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ReadMore - Locomotive Park, Kingman, AZ

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This page last updated on 01/14/2018
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On a trip to Laughlin in January of 2009, we stopped by the Locomotive Park in Kingman, AZ, home to famed steam engine #3759. Built in 1928 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Eddystone, PA, Engine No. 3759, a “Northern-type” coal burning steam locomotive ran passengers between Los Angeles and Kansas City for more than 20 years, and before it was retired by the Santa Fe Railroad, it had run a total of 2,585,600 miles. This engine was a 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam engine. It was one of sixty-five engines of this type used by AT&SF. 4-8-4 refers to the wheel configuration of the engine. There is a four-wheel leading truck, supporting the cab of the engine. This four-wheel truck is followed by an eight wheel driver arrangement. The driver wheels on the steam engine were 73 inches in diameter. The driver wheels are followed by another four-wheel truck, the trailing truck, which supported the fireboxes and the boilers. The 4-8-4 configuration made locomotives faster, and was used mainly on fast freight and passenger trains. In 1941, Engine No. 3759 was rebuilt and converted to run on oil fuel. Engine No. 3759 was presented to the City of Kingman by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1957 as a historical monument. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Area Description: Kingman, the Heart of historic Route 66 & one of the hidden treasures of Arizona, is conveniently located on Interstate 40 and is the perfect launching point for "Route 66 and Beyond". Scenic hiking, historic charm, great cafes and restaurants, and the allure of Route 66 combine to make Kingman a remarkable destination. At an elevation of around 3,300 feet Kingman offers a temperate climate year-round. Kingman was founded as a railroad settlement and a monument in the park pays tribute to those who forged the route, such as the wagon trails of the early settlers and the surveys of Lt. Edward Beale. Located directly across from the Historic Route 66 Museum, Locomotive Park is a place where visitors may get up close and examine this marvel of earlier locomotive structure and design while listening to the modern trains whizzing by on the nearby railroad tracks across the street.

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History of Old Steam Locomotive 4960:  Locomotive 4960, last used on the Grand Canyon Railroad, is on display at the Grand Canyon Railroad depot in Williams, Arizona. The 4960, a 2-8-2 was first used in CB&Q excursion service on December 28, 1958 when the Illinois  Railroad Club sponsored a trip between Chicago and Ottawa. 4960 received a major overhaul in 1961 where she received new tires, flues, arch tubes, and arch brick. On March 4, 1966, after over seven years of excursion service, the CB&Q announced that steam trips would be discontinued after 4960's July 17 trip. However, 4960 was not scrapped. In 1966, 4960 was retired to the Circus World Museum where she remained until donated to the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society's museum at North Freedom, Wis. In 1980, she was leased to an excursion operator, the Bristol & North Western (B&NW) Railroad, in Bristol, VA. A short-lived reprieve, she entered service running out of Bentham, Va., during the summer of 1981.

During this time, a personal relationship began between 4960 and two present Grand Canyon Railway employees: Ervin White, train master, and Robert Franzen, superintendent motive power. White was part of the crew that prepared 4960 for the trip and moved her from North Freedom to Bristol. He stayed on with the B&NW in charge of train operations and maintenance of track. At this same time, Franzen signed on with the company as a fireman. Both worked on the engine to prepare her for the 1981 season and continued to operate her throughout the summer as firemen and engineers. By 1984 the picnic was over. The B&NW went out of business and Franzen ran her for the last time from Benhams to Bristol. Both White and Franzen bid her farewell, not knowing they would eventually meet again.

In March 1985, the engine was moved to Ft. Wayne, Ind., where she declined in storage until purchased by the Grand Canyon Railway. Shortly after the reinaugural of the Grand Canyon Railway on September 17, 1989, mechanics dissembled most of the components and shipped the running gear on trucks and the frame, boiler, cab and tender on flat cars to Williams, AZ.

