This post card is going to lead us all on a trip through time, place and Hollywood. Yes, Hollywood. Please stand by.
My original attraction to this postcard was the mule train in front of the Lovin and Withers store. Then I read the postcard and I fell in love with the writer.
CS Prettyspoon writes to Mrs. R. G. Rose, “Apparently they’re not lax in affection – they even make it evident with sign boards. Oh hum! Didyaever?
I love the name Prettyspoon, in fact, so much, I checked ancestry.com to see if I could find a family with that name, to no avail.
This postcard was sent in 1917, which, despite the lack of a year on the postmark, I know because of the stamp. It was published for the Beale Hotel, Kingman, Arizona.
The Beale Hotel then made me fall in love with Kingman. As I was googling and for information about the Beale Hotel, Lovin and Withers, the mule train, to my delight, I discovered Clark Gable and Carole Lombard – for real – right there in Kingman, Arizona!
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard eloped and were married. Obviously, that was many years later, but who knew that down to earth Kingman was the site of that Hollywood Romance (yes, with a capital R!).
Dear Reader – you ask – wait – what?! Gable and Lombard – Kingman Arizona – this cannot be!! But it is, indeed. Clark Gable was a hunter. He had an actor friend, Andy Devine, who was from Kingman Arizona. By the late 1930’s Andy Devine’s father owned the Beale Hotel. The area around Kingman has great hunting of all kinds. If you are going to elope with your movie star love, where else would you go, but to Kingman?
Back to the postcard and the trip through time and place. I started researching both the Beale Hotel, for which this card was printed and Lovin and Withers. While the mule train and Lovin and Withers is fascinating, I became very distracted by the Gable and Lombard story. One more point to that story and then my digression will cease – I promise. My favorite movie of all time is Gone with the Wind. This elopement to Kingman happened during a break in the filming of that very movie. So, there you have it – one of the most iconic films of all time and its connection to Kingman, Arizona. Who knew? I most certainly did not!
Kingman follows the same history as this part of Arizona, reservations, US soldiers, railroad followed by mining, boom, bust, and regeneration. It is the story of copper, silver and gold.
While the railroads and Fred Harvey were civilizing the west, Kingman boasted a Fred Harvey eating house. Sadly, it closed in 1932, due to the Great Depression, then was consumed by fire in 1952.
Lovin and Withers was a type of general store, branching into other types of business over time. There are a number of buildings in Kingman, of historic importance related to Lovin and Withers. My distraction with the Gable/Lombard story precluded me from further research into the merchandise and business expansion of Lovin and Withers. That will be continued at a later date.
There are some references to mule trains like this carrying ore from the mines to the railroads to be shipped for refining. Beale was sent on an expedition to figure out a wagon trail from New Mexico to Los Angeles in this area. Parts of the old wagon trail can still be seen. He also explored the idea of using camels for transport across this part of Arizona.
Camels, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Fred Harvey, elopement, gold, silver, copper, what else could a person want in an iconic old west city? And what could be better than the message on this postcard about affection, on a building called Lovin, to be followed years later by one of the most enchanting Hollywood love stories? Little did CW Prettyspoon know….