Located on the island in Lake Havasu City, Crazy Horse Campgrounds, the city’s premier campground and RV Park, is rooted in a nearly forgotten chapter of WWII history. And there is also a link to a pioneering southwest resort.
In early1942, the Kingman Army Airfield was established in Kingman, Arizona as a flexible gunnery school for crews to be assigned to squadrons of B-17 Flying Fortresses. By 1945 classes for navigators as well as ground to air and air to ground classes had been added.
Six auxiliary fields were also built as components of the Kingman Army Airfield. Site #1 was located at Red Lake, a dry lake bed at the north end of the Hualapai Valley. Site #2 was near the old Cyclopic Mine. Site #3 was near Antares Point, current site of Antares Point Visitor Center and Giganticus Headicus along Route 66.
Site #4 that became Yucca Army Airfield was established at Yucca. After the war the field was mothballed, and in 1954, was sold to Ford Motor Company which developed the property into a test facility.
Sit # 5 was near Topock, roughly the Needle Mountain exit on I40. Site #7 was south of the Hualapai Mountains near the old mining town of Signal. And Site #6 was built on the penisula, now the island, at Lake Havasu City.
In late 1942 the Army Air Corps built a dirt landing strip on the peninsula. A few months later the site was transformed into a rudimentary subbase with construction of support facilities, barracks, mess hall, and officers quarters.
Aside from serving as a site for emergency landings, it was used by Kingman Army Air Corps Gunnery School students for their practice range. It also became a recreation and relaxation site for personnel stationed at the Kingman Army Airfield and other bases in the southwest. Her personnel enjoyed fishing, boating, and skeet shooting.
After the war the military began closing facilities and liquidating assets through auction, salvage sales, or destruction. Initial plans called for site #6 to be maintained as an auxiliary field but in November 1946 it was closed, but not because it was not needed.
For reasons unknown, the initial survey of the property identified the site as State of Arizona land. It was actually owned by Corinne and Victor Spratt of Needles, California. When the war ended the Spratt’s filed a petition at the Mohave County Courthouse in Kingman for return of the property. Arrangement was made for the owners to pay a nominal fee for all of the buildings as well as infrastructure.
The Spratt’s transformed the site into the Fly-In Fishing Resort. The existing military buildings were converted into lodging, a grocery store, and a restaurant and bar.
The resort was operated by the Spratt’s until 1958. It was sold to Robert P. McCulloch. This was he dawning of Lake Havasu City. The rest, as they say, is history.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America