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Finally stopped in July 1993, she began one of the most thorough overhauls of a steam locomotive in modern times. Stripped of all running gear, tubes, electrical systems, bearings, pumps, stay bolts, and coal systems, she looked a bit forlorn. But, as newly manufactured and rebuilt equipment is added to the basic frame and boiler, the huge engine continued to take on a new life of her own. Boiler men, welders, electricians, and mechanics turned out flue sheets, pumps, fittings, and running gear to low tolerance specifications from raw material that made 4960 the queen of the United States steam fleet. No rebuilding in the past 45 years has been so complete. Franzen was in charge of this massive rebuilding project that spanned more that 24 months and expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ervin White supervised train operations.

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ReadMore - Lake Las Vegas and Las Vegas Wash

Lake Las Vegas is a 320-acre artifical lake. The dam that creates the lake is an "earthen structure 18 stories high and 4,800 feet in length. It is 716 feet wide at the base. It contains roughly the same amount of dirt as Hoover Dam does concrete".

The Las Vegas Wash is a 12-mile-long channel which feeds most of the Las Vegas Valley's excess water into Lake Mead. The Las Vegas Wash is the primary channel through which the Las Vegas Valley's excess water returns to Lake Mead entering at the Las Vegas Bay. Nearly 97 percent of the water flowing into Lake Mead comes from the Colorado River. The remaining 3 percent of the water in Lake Mead comes from the Muddy and Virgin Rivers and nearly 2 percent from the Las Vegas Wash. The wash is fed by urban runoff, shallow ground water, reclaimed water, and storm water and acts as the kidneys of the environment, cleaning the water that runs through it. The major natural sources that feed the wash are: Duck Creek, Las Vegas Creek, Flamingo Wash, Pittman Wash, Monson Channel, Sloan Channel, Meadows Detention Basin, and the Tule Springs Wash. Near its terminus at Las Vegas Bay, the wash passes under the man-made Lake Las Vegas through two 7 foot diameter pipes.

Every day, about 100 million gallons of raw sewage is treated by the Clark County Water Reclamation District's several facilities, which cleans sewage water for unincorporated Southern Nevada. Roughly 90 million gallons of reclaimed water is released daily into the Las Vegas Wash, replenishing Lake Mead with billions of gallons every year. In exchange, we are allowed to take that much more water out of the lake, over and above our preset allotment.

Erosion is perhaps the greatest threat to the Las Vegas Wash, and therefore is one of the biggest challenges being addressed. One way to mitigate the potential for erosion is by placing erosion control structures (which are also known as weirs) throughout the Wash. In total, 21 structures are planned for the Wash. As of May 2017, 19 have been completed and one is currently being constructed. The weirs are constructed using steel sheet pile, concrete and flexible rock rip rap. As sections of the channel are stabilized, additional riparian and wetland habitat are developed. The weirs help slow the water, creating a pond behind the structures in which wetland plants can establish. Weir construction activities also clear acres of invasive plants such as tamarisk from the banks of the Wash. These cleared areas are then revegetated with native species. So far, 337 acres of land has been revegetated along the Wash.

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ReadMore - Amtrak Station & Model Railroad Museum

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This page last updated on 01/27/2018
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Description: Kingman has passenger rail service at its train station. It is served by the Amtrak Southwest Chief route, with daily service between Los Angeles and Chicago. The small Amtrak station in downtown Kingman (Fif. 01) is a historically significant building, constructed in Mission Revival Style architecture; however, prior to the establishment of Amtrak in 1971, the structure had fallen into disrepair with the decline of passenger rail service in the U.S. A total renovation of the building was completed in 2010. While still serving as a railroad station, the building is also now home to a model railroad museum (Fig. 02). Kingman also is located on the Southern Transcon route of the BNSF Railway. This is the main transcontinental route between Los Angeles and Chicago, and carries 100 to 150 freight trains per day.

