Hotel serves as backdrop for play by elementary school classes

The Brunswick Hotel in downtown Kingman has been the backdrop to much of the town's history.

It also was the basis for a production Friday by five multiage K-2 classes at Hualapai Elementary School titled "If These Walls Could Talk."

Hazel Ehrsam served as a consultant for the production that was put on by classes of Debbie Hill, Heidi Cox, Yvonne Kilby, Jean Cruz and Vicki Trujillo.

It was Ehrsam's grandfather, John Mulligan and Watt (cq) Thompson, who built the Brunswick Hotel in 1909.

"My grandfather was a stonemason who built most of the historical buildings in Kingman," Ehrsam said.

"He always said 'I don't have to sign a contract.

My word is my bond.'

Ehrsam filled in some background before the play began before a packed gymnasium of parents and older students at the school.

Mulligan came west by train first arriving in San Francisco and then taking a train to Needles, Calif.

in the 1870s.

He walked to Kingman with two pack mules to operate several silver and copper mines he bought, she said.

Mulligan and Thompson became friends and both men began competing for the affections of a young woman named Sarah Lynch.

She married Mulligan in 1892.

The friendship between Mulligan and Thompson ended in a dispute, the nature of which is not clear, a year or two later and they distanced themselves by building a wall inside the hotel as a divider.

Each man got 25 rooms with the hotel renamed Brunswick Mulligan on one side and Brunswick Thompson on the other side.

Hill said it was during a field trip last year to the Brunswick that she learned of the story and decided to make it into a school production this year.

Mulligan also built the Mohave County Courthouse, Beale Hotel, downtown Elks Lodge and a church, Ehrsam said.

Some students in the production play such notable figures that lived in or visited Kingman as Andy Devine, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.

Other students are inside cutouts of the hotel's front, back, middle, side and bedroom walls and offer up tidbits of history revealed to them.

Narrator Allison Stanley told the audience that miners stayed at the Brunswick as did gold and silver dealers who came from Europe to buy the minerals from local mines.

The importance of Route 66 was also discussed with a large map of the United States brought on stage and the historic highway highlighted on it.

Route 66, stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, made travel easier to the west with numerous hotels built along its route to accommodate travelers.

A choir sang "Get Your Kicks on Route 66."

The depression of the 1930s gave way to opening of Kingman Air Base, where soldiers trained until it closed in 1946.

Many of the soldiers stayed at the Brunswick, adding more stories for the walls to absorb.

The timeline of events ended with the hotel being purchased by the Davis family in 1995 and renovated to make it look as it did when it opened in 1909.

"Our goal in doing this production was to find out some of the history of Kingman," Hill said.

"John Mulligan was the first builder and the people who came for mining or when the trains came through had interesting stories of their own."