Cole & Fran Unger
Toll Free: 877-BULLHEAD
(285-5432)

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Where did Bullhead City come from?


The evolution of Bullhead City and the surrounding area is told in many ways. This is the most accurate as we could determine.

~ Fran & Cole Unger, Bullhead Laughlin Realty


For over 800 years the Mohave Indians farmed the lower basin of the Colorado River. In the late sixteen hundreds their population was 3,000.

1540 a.d. ~ Melchlor Diaz, a Spanish Explorer discovered what is now the Bullhead City Area.

1776 a.d. ~ . Father Garces, on his quest to bring Christianity to the Indians of Arizona, was said to have crossed the Colorado River.

1826-1827 a.d. ~ During Jedediah Smiths journey to California he traveled through this region looking for new sources of beaver. In his journal he reported "They call themselves A-muc-ha-bas (Mohave Indians) and appeared quite friendly bringing me corn beans dried pumpkins & c which I paid them for in Beeds Rings vermillion &c".

1852 - 1909 a.d. ~ The development of the areas bordering the Colorado River were greatly influenced by the sternwheeler steamboats that made regular trips through this area from Port Isabel in the Gulf of California.

1857 a.d. ~ In an experiment for the War Department , Lieutenant Edward F. Beale tested camels for desert travel in a section just below present day Bullhead City.

1859 a.d. ~ Fort Mohave is created by Col. William Hoffman of the US Infantry.

1864 a.d. ~ Arizonas First Territorial Assembly met to establish Mohave County. Naming it after the Indian Tribe who defined the name as: Mohave "three mountains" and "refers specifically to the ?needles of rock that rise above the Colorado River. The Countys motto is "How May We Serve You".

1860 - 1870 a.d. ~ The arrival of William Harrison Hardy. Hardyville was born, becoming the trading center for the area, providing food and tools for the gold miners, soldiers and Indians.. Mr. Hardy held the positions as postmaster, county supervisor and was a member of the Territorial Legislature. During this period Hardyville temporarily became the site for the County Seat. It became a ghost town when the railroad was constructed. With rail travel from Needles through Yucca to Kingman and farther, Hardyville was abandoned. There is a cemetery marker that exists today to commemorate this time period.

1900 a.d. ~ Gold was discovered and Katherine Gold Mine, named after the sister of one o the discoverers, was established. The area known as Katherine Cabins, which is still in existence today, provided housing for the miners.

1902 a.d. ~ Army engineers chose the site for Davis Dam, just south of a rock formation that jutted majestically from the water, known as Bulls Head Rock. It was an old landmark where the Indians gathered to safely cross the sometimes turbulent river. It was also used as a guide for travel by prospectors & miners and as a navigation point for the river traveler. And so the name Bullhead City was derived. In the late 1940s the U.S. Post Office made it official.

1942 a.d. ~ The Davis Dam & Power plant, named in honor of Arthur Powell Davis, Director of Reclamation from 1914 to 1932, began construction. 67 miles downstream from Hoover Dam, the site is approximately 2 miles upstream from Bullhead City, Arizona and Laughlin, Nevada.

1946 a.d. ~ After being halted by World War II for several years, construction of Davis Dam & Power plant resumed. In an April edition of the Arizona Republic, an article was written on Bullhead City which stated "But where a few months ago there were only cacti and mesquite a stones throw from the swift but placid Colorado River, today Bullhead is a thriving community with buildings mushrooming like desert wild flowers after a spring rain". The development of the dam & generating station brought permanent residents to the area.

1953 a.d. Davis Dam & Power plant was completed.

1968 a.d ~ Laughlin, Nevada was named after its founder and the owner of the Riverside Resort, Don Laughlin. The continuing success and development of Laughlin would stimulate much of the growth of the area. This trend continues today.

1970 a.d. ~ The Bullhead City/Mohave Valley population grew to 7,369 residents.

1975 a.d. ~ The Mohave Valley Campus of Mohave Community College opened its doors. KFLG, a local radio station received its approval for broadcasting from the FCC.

1979 a.d ~ 15,763 fulltime residents called the Bullhead City "home".

1982 a.d. ~ The initiating year for the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Laughlin River Run. April of 2001 will be the 19th run and it is billed as the largest motorcycle event in the United States.

1984 a.d. ~ August 28,1984 Bullhead City Incorporated and became the 77th Arizona City.

1986 a.d. ~ On July 17,1986 the Laughlin Bridge opens. Funded by Don Laughlin, the bridge provides an easy source of access between Bullhead City, Arizona and Laughlin, Nevada.

1991 a.d. ~ Bullhead City got its first elected mayor, Mike Love. Bullhead City became the host of the Turquoise Circuit Rodeo.

1996 a.d. ~ Bullhead City set a Turquoise Circuit Rodeo record with 15,000 spectators.

1999 a.d. ~ Permanent bleachers and arena facilities were installed, in the Bullhead Area Event & Equestrian Center, to accommodate the annual Rodeo that occurs each January.

2003 a.d. ~ Home Depot opens in Bullhead City

2004 a.d. ~ Bullhead City celebrates it's 20th year of incorporation
Retailers Sams Club and Lowes announces they will be building a stores within Bullhead City limits Wal-Mart announces plans to build a distribution center near the Griffith energy plant and recruit employees from Kingman and Bullhead City and surrounding areas.

2005 a.d. ~ A year of openings. Sams Club opens it's first store in Bullhead City,  Phase One of the first Riverfront Condominium Complex on the Colorado River in Bullhead City in over 20 years opens. 10,000 square foot new airport passenger terminal opened. Valley View Medical Center opened.

2006 a.d. ~ Mohave Crossroads announces Target will be part of the center. Many new stores and restaurants opening with Chili's and Lowes Home Improvement leading the list. Western Arizona Regional Medical Center (WARMC) did $25 million in improvements and expansion.

2007 a.d.  ~ $20 million in federal funds are secured for a second bridge between Bullhead City and Laughlin. Mohave Crossroads construction begins. New connectors from Highway 95 to the Bullhead Parkway open North Oatman Road and Mohave Drive via Adobe Road. Bullhead City's first annual float the river regatta approximately 900 attendees. New Bullhead City Hall Building opened in July 2007.

2008 a.d.  ~ Mohave Crossroads Shopping Center opens with Target, Kohls, Famous Footwear, Lane Bryant, Ross Dress For Less, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pet Smart and more moving in soon.

2009 a.d. ~ The city hosted the bmx, skateboard and wakeboard event, Riverfest, at Bullhead City's skateboard park at Rotary Park. Bullhead City River Regatta continues as annual events thousands attend.