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History Recent research shows that Kingman has had four railroad depots, all of which were operational prior to Arizona being admitted as the 48th State to the United States.  The first train to come to Kingman arrived on March 28, 1883. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad used a boxcar then as a depot at the southeast corner of 4th and Front Streets (Andy Devine Ave.) until a proper depot was built.  All subsequent depots were constructed in the same location. The Second was built in 1885 and destroyed by fire in 1900.  The fire was said to have been caused by hot cinders from a passing steam engine. The Santa Fe Railway then built a single-story wooden depot in 1900 that looked similar to the current one, except that it did not have the ornate roof structures.  This new depot opened its doors in December.  It burned down on June 24, 1906, and again the fire was said to have been caused by hot cinders from a passing steam engine. After having lost the two previous depots to fire, the Santa Fe Railway built a new depot that was fireproof and constructed of concrete with a stucco siding. This was a success, as the depot that opened on July 22nd, 1907,  is still standing today (Fig. 01). By the early 2000's the depot was in disrepair. It was restored, and the building was reopened in the spring of 2011.  Although the station is an unmanned station (meaning there are no ticket agents or baggage services), Amtrak uses the west end of the building as a crew room and passenger waiting room for the two Amtrak trains that stop there daily.  At one end there is a 111 year old luggage cart is The larger portion of the building now houses the Kingman Railroad Museum and is used by the Whistle Stop Railroad Club twice monthly for their membership meetings.

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The Model Railroad Museum: The Whistle Stop Railroad Club Railroad Museum is located inside the train depot on Andy Devine, Historic Route 66, at Fourth street. It is in the east end of the building. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The 14,500 square foot museum space showcases various relics, different types of model trains, and the history of trains here in Kingman. Built by the members of the Whistle Stop Railroad Club, there are three beautifully detailed model train set layouts, each of which that have several trains running. They include HO-gauge, Lionel O-gauge, and N-gauge. With the cooperation of the City of Kingman, the Whistle Stop Railroad Club operates and maintains the Kingman Railroad Museum. The club is comprised solely of volunteers who have a shared interest in the preservation of the historical depot, finding and obtaining railroad memorabilia, and in sharing their findings with the public. At this time, the volunteers of the club are revamping the HO layout by adding DCC wiring and making the Plexiglas walls around it to be more camera friendly. The N-gauge layout is also currently undergoing an expansion. As you enjoy the museum’s displays, the BNSF freight trains speed by the Museum’s floor-to-ceiling viewing windows (Fig. 05).

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The detail of these three layouts is absolutely amazing. The first one you see when you enter the room is a "HO" Layout (a scale of 1:87). HO was created after the First World War to make layouts more suitable for smaller home layouts and cheaper to manufacture. For this new scale, a track width of 16.5 mm was designed to represent prototypical standard gauge track, and a model gauge scale of 1:87 was chosen. This came on a raised, quasi-ballasted trak with a guage of 16.5 mm, which was described at that time as either 00 or HO. Accessory manufacturers, such as Kibri, marketed building in the corresponding scale. In figures 06, 07, & 08 below you can see a farm, a container shipyard and a trestle bridge and construction area. At the end there is even a section that shows the depot and an area of downtown Kingman (Fig. 09). Click on each picture to see more detail.
                                        
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The second layout in the middle of the room is a "O" scale (1:48 to 1:43.5) (Fig. 10). By the 1930s three-rail alternating current "O" guage was the most common model railroad sale in the United States and remained so until the early 1960s. Even though its popularity declined due to the introduction of smaller scales, a number of changes in recent years have addressed the concerns of scale model railroaders, making "O" scale more popular. Due to its larger scale there are less tracks.  In spite of this, four trains run around the large mountain in the center and the detail is still quite amazing


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The third layout to the left rear of the room is an "N" scale layout, where the scale ranges from 1:148 to 1:160. In all cases, the gauge (the distance between the rails) is 9mm (or .354"). Height is a measurement of schedule; i.e. schedule 55 or 60 mil rail height with brow ties, while schedule 80 the rails are 80 mils and the ties are black. The advantage of the popular "N" scale is that it allows hobbyists to build layouts that take up less space than HO scale, or put longer track runs into the same amount of space, because the models are smaller (by nearly a half) than they are in HO scale. This layout was so large, it was hard to take it all in. The view in (Fig. 15) is only about half of this layout. The details, like those seen in Figures 18 and 19, provided by Robert Croke are just amazing. There was even one of a helicopter crash scene that show two people carrying an injured person down the hill (Fig. 20). We all really enjoyed our visit here and would definitely go back again if we were in the area again.
                                                       
