When it opened as a J.C. Penny’s on the corner of Fourth and Beale

The grand opening of JC Penney’s in Kingman, Arizona. Photo Mohave Museum of History & Arts.

Street in the early 1950’s, the building represented the dawn of a new era in Kingman. With its recent transformation into Beale Celebrations, it again represents the dawning of a new era, a renaissance of the city’s historic business district.

Its bright turquoise exterior accented with neon trim and signage crafted by Legacy Signs encapsulates the palpable vibrancy that is sweeping the district, and the passion of young entrepreneurs opening new businesses. In just a few short years award winning microbreweries and a diverse array of restaurants have replaced empty storefronts and missions. Events such as First Friday and Chillin’ on Beale (third Saturday evening of the month, April through September) fill the streets with locals as well as visitors from around the world. 

Never judge a book by its cover is an apt adage to describe historic downtown Kingman today. Most travelers pass through this historic business district on Andy Devine Avenue, Route 66, a corridor that is still dominated by forlorn and empty store fronts and historic hotels. Just one block north on Beale Street is another world. Rickety Cricket with its bright neon signage, array of craft beer, and made on site pizzas, pastas, and breads has become the hot spot in downtown Kingman. Formerly the Kingman Club (that sign has been restored as well) this delightful restaurant and brewery is directly across the street from Beale Celebrations.

One block to the east, Black Bridge Brewery, another microbrewery, and Diana’s Cellar Door often host live entertainment during the evening. Floyd & Company offers award winning barbecue dinners as well as wood fired pizza. The Garlic Clove is one block further on Beale Street. On Andy Devine Avenue is the down at the heel Sportsman’s Club, an authentic territorial era western saloon.

Through the Kingman Tourism initiative developed by MyMarketing Designs, neon night historic district walking tours are offered. Led by internationally acclaimed author and historian Jim Hinckley, and illustrated with photos from the archives of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, these tour provide a unique opportunity to follow the districts evolution, to experience its rich history, to enjoy the refurbished neon, and to be introduced to its hidden gems.

As to lodging in the area, don’t be deterred by the historic Beale and Brunswick Hotels, long closed. There is a refurbished Motel 6 a few blocks west on Beale Street, the expansive Quality Inn, a renovated Ramada Inn built in 1964 is less than a mile to the east on Route 66. However, if you really want to experience all that the district has to offer, there are numerous listings on Airbnb that offer unique lodging opportunities such as Brunswick Studio Suites in a renovated circa 1911 garage, or Cactus Kitsch a half block from Beale Celebrations.

With all of this in mind, is it any wonder that people are renting Beale Celebrations for weddings, presentations, conferences, meetings, and assorted events?

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America


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