About the Locomotive Park
The site of Locomotive Park was originally a rodeo grounds that was also used as a ballpark, and for other events such as miners contests and fairs. On March 31, 1917, a published article noted that, “People came to Kingman from all parts of the county yesterday to attend the ball game between the local team and the Chicago Cubs. Chloride, Oatman, Hackberry, Yucca, Sandy, McCracken Mine, Frisco camp, Union Pass and Stockton Hill all contributed to make one of the largest crowds ever assembled in Kingman.” The Chicago Cubs won with a score of 22 to 4.
This wasn’t the last time the field was used for a major sporting event that attracted record crowds and put Kingman on the front page of newspapers throughout the country. In March 1924 it was announced that the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates would be playing an exhibition game in Kingman on the first of April. An article published on the 21st of March credited George Grantham for arranging the game.
George Farley “Boots” Grantham was born on May 20, 1900, in Galena, Kansas. In the early teens his family lived in Goldroad, Arizona, and Grantham attended school in Kingman. After graduating from Flagstaff High School in Flagstaff, Arizona, he attended Northern Arizona University.
From an early age he proved himself an athlete and quickly developed a passion for baseball. On September 20, 1922, he made his major league baseball debut as a second baseman. Before ending his career in 1934, Grantham played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Giants between 1922 and 1934. He played in the 1925 World Series. Grantham hit over .300 every season from 1924 to 1931.
He married Ruby Gates; daughter of Jay Gates that had transformed Kingman based Central Commercial into a regional retail powerhouse. After his retirement, Grantham and his wife lived in Phoenix and Kingman. George Grantham is buried in Mountain View Cemetery on Stockton Hill Road in Kingman.
With certification of U.S. 93 that had a southern terminus in Kingman, and U.S. 466 that also had its eastern terminus in the city, in 1935, and the realignment of U.S. 66 along Front Street past the Desert Power & Water Company powerhouse, the old rodeo grounds was bisected. What remained became a dusty roadside park.
In 1957 the Santa Fe Railroad donated engine number 3759 to the City of Kingman. Only two of this type of locomotive remain. Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1928, these locomotives were generally referenced as northern types. The heavy 4-8-4 driven locomotives were also referenced by Baldwin as “Heavy Mountain”, “New Mountain” or “Mountain 4-wheel trailer.”
In 1941 the locomotive was rebuilt and converted to burn oil instead of coal. During most of its operational years the locomotive pulled passenger trains between Los Angeles and Kansa City, Kansas. According to the Santa Fe Railroad the engine logged 2,585,600 miles before it was retired in 1953. The caboose was added in 1987.