Route 66 News

The story behind Kingman’s water tanks

Kingman water tanks

The Route 66 water tanks in Kingman, Arizona, remain one of the most-photographed sites in the city.

What you probably didn’t know is the tanks’ origins, and how close Kingman came to losing it forever.

The Kingman Daily Miner newspaper, publicizing the upcoming Best of the West on 66 Festival, delved into the water tanks’ history. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are the highlights:

  • The water tanks, once used to add water to railroad steam engines, are more than 100 years old.
  • One of the tanks once read on its side, “1,000 Miles of Shoreline” — a reference to Mohave County’s proximity to the Colorado River.
  • Rusty and leaking, the tanks were slated to be torn down in 1986.
  • Longtime Kingman resident Betty McBrayer led a citizen effort to save the tanks as historical artifacts.
  • McBrayer had a flair for the dramatic. After collecting more than 1,000 signatures urging the tanks’ preservation, she taped the signatures together into a long scroll and unrolled it across the floor of the city council’s chambers to the mayor’s desk.
  • After the tanks were refurbished, local residents pitch in with the upkeep — including its prominent Route 66 shield.

As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.

One thought on “The story behind Kingman’s water tanks

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