The area was home to many Indian tribes for centuries. In October 1857, Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale and his experimental Camel Corps trudged across the present site of Kingman, Arizona surveying a wagon road along the 35th parallel.
Before long there was a steady stream of travelers who often encounted hostile Indians in the area. The travelers needed protection so Fort Mojave was established on the Colorado River to protect the area. The soldiers started scouting the hills during their off-duty time and found gold and silver. Mining camps soon sprang up.
In the early 1870's cattle were driven in to take advantage of the lush grasses.
When the railroad came into the area, the town of Kingman was founded in 1881. In 1883 Kingman was established as a railroad stop. The locating engineer named Lewis Kingman named the stop after himself as he was surveying for the Atlantic and Pacific right of way.
In 1886 the local newspaper, Mohave County Miner, was established.
In 1887 Kingman was chosen to be the county seat for Mohave.
Today Kingman has over 60 buildings on the National Historic Register and is frequently referred to as the "Heart of Historic Route 66". A major street of Kingman is named Andy Devine Avenue and the town holds annual Andy Devine Days. When Route 66 opened and found its way through Kingman, many motel-café-service stations popped up. The street is part of Route 66 and the town's name is mentioned in the lyrics to the song, "Route 66".
Kingman has been a unique stop over for many people. Andy Devine grew up here when his father started the Beale Hotel, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard got married in Kingman. In 1928, Charles Linbergh (the first pilot to solo the Atlantic) made a stop in Kingman. This stop was made during the first 48 hour air mail service between New York and Los Angeles.
Kingman has strong economic streams in tourism, manufacturing, distribution and transportation. Not only is it on a major rail line route with Amtrak service, it is a major stopover on Interstate 40 and US 93 with plenty of hotels and restaurants. A major factor in the current growth of city is the climate. Summers are more moderate than many parts of Arizona, and the winters seldom see snow. If it does snow, you can usually wait an hour and it will be melted off.
Today, Kingman's strategic location make it the perfect stop for fishermen and water sport lovers on their way to Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and the Colorado River, as well as gamblers on their way to Laughlin and Las Vegas. With 3 major truck stops in the area, truckers and travelers headed east and west across the USA frequently stop in Kingman.