Bed Races, Bikers, and Bold Burrosby John Scott on May. 23, 2012, under Uncategorized
Oatman, Arizona has a fascinating past. Starting out as a mining town, it originally consisted of simple tents. History is a little fuzzy on the some of the facts from the 1880′s, but we do know it was not called Oatman for many years. The Vivian Mining Company took roots around the turn of the century and for awhile the town was named Vivian. But by then, the area already had a colorful past.
Legend says that in 1851, the Oatman family was moving north on an emigrant train. At one point the family separated and eight Oatman members were besieged by Indians. The Oatman Massacre, as it is now known, took the lives of all but three children. These children were taken captive by the indians. Mary Ann, Olive, and Lorenzo. Mary Ann died in captivity. Lorenzo was thrown over a cliff and miracuously survived to search for his remaining sister. In 1856, Olive Oatman was found. She had been tattooed on her jaw, a mark that would always remind her of her ordeal with her Mohave Indian captors. So, in honor of the massacre, Olive’s successful son, John, influenced the town fathers to give the town its current moniker.
In the early years, the town was kept alive by gold strikes. The original post office was founded in 1904, just after the Oatman hotel was finished. Both of these buildings, wooden sidewalks, and many more historical structures remain in Oatman, giving it a real Old West feel. Also being on historic Route 66 sure doesn’t hurt it. Did I mention Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon in the Oatman Hotel? Serenaded by burros…
Hey! Is this the town with the wandering donkeys?
Yep, ancestors of the burros used by area miners were released into the mountains. Every day they come down and roam the streets looking for tourists with food. By sunset, they head back into the mountains where they all live in a gated donkey community (ok…maybe not).
Heading up to Oatman might be a nice little Old West getaway. It also holds interest for some other lifestyles. Being on the “Laughlin Run”, Oatman is a favorite spot for motorcycle enthusiasts, and classic car drivers. There’s gunfights, food, shopping, history, and don’t forget about the roving donkeys. Oh, I almost forgot! In July they hold their annual Sidewalk Egg Frying Contest, and in January there’s bed races! What could be better? Well…maybe bacon.