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(Fig. 18) Picture courtesy of Robert Croke
(Fig. 19) Picture Courtesy of Robert Croke
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ReadMore - Mohave Museum of History & Arts

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Description: Founded in August 1961 by the Daughters of the Pioneers and operated by the Mohave Pioneers Historical Society, the Mohave Museum of History & Arts was originally an archive room in the office of the Chamber of Commerce.  In 1967, the first building was erected (dedicated in 1968) in the Chamber’s parking lot (Fig. 01). Renowned Southwestern artist Roy Purcell was the first director in the new building and he developed many of the displays still in use today, including the Hualapai Indian room and the Mohave History room.  Roy Purcell is the same artist who painted the ‘Journey’ rock murals in Chloride, AZ. The Museum expanded in 1979 with additional exhibit space.  By 2000 the Chamber offices were relocated and their building was removed to make room for Museum parking.   Now history buffs can dig into the museum’s library which was built and opened in 2005. located on the east wall (Fig. 02), this well known mural is by local artist Sandy Rusinko who is a member of the Mohave Artists and Craftsmen's Guild. Ms. Rusinko has been a muralist since the 1980's and created many larger-than-life works in public settings for years, including this mural shown below that is on the Mohave Museum in Kingman, Arizona. The Museum introduces visitors to the history of Northwestern Arizona. Dioramas & murals illustrate prehistoric times, mining (exhibit added in 2008), ranching (exhibit added in 2010) and history with a local flare.  It  also includes an Andy Devine exhibit, a local boy turned movie star in the 1930’s known for his funny voice. Outdoor exhibits include murals, a 1923 wooden railroad caboose, and various mining machinery (Figs. 04 & 05). Figure 04 was taken from the back of the railroad caboose.
                                   
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ReadMore - Patayan Culture

Patayan is an anglicization of “Pataya,” a word of the Pai branch (Hualapai, Havasupai, Yavapai, and Paipai) of the Yuman-Cochimí language family that translates loosely as “old people.” As used by archaeologists, Patayan describes prehistoric and historic Native American cultures who inhabited parts of modern-day Arizona, west to Lake Cahuilla in California, and in Baja California, between 700–1550 A.D

This included areas along the Gila River, Colorado River and in the Lower Colorado River Valley, the nearby uplands, and north to the vicinity of the Grand Canyon. Patayan culture is sometimes known as the Hakataya culture. Their nearest cultural neighbors were the Hohokam in central and eastern Arizona. The historic Yuman-speaking peoples in this region were skilled warriors and active traders, maintaining exchange networks with the Pima in southern Arizona and with the Californian Pacific Coast tribes. Patayan remains one of the least-studied late prehispanic cultural traditions in the American Southwest.

One reason for this is the lack of research carried out in this rather remote frontier of western Arizona and southeastern California. The harsh environment limits the amount of ongoing archaeological fieldwork in the area and there are not many remains to find. Most Patayan people appear to have been highly mobile and did not build large structures or accumulate numerous possessions. In upland settings, Patayan communities were highly mobile and probably followed seasonal rounds much like historic Pai groups. Encampments were small and impermanent, and people did not accumulate much nonperishable material, on account of their mobile lifestyle.

The Patayan Culture may have originally emerged along the Colorado River, extending from the area around modern Kingman northeast to the Grand Canyon. These people appear to have practiced floodplain agriculture, a conclusion based on the discovery of manos and metates used to process corn in these areas. Stone points and other tools for hunting and hide preparation have been found, suggesting an economy based both on agriculture and hunting and gathering.

