ROUTE 66 – OATMAN, ARIZONA [For Susan Littlefield]

Uploaded 11 Oct 2010 — 34 favorites
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© Richard Knight
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More of Richard Knight’s Photos

  • ROUTE 66 – HARD TIMES (#1) [For Joe Failk]
  • ROUTE 66 – OATMAN, ARIZONA [For Susan Littlefield]
  • ROUTE 66 – ODE TO THE JOADS (For Karen “Foto Fiddler” Roberts)

Photo license: © All rights reserved

[On U.S. Highway 66 – The “Mother Road” – 25 miles from the Colorado River and California]

Leaving the Joads and the Depression-era camp behind, I continued west and was soon at the gates of Oatman, Arizona.

Oatman attracted some miners as early as 1900, and when gold was discovered in 1915, the population rose to 3,500. The boom lasted about ten years. Then the mines closed.

Oatman struggled to survive, mainly by catering to the basic needs of the occasional motorist who dared wander this remote and hostile stretch of road. That was before the arrival of Interstate 40, which siphoned what little traffic there was.

New capital and marketing brought Oatman back, more or less. The businesses seem to barely get by, even though many merchants are selling quality handmade products, including Indian jewelry, knives, and leather goods. Oatman is just too isolated.

Oatman has the appearance of a western movie set, and at least three major “westerns” have been filmed there. The Oatman Hotel (1902) is open for business, and it was there that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard enjoyed their honeymoon.

The main attraction, I suppose, are the “wild” burros that stroll up and down the street and the boardwalks. Feeding them is encouraged (as long as you buy your carrots and pellets from a local vendor). The town trades on its main attraction. Storefront businesses sport such names as “Jackass Junction,” “The Classy Ass,” and “Fast Fanny’s.”

Oatman – like all of the little towns along Route 66 – is impoverished. The recession and the cost of gasoline have dealt Oatman and its ilk a hard hand.

42 responses

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    This is fantastic!! I love the burros that are so comfortable strolling through town! I also really like that you included the old truck and the new car....quite the juxtaposition! Didn't The Fendermen choose their name to honor Fender Guitars??? Oatman looks like a marvelous place to visit. Thank you for your delightful photos and narrative!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight said (11 Oct 2010):

    Well, that didn't take long. Go to the head of the class, Susan. Yes, they played Fenders. And what a sound they got! Thanks for your nice comment!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    I sure hope you are going to print all of this stuff eventually. What a travelogue!! Nice to hear remarks from a literate person too!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    I love your collage and you really are educating me my friend.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    What a nice collage and the narrative is interesting as well..All little towns struggle to survive because of the recession and then being isolated such as Oatman is does not help. The little town where I grew up I remember had 2 grocery stores, a general store and a meat store plus other thriving businesses when I was a child...In the past few years the one remaining grocery store went out of business. It no longer has a grade school and the students go by bus to a neighboring town 18 miles away where also there is a high school...I think how fortunate that I was that I lived there when they had a grade school...

  • Nancy Richard

    Nancy Richard gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    This is a great collage! Love the burros. The info is so interesting, too!

  • dana io

    dana io gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    Love your every stop on the route!

  • Patty Gross

    Patty Gross (Deleted) gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    Loving this collage beyond belief!! What precious little burros, and just the whole town is mesmerizing! I love your Route 66 images, as well as the perfectly explanatory narratives. I've learned so much from your travels, Richard, it's almost like going along. I hope you have a great time in Colorado, just have a blast with your friends, be safe, and come back with more wonderful photos and history of lands I may never see....but will know about thanks to your kindness and generosity.

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    A super journey... love the inclusion of the red sports car, so out of place yet so perfect in the collage!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    I love this collage,,love the burros,,the red car,,so much to view,,and interesting as well..

  • Thad Zajdowicz

    Thad Zajdowicz gave props (11 Oct 2010):


  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    I vote for a travel book too!! I love this addition to your series. It is sad that the town is having such a hard time. I hope they turn it around.

  • Heather Mellon

    Heather Mellon gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    This collage really pops.. beautiful colours and views, and such an interesting narrative! I'm enjoying this series tremendously!

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    what wonderful captures and memories here. Heeeeee-hawwwwww!

  • Ioana Caravan

    Ioana Caravan   gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    Each day I'm learning something about photography, music , history, places, friendship or just.. a new word in english. Thank you so much!

  • Warren ~Mangione~

    Warren ~Mangione~ gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    Wow, how cool is this! Nice collage, Dick! I have to say you captured some very pretty asses in that town. I think is is so great that the let them stroll around town.

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (11 Oct 2010):

    Fantastic photography Cousin!!! I also love the narrative. you always make it sound so interesting. You do have a way with the telling!!

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (11 Oct 2010):

    That old '20's truck caught my eye! Love this collage. those sweet burros took my heart! Where else could there be a Jackass junction with all those animals around. Listen to those guitars talk! Nice background music while i'm reading. Bet this little place swung back in the 'old days."

  • Winky Vivas

    Winky Vivas (Deleted) said (12 Oct 2010):

    This is outstanding, Dick! A wonderful collage and narrative, indeed...

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (12 Oct 2010):

    Killer tribute.

  • Steven Schutz

    Steven Schutz gave props (12 Oct 2010):

    Is that animal real? usual..great shots and information...

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight said (12 Oct 2010):

    Thanks, everyone. Wig, they are real burros. "Well, I'm an old mule skinner."

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt   gave props (12 Oct 2010):

    I love the burrows as well! Your photos are really photo essays! Great one Richard!

  • Joerg Schlagheck

    Joerg Schlagheck gave props (12 Oct 2010):

    Fantastic glimpse into rural Arizona and it's past.

  • Loree McComb

    Loree McComb   gave props (13 Oct 2010):

    awh, now there's one of the donkey's - love it

  • Sarah Springer

    Sarah Springer (Deleted) gave props (13 Oct 2010):

    Your collages are awesome! It is sad about the town. Hope Oatman can recover.

  • david ong

    david ong gave props (13 Oct 2010):

    great series and collage, awesome job Dick!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (13 Oct 2010):

    Another wonderful collage and entertaining, as well as informative caption. Love the burros.

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia   said (14 Oct 2010):

    What a great trip you must have had... All the post you share with us almost gives me the feel of being there... thank you Master Richard.

  • Jyri Vissak

    Jyri Vissak gave props (15 Oct 2010):

    Beautiful series! I like this one best.

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (15 Oct 2010):

    Lovin' those mules...great trip!!

  • peggy maguire

    peggy maguire said (17 Oct 2010):

    Am enjoying your travels Dick....Peggy

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes gave props (18 Oct 2010):

    What a wonderful tribute, collage, music, are very inspiring Mr. Knight (oops I mean Richard ; ) )

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (18 Oct 2010):

    You find the neatest little places! What a great collage and narrative. Thanks for sharing this, Dick!

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (21 Oct 2010):

    we're gonna have to find time to get back there and actually park and walk around. These are great shots and really capture the essence of the locale!

  • Zapata Juan P

    Zapata Juan P   gave props (22 Oct 2010):

    Great image.

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (2 Nov 2010):

    Incredible, I knew of some places in the states to be isolated, forgotten and almost destroyed, but here it is the drama, nicely described and illustrated!

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (3 Nov 2010):

    Interesting story and photos!

  • Lise Utne

    Lise Utne gave props (11 Nov 2010):

    Thanks for bringing us on your tours through your collages and accounts!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (15 Nov 2010):

    Great series

  • Jon Matthies

    Jon Matthies said (27 Nov 2010):

    Nice shots! I don't live in too far, but havve never been there... yet!

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