
Oatman has a contest to decorate bushes along the road to town. The rules are they must be decorated in a way that won't hurt the bushes. We saw this the first time in January of 2000 and had no idea what it was. This time I read about it before we went. We went the day after it started so we only saw 3 bushes decorated this time.  Each person who wants to participate has to sign up and pay a $10 fee. This is how they track who decorated them to make sure they clean them up when it is over.

More Locals
More of the stars of Oatman... We witnessed Momma calling baby and the baby came running from behind a building.