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ReadMore - The Bonelli House - Kingman AZ

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This page last updated on 01/14/2018

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Description: In January of 1895, George married Effie E. Tarr Bonelli (1875-1961), daughter of the Kingman Santa Fe Railroad station master.  They had nine children (one succumbed to scarlet fever in 1905) and operated four successful retail shops and a 250,000 acre ranch.  Their first home was built in 1894 as a wedding gift for Effie and, desiring the latest innovations, the house was wired for electricity.  In 1915 the house caught fire from a suspected electrical short.  Everyone escaped to safety but most of their possessions were lost.  The Bonellis rebuilt the home in nine months with a fire-resistant plaster, local quarried Tufa stone and an exit door from every room (upstairs and downstairs)  to the veranda.  Passive air-conditioning was provided by the cupola (captain’s tower), which drafted hot desert air upward and out the roof. The picture in (Fig. 01) is of the rebuilt house.

Most of the children moved from Kingman, but the Bonelli House remained the epicenter of family gatherings for two generations.  The seventh child, Joseph (1907-1974), was the last to live in the House.  In 1973, the City of Kingman acquired the home and it was turned into a museum as part of the United States Bicentennial Project, opening to the public in 1978.  The house is furnished with period pieces (circa 1900-1955) and original Bonelli family possessions such as clothing, accessories, art, crafts, books, and remnants of family treasures. Operated by the Mohave Pioneers Historical Society, the House provides an excellent example of Anglo-territorial architecture at the turn of the 20th century. Volunteers and tour guides walk visitors through the home giving a tour of this special period on Southwest American history. Tour guides are at the House weekdays to conduct personal tours, provide historic background, share stories, and answer questions about pioneer life and activities of the day.

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ReadMore - Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner

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This page last updated on 01/25/2018
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Description: I have eaten many times at Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner (Fig. 01) and have brought friends here on more than one occasion. The picture in (Fig. 02) is of my friend Mark Resnic on a visit in 2008 on a return trip from the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque New Mexico. On my most recent visit on 01/25/2018, I took Bob Croke and Jim Herring here for a late lunch. Neither of them had ever been here before. Choosing from the 15 "burgers" on the menu, we each had a different burger and a different Ice Cream Frappe (Fig. 03). All were delicious. This old fashioned diner, serving traditional diner fare, and is best known for its homemade root beer and pizza.  The diner is loaded with Route 66 memorabilia as seen in Figures 04 thru 06.  Mr D'z, since 2000, has been operated by Armando & Michelle Jimenez, who have worked very hard to bring Mr D'z to where it is today....Armando has been a Chef for some 20 odd years, and has worked at restaurants on Catalina Island, Avalon, California, and most recently, before re-opening Mr D'z was the Suez Chef at the former Brown Derby at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Inspired by the everyday family cooking that we grew up with, you’ll feel at home while savoring a great meal in their casual and relaxed dining room (Fig. 05). Mr. D'z was also profiled in the March 2013 issue of Arizona Highways magazine. Full breakfast is served open to close, great Burgers, plus lunch and dinner entrees. With attentive service and a friendly atmosphere, it makes it one of the most popular restaurants on Route 66. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for good comfort food, quality service and a fun throwback atmosphere, all for a reasonable price. So stop on in and enjoy the atmosphere and make this a place to remember.

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ReadMore - Powerhouse Visitor Center & Museums

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This page last updated on 01/14/2018
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Description Probably one of the most prominent buildings in Kingman is the Powerhouse Visitor Center (Figs. 01 & 02). Once part of a 10,000 horsepower output plant, this multi-purpose building today is home to the Kingman Visitor Center & Gift Shop (Fig. 03), the Arizona Route 66 Museum, the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum, the Carlos Elmer Photo Gallery, the Skywalk Information Center & Gift Shop, and two model trains on tracks that circle the inside of the building.

