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7/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Local's Motive - More Murals for Kingman
KIM STEELE/Miner
Colorful murals adorning El Trovatore Motel can be seen from Route 66. The mural on the block wall of the eagle and flags was completed last week by local artist David Stem and is the newest of about six murals painted within the past year. Sam Frisher, who owns the motel with his wife Monica, says he wants similar art all over town.  Im hoping Kingman catches the mural fever and does what Im doing here. See Page 3 for the story.
KIM STEELE/Miner
Colorful murals adorning El Trovatore Motel can be seen from Route 66. The mural on the block wall of the eagle and flags was completed last week by local artist David Stem and is the newest of about six murals painted within the past year. Sam Frisher, who owns the motel with his wife Monica, says he wants similar art all over town. Im hoping Kingman catches the mural fever and does what Im doing here. See Page 3 for the story.
KIM STEELE/Miner
Kingman artist David Stem takes a break in front of the Bugs Bunny room at El Trovatore Motel on Route 66. Stem is continuing the mural on the motel front with Looney Tunes characters.
KIM STEELE/Miner
Kingman artist David Stem takes a break in front of the Bugs Bunny room at El Trovatore Motel on Route 66. Stem is continuing the mural on the motel front with Looney Tunes characters.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - Color is blooming at El Trovatore Motel as its owners continue to add new murals to the Route 66 fixture.

Sam and Monica Frisher, who reopened the business at 1440 E. Andy Devine Ave. in early 2012, recently hired a local artist to touch up several murals painted last year by another artist and to continue adding new artwork on the motel, a wall behind it and on the bottom and sides of the pool. The Frishers have invested about $7,000 so far in the murals.

Kingman artist David Stem completed a large mural last week on a neighboring block wall behind the motel of two American flags waving in the breeze and a golden eagle with outstretched wings. The mural measures about 40 feet wide and five feet tall and took about a month to complete. Also, Stem is repairing previous murals and painting Looney Tunes characters on a front section of the hotel.

"The murals are cool and they get attention, which is what a business wants," said Stem. "I thought the eagle and flag mural was a good idea because it can be seen from both directions on Andy Devine. I'm going to paint more murals on the wall and other places, so I'll probably work here a couple more months. I'm pleased with how it's going so far."

The motel, one of a handful of pre-World War II properties still standing along the historic highway, opened in 1937 as a gas station. It recently was closed for about a year after unpaid electricity bills nearly dropped the property into foreclosure. The Frishers worked to negotiate a lower interest rate and secured an additional loan to remodel the motel, creating 20 Hollywood-themed rooms.

Now, the neon sign behind the motel that was dark for half a century beckons to tourists at night. A 206-foot-long map of Route 66 decorates one side of the motel, announcing the states, cities, towns and attractions along the 2,000-mile highway, which runs from Grant Park in Chicago to the Santa Monica Pier in California. The Frishers believe their motel sports the world's longest Route 66 map and plan to enter it in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Other murals include a B-17 bomber and Kingman airfield in 1942, signifying the World War II training facility east of the city; a Kingman postcard-type mural for tourist photos; a celebrity mural including James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis; and a large red locomotive on the front of a building.

"It's all about having fun and encouraging tourism," said Sam Frisher. "And it's keeping nostalgia alive. Murals fit in with all of what we're doing here at the motel. When you look at all the other places along Route 66 that have murals, it's obvious they bring them to life. I'm hoping Kingman catches the mural fever and does what I'm doing here."

Ted Owyang, a motel guest traveling from Alameda, Calif., to Emerald Island, N.C., handed the Frishers his room key after spending the night and thanked them for the thrill of experiencing a Route 66 motel as it was years ago. Owyang, who was there with his wife, Janice, and son, Quinn, said it was the first time they stayed at El Trovatore Motel and they plan to come back again. The family stayed in the Bugs Bunny room.

