In the modern era Bullhead City, Arizona is known for many things. It is a recreational desert oasis on the Colorado River. It is a top rated location for remote workers. It is ideally suited for retirement. It has a friendly business climate that is ideally suited for the entrepreneur with vision. And, of course, we are known for hot summers and very mild winters.
Even though Bullhead City is not located along a major interstate transportation corridor, river boats, railroads and highways have played an important role in the areas development. And transportation will also be playing an important role in its future.
Key to Arizona’s early development was steamboats on the Colorado River and river ports that connected to a network of trails such as the Mohave Prescott Road. Hardyville and Mohave City near present day Bullhead City were crucial riverpoints in northwest Arizona. As an historic footnote, both towns also served as the county seat.
In the early 1880s construction of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad and the bridging of the Colorado River marked the beginning of the end for riverboat traffic. It also fueled development of river valley agriculture and mining on the west slope of the Black Mountains.
An almost forgotten chapter of railroad history in the Colorado River Valley is the short lived Mohave Milltown Railroad. With materials shipped across the river from Needles, California, this narrow gauge railroad was built in 1903 primarily to service the Leland Gold Mine near Oatman.
The seventeen mile line required a number of bridges to span deep arroyos and was completed before the end of the year. From a point on the Arizona side of the Colorado River across from Needles, the railway connected Milltown with the Leland Mine, Vivian Mine and the Midnight Mine.
It operated for just one year. Monsoon rains in September, and then torrential rains in October 1904, washed out bridges and sections of track. Repairs were never made, and the rails were removed in 1912. Seven miles of the railbed is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management as a scenic hiking and mountain bike trail.
A glimpse of the future is found in a recent announcement by Tami Ursenbach, Director Mohave County Economic Development. In the May newsletter she noted, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest billions of dollars in rural communities across the country. Supporting Americans living in rural areas remains a top priority for the Biden Administration, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers on the President’s promises to work toward delivering affordable, high-speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every rural community. In an effort to deliver on these promises, the Biden Administration is committed to improving transparency into the availability of federal infrastructure resources to support rural communities’ ability to access these critical funds.”
Bullhead City is a great place to live, to retire, to open a business and to raise a family. It is a city with a bright and shining future. If you would like more information about opportunity in Bullhead City contact the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America