Colorado River Museum
By: Guest blogger Bobbie (Roberta) Kitto
When I was a kid going to a museum was an all-day affair. Our local town didn’t have any place that kept the town’s or local area’s history unless the library carved out a small section in the back room for a few artifacts that were donated by the relatives of a local citizen who had passed.
Information about the articles donated were usually summed up on a small index card and that was all the details offered. It usually didn’t stir enough interest to go looking for more information even if the library had it. We had to go downtown to the big city. Often, the building itself was so imposing that you were sure you would be lost and never found again if you didn’t keep up with the tour guide.
I am happy to say that Bullhead City has the perfect size museum: Colorado River Museum at Community Park. The museum is ensconced in a white structure located in Bullhead City Park. You can spot it from Highway 95 as you go thru Bullhead City, Az. This is the new site for this museum. It was originally built in 1947 to assist the men building Davis Dam. The original building for the museum is located at the Davis Dam Encampment and is serving as a storage area for now.
Entering the museum you are warmly greeted by one of the many volunteers. We were met by Mary Ragusa, a welcoming volunteer and Karole Finkelstein (President of the Colorado River Historical Society). Richard Howard was our enthusiastic docent. These people are happy to share their knowledge on all of the various exhibits.
Don’t miss the exhibit that tells you how this town got its name. The dam was originally called Bullhead Dam after “Bull’s Head Rock”, a well-known rock formation along the Colorado River. The formation looked like the head and shoulders of a bull, that’s where Bullhead City got its name. The formation has since been covered beneath the rising water of Lake Mohave.
The exhibits range from a footprint of a dinosaur found locally to Indian artifacts. The impact of the mining and river boat activities are richly display in pictures and displays of life as it was in the beginnings of this tri-state area as the West was being tamed. The museum has not ignored another major contributor to the city’s history and culture with its inclusion of pictures and memorabilia from the local casinos. Pictures of the Davis Dam being built and the Davis Dam encampment are also on display.
This museum has a library that is growing with the written history of this area. It has an extensive collection of newspapers from this area and photographs. The library is restricted to researchers for books and thesis due to the vulnerable condition of some of the items. It also is going to resume their lecture series when the Covid crisis is over. In the past they have had many speakers who actually lived the history they discussed.
The museum is located at 1239 Highway 95, Bullhead City, AZ. This is about three miles south of the Laughlin Bridge. Currently their hours are 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday thru Saturday. Their phone number is (928) 754-3399. If you wish to email them use firstname.lastname@example.org. For some interesting articles and stories about the area like William Hardy and the “Remarkable Fish Story” check out the Colorado Historical Society on the web at . This story was written by one of the townspeople who witnessed the event. It will give you a good laugh and some perspective of the time it was written.
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Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article. The opinions are my own.