"It's a gorgeous motel and there's a lot of atmosphere here," he said. "You can tell the owners are into restoring the building to what it used to be during its heyday. I love what they're doing here, especially the murals, because it provides color that you don't find in a lot of America anymore. These days, everything looks the same, but this motel has a lot of history and personality. We love it."

Sam Frisher said his next murals on the block wall will contain a dove holding an olive branch and an Arizona flag. He also plans to decorate the back section of the hotel with celebrities on vehicles, such as Steve McQueen on a motorcycle or James Bond with an Aston Martin car. And he's hoping for dolphins in the pool, which has been empty for years.

"Just think what would happen here if Kingman became the No. 1 mural place along Route 66," said Sam Frisher. "We're hoping to spur that along."



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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Great Job!

Keep all the artwork coming everybody!
And a question to any nay sayers, why are you afraid of a little paint, whimsy, and culture?


Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: a little more imagination .....

isn't there still a little vacant land adjacent to the El Trovotore (west side)? Why not place one of those full-size dinosaur replicas there, maybe a brontosaurus, or even a family of triceratops? With a little imagination, they could be designed to hold a hot dog stand inside their frame. You've heard of Sharknado, this would be Dinosaur Dog Of Kingman. We'll be famous.

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

I love the murals. Great job! Not sure I would want them all over town but love them here.

Wished the old El Trovatore was open as in days gone by. So much fun and happy memories had there - good food, dancing in the back.


Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Thank You

Excellent. Nice article recognizing what one proud, innovative, and smart owner has done with a possible empty eyesore in Kingman. Thank you Sam and Monica Frisher and David Stem.

I think the city clean city commission along with the Miner and the Standard and the "community television station" should recognized property owners who improve their properties. Perhaps rewarding this owners not only with a plaque and a handshake by the mayor but with discount coupon booklet to local businesses made up just for this purpose, free media advertisements, etc..

Another business owner who needs to be recognized is the landscape company that poured a lot of money and effort to that building. Great job and what better advertisement of what landscaping and a little exterior improvements can do.


Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Glenda Erwin

What a great idea!

So happy to hear about this art project on what has been such a sad sight driving along Andy Devine and seeing the decline of the buildings. I hope this inspires more investment into improvements for this historic part of Kingman.


Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Rick Shelby

Sam and Monica are great additions to the Kingman community! They have been accommodating to our Veterans in need, and help in any way they can, when ever asked. What they are accomplishing with all the artwork and theme rooms is amazing. It has been a pleasure and honor to meet, and get to know them.

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: concerned citizen

This is quite a project, considering the shape of the motel before the new owners bought it!
Good location, great appearance, a novel idea tying it to route 66!

Does anyone remember the Red Rock Plaza that was going to be built around that same location???

Does anyone remember what the new owner of the Brunswick Hotel was suppose to be doing and that it will be done by summer of 2013?
"The hotel and a potential restaurant within it are slated to open in September, and an ice cream parlor and bakery will be operating by the middle of June."

You know, it's the projects you never really hear about that get done, isn't it, Kingman?


Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Murals add character

That's a great idea, and I hope other businesses join in. Murals can add a lot to the character of a town. There are some towns (like Lompoc, CA, for example), where tourists go out of there way to visit just for the murals.

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Not Impressed

As nutty an idea as the Polka Dot paint jobs were back in the `70`s .
I wish somebody would buy my House in Lancaster , uh , I mean Kingman because they`re making it a California town .
What a laughing stock they`re making out of Kingman .


Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Vio Lation

I wonder if the motel owner consulted the City of Kingman sign code before he decided to undertake this project?

Now I am no fan of murals, never have been and never will be.

The very thought of Kingman becoming the mural capital of the world makes be want to hurl. Just like when Art Hamilton wanted to make Kingman the Polka Dot capital of the world back in the mid 70's.


Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Laurie Voss Barthlow

I love this. Kudos to the artist and to the business owners!



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