The origins of place name
Oatman, Arizona, located in the Black Mountains of Mohave County got its start as a mining camp after prospectors struck gold in the area in the early 1900s. The town of Oatman was named after Olive Oatman, a young girl traveling west with a group of Latter Day Saints to establish a Mormon colony in California. Along the way, in 1850, she was captured by the Yavapai tribe in Arizona, where she was held captive for five years until being released nearby the modern-day location of Oatman in 1855.
The History of Oatman Ghost Town
In 1863 mountain man Johnny Moss struck gold in Oatman, after which its population and gold exports boomed. In 1906 Oatman was a big tent town, flourished as a miner community and in 3 years the mine produced more then 3 mill. $ in gold.
When the Tom Reed goldmine was discovered in 1908, Oatman became the second boom. In 1921, a fire burned much of Oatman, but the town was rebuilt. Just three years later the main mining company, United Eastern Mines, shut down operations for good. But with the birth of Route 66 and other smaller mining operations, Oatman hanged on, catering to the many travelers along the new highway.
By 1930, it was estimated that 36 million dollars worth of gold had come from the mines. The town boasted two banks, seven hotels, 20 saloons, and 10 stores Progress continued until 1930 and Tom Reed closed the mines in 1942 (when the Congress declared that gold was not more in demand as a important product) after he had produced 13.000.000 $ in gold.
In the 1970s, nearby Laughlin, Nevada started building up as a popular gambling mecca, and in the late 1980s, Route 66 again became a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Oatman started becoming very lively again.
Then, in 1995 the Gold Road mine was reopened, taking out 40,000 ounces of gold annually. In 1998, the mine closed again because of low gold prices. Mine then provided gold mine tours for several years.
The burros at Otaman Ghost Town
Burros first came to Oatman with early day prospectors. The animals were also used inside the mines for hauling rock and ore. Outside the mines, 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 you meet today in Oatman, while descendants of domestic work animals are themselves wild — they will bite and kick. Please keep a safe distance from them. Wild burros are protected by federal law from capture, injury or harassment. Help protect these living symbols of the old west.
City Life in Oatman Today
Oatman today is a tourist town. The main street is lined with shops and restaurants. Often described as a ghost town it doesn’t quite fit the category, but, close enough, considering that it once boasted over 10,000 people and now supports just a little over 100 people year-round.
Know Before You Visit
Oatman Ghost Town
Oatman is located about 30 minutes from Laughlin. Just plug Oatman, AZ into your GPS and head to Route 66. Parking is free and the whole town is walkable.
Before you come and spend time at Oatman Ghost Town in Arizona there are tips and advice for exploring abandoned places. We want to ensure that you enjoy your time there.
Know the Dangers When visiting Oatman Ghost Town in Arizona, the most obvious hazard is falling through rotten floorboards — but there are often much more sinister invisible dangers.
Wear proper clothing and equipment
If you’re going to be exploring, wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind ruining. Choose your footwear carefully too. Besides a camera and any photography props you might need, you’ll also want to bring a flashlight.
Don’t steal souvenirs from Oatman Ghost Town
The artifacts left near Oatman Ghost Town in Arizona once belonged to somebody, even if they haven’t been there for years. At best, you’re diluting the experience for other urban explorers; at worst, you’re stealing and desecrating a historic site.
Expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Places
|Mr. Gregory Hooqe is a highly experienced expert on Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. Mr. Gregory Hooqe has been focusing on Urban Development since 2000 and has written extensively on the subject.|
He was awarded the 2009 Korea Foundation Professional Award for his research on Korean Smart Cities, as well as the 2016 Korea Development Institute, Global Ambassador Award for SD and Innovation. Mr. Gregory Hooqe served for LG Technology Center and has been teaching and consulting at Shaanxi Railway Institute and KDI.