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 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.