Colorado Steamships

From 1852 through 1909, Colorado Steamships ferried people and supplies up and down the Colorado River to mining camps and outposts. Following the discovery of gold in California, westward expansion of the United States was on the mind of most people seeking their fortune of livelihood. Wagon trains, horses and trains all brought people deep into the new county seeking their fortune. Lesser known is the role of the steamships, which brought supplies and people up the Colorado River from Baja California to the Green River in Wyoming.

View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Continue Reading →

Cerbat Arizona

Founded in 1870 Cerbat Arizona is a gold mine ghost town and former county seat for Mohave County, Arizona. The surrounding area started to attract prospectors in the 1860s. The journey was tough just to them to get into the area due to the remove location. Prospectors would travel up the Colorado River by steamship and disembark in Hardyville which is overrun by Bullhead City. Once offloaded, they would need to find their way north about 40 miles across the hot dry desert.

Cerbat Arizona in 1870
Cerbat Arizona in 1870

Continue Reading →

Mineral Park Arizona

Mineral Park is a ghost town located in Mohave County Arizona founded in 1870. Once started, operations continued until 1912. The journey was tough just to them to get into the area due to the remove location. Prospectors would travel up the Colorado River by steamship and disembark in Hardyville which is overrun by modern Bullhead City, Arizona. Once offloaded, they would need to find their way north about 40 miles across the hot dry desert.

Today, the town site is now covered by a modern mining operation.

Mineral Park, Arizona @1880
Mineral Park, Arizona @1880

The post office was founded on December 31, 1872 and shortly after its formation the town was the county seat for Mohave County. Once mining operations came online, the little town supported a variety of businesses to service operations and the needs of its citizens including lawyers, doctors, blacksmiths, carpenters, hotels, assay offices, smelters saloons and dining halls.

Continue Reading →

Callville Nevada

Callville Nevada is a ghost town and Colorado River Steamboat port, which is now submerged below the waters of Lake Mead. Bishop Anson Call founded and established a colony and warehouse on the Colorado River at the direction of the Mormon Leader Brigham Young. The settlement was located about 15 miles up river from the location of the future site of Hoover Damn.

  Call's Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 - Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Call’s Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 – Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →