Adventure is a worthwhile stop.
Oatman, AZ, is an old mining town from the early 1900’s. It is not the first time I have come to this nearby ghost town and it certainly won’t be the last. Truth is, I wish it was one of those places that was best kept secret, and at the same time insist that it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Since it is along the Old Route 66, it is a popular tourist destination. And while it might be the most unusual stop along the way, make sure you check out Cool Springs Rest Stop and decide for your self.
The ambience of Oatman reflects the turn of the century. It was here the miners were tempted with the promise of gold, but it was the saloons, brothels and gambling that convinced them to stay.
The town was named for, Olive Oatman, a young girl who had been kidnapped by Native Americans and later traded back for supplies. There is curiosity that surrounds her life, because of a distinctive tattoo on her chin. Some speculate it’s representation signified captivity, and others believe it symbolized acceptance to a tribe. No one knows for sure.
Legend also tells us the Oatman Hotel is where Hollywood’s, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, spent the first night of their honeymoon. The hotel is a historic landmark, where the saloon is a must see, and a dollar to bill will add to the decor.
Today people are drawn to Oatman to see the wild burros that roam the streets. They are descendants of the once-domestic work animals that arrived with prospectors at the turn of the century. When the mines closed in the 40’s the burros stayed.
A day in Oatman is quite entertaining. There are shootouts staged in the streets, mines to explore, and shops of local artisans. The burros can be hand fed, but pay attention, they often wander into the shops, stick their nose into bags, and they definitely contribute to traffic control.
Grateful for this curious place that I also call…home.