Oatman Arizona

Oatman Arizona is a small community with a rich history located in Black Mountains in Mohave County, Arizona. Located near Bullhead City, the town of was named for a young woman, Olive Oatman, whos family migrated west and was mascaraed by Native Americans in 1851. She was captured at the young age of fourteen, and traded to the Mohave Tribe were her face was tattooed. She was released in 1856 at Fort Yuma.

Mines of the Oatman district; Up Gold Road Gulch, showing the surface relations of the Gold Road mine, right to left the following are identified; Gold Road Mill, No. 1 shaft, and No. 3 shaft. All the rock included in the view is the Gold Road latite. The generally easterly dip of the flows is distinctly shown. Mohave County, Arizona. 1921.
Mines of the Oatman district; Up Gold Road Gulch, showing the surface relations of the Gold Road mine, right to left the following are identified; Gold Road Mill, No. 1 shaft, and No. 3 shaft. All the rock included in the view is the Gold Road latite. The generally easterly dip of the flows is distinctly shown. Mohave County, Arizona. 1921.

The mining community first saw activity in 1863 when a prospector,  Johnny Moss, came into the Black Mountains and discovered gold. He placed several claims which he named for himself and Ms. Oatman. Mining activity continued the sputter for the next fifty years until the cost of transportation was reduced to allow a profitably venture.

1838–1903, by Benjamin F. Powelson (1823–1885), Albumen silver print, c. 1863, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1838–1903, by Benjamin F. Powelson (1823–1885), Albumen silver print, c. 1863, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

In 1915, the town of Oatman was founded following the opening of the Tom Reed mine, and a rich ore deposit in the near by United Eastern Mining Company’s claim. The stage was set and the town become another gold boom town. From 1915 to 1917 the town grew and its mines produced about 10 million dollars and the population swelled to over 3,000 people.

The town continued to flourish in spite of a fire in 1921 which destroyed many of the smaller buildings. Oatmans sunset came with world war 2, when the war effort demanded a need for non-precious metals and the mining operations ceased at this location.

Tom Reed Mine, Oatman, Arizona, 1935
Tom Reed Mine, Oatman, Arizona, 1935

Today, the ghost town has a population of just over 100 citizens, who, host over 500,000 tourists each year who come to visit the town and its wandering population of burro. This towns existence at this point if no doubt to its proximity to historic Route 66 and Interstate 40 and remains a popular destination.

Oatman Map

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