Citizens want to preserve history

KINGMAN - Everybody knows Slaughterhouse Canyon Road, if not where it is exactly then at least that it's in Kingman. Others see it as part of the city's heritage, and on Monday night, City Council voted to protect that heritage.

Recently, the signs for Slaughterhouse Canyon Road, which is south of Hualapai Mountain Road in a part of southeast Kingman commonly known as Indian Camp, were taken down. They now say Canyon Road, and long-time Kingman resident Art Tarr is not happy about it.

According to city staff's research, when the final plats were approved about three years ago for properties directly off Hualapai Mountain Road, including the one for the new Mohave State Bank, the plats changed the street name. But they weren't changed from Slaughterhouse Canyon Road.

According to legal documents obtained by the city and tax records obtained from the county, the legal name of Slaughterhouse Canyon Road is just Canyon Road.

The most recent name change, in 2005, made the northern-most portion of the road "Mission Boulevard."

"Slaughterhouse," developers argued Monday, just wasn't ideal for selling homes or commercial buildings in the area - especially when the road at one point connects to Diamondback Drive, where there are new homes being built currently.

But Tarr wanted his signs put back up. He said the name came from back in the '60s, when a guy living on that street had a slaughterhouse and butcher shop, because back then refrigerated meat wasn't the norm. And the history of Kingman lies at least in part in the presence of that name.

The city changed the signs just a few months ago to Canyon Road, according to acting City Manager and Public Works Director Jack Kramer. And no, he said, the residents there were not notified about it.

Whether or not the legal name was Canyon Road or Canyon Drive, even Canyon Boulevard, Place or Avenue, it's still Slaughterhouse Canyon Road for the people who've lived in Kingman the past 50 or 60 years, Tarr said. He called it a "mark of prestige," like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., or Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tenn.

While the fire and police chiefs acknowledged that a name change could cause problems with dispatching firefighters and officers to the area, Council agreed with Tarr.

With the most recent name change, there are now actually four different names at various sections of the street commonly known as Slaughterhouse Canyon Road.

Staff recommended re-re-naming a portion of that road to the commonly known name, Slaughterhouse, but leaving the rest as the legal documents describe it and as the developers preferred it. But that doesn't look like it will happen.

"The way staff had it set up, we all won. Slaughterhouse, that's important, and the heritage we still have. But whether we have it or not I still invested millions of dollars. That's why there are roads and curbs and gutters. If it is a big issue, I guess we'll walk away, but if it's not it will help us sell homes in this economy," developer Travin Pennington said Tuesday.

An item will be placed on the next City Council agenda that, if approved, would change all of the streets there back to Kingman's equivalent of Rodeo, a move that Councilman Kerry Deering and others believe will protect the historic name.

A public hearing will be held in conjunction with the action item. The next meeting is scheduled July 21.