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Boundary Cone Road (Mohave County Route 153)

Mohave County Route 153 comprises an approximately 10-mile segment of Boundary Cone Road west of Oatman Highway (former US Route 66) to Arizona State Route 95.  Boundary Cone Road is one of the oldest highway corridors in continuous use in Arizona as it was incorporated into General Beale's Wagon Road during 1857.  Boundary Cone Road is named for a prominent rock formation in the Black Mountains which carries great significance to the tribes of Mohave Valley.  Below what is now Boundary Cone Road can be seen branching east from Fort Mohave towards Sitgreaves Pass on the 1873 Bancroft's Map of California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.  

Part 1; the history of Boundary Cone Road

Boundary Cone Road is one of the oldest highway components in continuous use in Arizona.  In 1857 the trail from Mohave Valley in New Mexico Territory westward to Soda Lake in California was ordered by the War Department of the United States to be incorporated into a wagon route as a segment of Edward Fitzgerald Beale's Wagon Road.  Beale's Wagon Road approached the Colorado River over the Black Mountains via what came to be known as Sitgreaves Pass (originally John Howells Pass) and the rock formation known as the Boundary Cone.  This new wagon road from Fort Mohave and Mohave Valley westward past Soda Lake subsequently came to be known as the Mojave Road. 

The Boundary Cone is a volcanic neck which sits prominently above Mohave Valley in the Black Mountains.  The Boundary Cone peaks out an elevation of 3,432 feet above sea level.  Numerous Native American tribes consider the Boundary Cone to a be scared location and peak is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.  The prominence of the Boundary Cone made it an easy way marker for Native tribes and for 19th Century travelers.  

Boundary Cone Road can be seen as the southern highway branching east over the Black Mountains via Sitgreaves Pass on the 1865 Gensoul Official Map of Arizona.  A northern highway is also displayed through Union Pass along the corridor of modern Arizona state Route 68.  Fort Mohave was established as a military encampment near Beale's Crossing on April 19, 1859.  Mohave County would be founded on November 8, 1864, as part of Arizona Territory. 

The Black Mountains, Boundary Cone and Sitgreaves Pass would become prominent during the era of Arizona Territory due to numerous mining claims.  Mining around Oatman began in 1863 when the first mining claims were staked, by the early 20th Century it had become a boom town. During the early 20th Century, the communities around Oatman would boast several thousand residents.  The mining claims around Oatman would help ensure the continuous use of Boundary Cone Road.  

Boundary Cone Road can be seen branching east from Fort Mohave towards Sitgreaves Pass on the 1873 Bancroft's Map of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  

Boundary Cone Road can be seen east of the Colorado River branching into the Black Mountains on the 1903 United States Geological Survey map of the Needles area. 

Boundary Cone Road can be seen branching west towards the Colorado River from early US Route 66 along Oatman Highway on the 1931 Clason's Map of Arizona.  Oatman Highway was part of the original alignment of US Route 66 through the Black Mountains and would remain part of the highway until it was realigned through Yucca during 1953.  

Boundary Cone Road appears on the 1937 Gousha Map of Arizona west of US Route 66/Oatman Highway. 

The modern alignment of Boundary Cone Road between Arizona State Route 95 and Oatman Highway appears on the 1970 United States Geological Survey Maps of Needles and the Boundary Cone.  It isn't clear when Boundary Cone Road began being signed as Mohave County Route 153, but shields are present on Google Street View as early as 2011. 

Part 2; a drive on Boundary Cone Road

Oatman Highway (former US Route 66 and Mohave County Route 10) passes through the ghost town of Old Trails.  Oatman Highway intersects Boundary Cone Road within view of the namesake rock formation.  Traffic heading to Bullhead City and Laughlin are directed to follow Boundary Cone Road. 

As westbound Boundary Cone Road begins to descend towards Arizona State Route 95 and the Fort Mohave Reservation a Mohave County Route 153 shield can be seen.  


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