Sunday, August 28, 2016

Oatman, Arizona

The Arizona town of Oatman was born in 1906 as a tent camp, flourished as a gold mining center, producing over 1.8 million ounces of gold. By the 1930's the boom was over and in 1942 Congress declared that gold mining was no longer essential to the war effort. Burros came to the city with the early day prospectors. The animals were also used inside the mines for hauling rock and ore. Outside the mines the burros were used for hauling water and supplies. As the mines closed and people moved away, the burros were released into the surrounding hills.

The burros in Oatman today are descendants of domestic work animals, and are themselves wild; they bite and kick.  They are protected by federal law from capture, injury, or harassment. They are cared for by the BLM.

Baby Burro

Oatman now receives over 500,000 visitors each year, drawn by its history as a gold mining center which produced over 36 million dollars in gold at 1930 prices.

Filmmakers choose the area for making feature films such as "How the West was Won," "Edge of Eternity," "Universal Soldier," "Foxfire," as well as commercials, calendars, and historical documentaries.

Historic Route 66 runs through Oatman and while we were there a large group of bikers from Brazil were there, we believe taking in the sights on the historic route.  The trail of people who migrated in their Model T's from the midwest in the 30's, it is the last stop in Arizona before entering the dreaded Mojave Desert in Southern California.

We ate lunch in the Oatman Hotel.  All over the walls, ceilings and beams are one dollar bills that people have written on and tacked up.  (I had a hamburger and Jim had a hotdog - both were excellent.) The first bill was put up during the mining era by the miners. The purpose of the bill was so that they could come and drink and that was how they paid their tab. Usually the miners just paid cash and left their dollar bill for future tabs. Also, when they died their dollar paid for anything else they might have owed the Hotel.

Looking into town from up the road

Burro walking up the street

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