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The Arizona Route 66 Museum, opened in May of 2001, depicts the historical evolution of travel along the 35th parallel that became Route 66. Brilliant murals, photos and life-size dioramas capture each of the groups that have traveled what came to be known as the Mother Road. In the Museum you can view displays from photos to life-sized dioramas depicting the travel and travelers along this road which was so important in its day. The story begins with early trade routes and the Beale Wagon Road, which enabled pioneers to cross the land in "prairie schooners" such as the one displayed below (Fig. 04). Feel the hardship and despair of the dust bowl refugees as they journeyed along the Mother Road to a better life (Fig 04). An old Chevrolet truck and quotations from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath help you understand the tough times along Route 66 during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Storefronts, murals, and a 1950 Studebaker Champion car illustrate the good times of the post-war era. The 1950 Studebaker Champion 4dr. had a suggested retail price of $1487.00. US Highway 66 or Route 66 was and is the most famous road in the United States highway system, and quite possibly the most famous and storied highway in the world. Route 66 is hard to beat as a travel theme for your next vacation.
                             
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The Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum, opened in 2014, is the first of it’s kind anywhere and can be accessed only through the Arizona Route 66 Museum. This 3,600 square foot Museum includes more than two dozen (and counting) vehicles. Some have been donated and some are on loan from the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation, with members world-wide. The Foundation’s purpose is to preserve the history of and examples of electric vehicles from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century for all the peoples of the world to enjoy and learn from. There is a wide range of vehicles from golf carts to land speed cars. One of the first things you see are the Willie Nelson’s Rolls style cart next to Waylon Jennings’ Mercedes 450SL style (Fig. 08). Willey's has a built in bar dispenser in the back that allowed for a selection of five mixed drinks (Fig. 09). At the end of this row was a Corbin Sparrow, manufactured by Corbin Motors in Tallmadge, Ohio (Fig. 10). It was produced between 1999-2003 and sold for $29,995. It had a range of 20-40 miles and a top speed of 70 mph. Next there was a 1930 Detroit Electric (Fig. 11). It was manufactured by the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit, MI. It was in production from 1907 to late 1938. It has a range of 80-211 miles, a top speed of 20 mph and a cost of $2,885.00. 13,000 Detroit Electrics were built in total, the last car was shopped in February 1939. There was the "Buckeye Bullet 2.5" (Fig. 12) from the Ohio State University. It set two international land speed records of 033.025 mph at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats on 25 September 2009. There were several California manufactured electric micro cars from the 1940s, 50.s and 60s, including a 1960 Electric Shopper electric micro car, a 1966 Autoette “Power Car” and a 1959 Marketeer (Fig. 13). There was a 1909 Ellwell-Parker baggage tug (one of two known to exist in the world) (Fig. 14). It had three speeds and a top speed of 20 mph. There was an ASU Formula Lighting Indy Style race car (Fig. 15), and a Lyman Electric Quad built circa 1970 manufactured in Norwalk, CT (Fig. 16). It had two speeds, 10 & 18 mph and a range of 25 miles. There were many others. This unique museum promises to be one of the most interesting collections of transportation artifacts you’ll see anywhere.
                                     
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The Powerhouse History: The building, built in two phases between 1907 and 1911, was operated by the Desert Power & Light Company and powered early Kingman and area mines starting in July, 1909.  Ground breaking for the new plant, designed by the Tracy Engineering Company of Los Angeles, took place around June 10, 1907 and construction was underway by the middle of July.  The first building was to be 60 feet wide by 110 feet long. The walls were constructed of poured concrete, 18 inches thick and nearly 20 feet high. Upon completion of the walls, an iron truss roof was put into place. A spur track of the Santa Fe railroad was run to the site to provide for easy delivery of equipment and material. The project cost more than $300,000. In the year of 1908 they brought in two large dynamos, which would be the heart of this oil-fired, steam-driven plant. By October of 1909, almost all of the Kingman businesses were electrically lighted and many of the residences followed suit. Two subsequent additions increased the initial basic output of 1500 horsepower to over 10,000 horsepower. It also supplied power for the construction of Hoover Dam, until the Dam began producing cheaper hydroelectric power in the late 1930’s. It was soon mothballed after the building of the dam.

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