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Beaver Dam, Arizona
Beaver Dam Arizona.jpg
Location of Beaver Dam in Mohave County, Arizona.
Location of Beaver Dam in Mohave County, Arizona.
Beaver Dam, Arizona is located in Arizona
Beaver Dam, Arizona
Beaver Dam, Arizona
Location in Arizona
Beaver Dam, Arizona is located in the United States
Beaver Dam, Arizona
Beaver Dam, Arizona
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Arizona
Counties Mohave
Founded 1863
Founded by Henry W. Miller
Area
 • Total 8.49 sq mi (21.99 km2)
 • Land 8.49 sq mi (21.99 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 1,552
 • Density 182.80/sq mi (70.58/km2)
Time zone MST
ZIP codes
86432
FIPS code 04-05490

Beaver Dam is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, that is located in the Arizona Strip region and was settled in 1863. It is located along Interstate 15 approximately 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Mesquite, Nevada. It is located in the 86432 ZIP Code. It had a population of 1,962 as of the 2010 census.

Beaver Dam and the neighboring communities of Littlefield, Scenic and Desert Springs have the distinction of being the only towns in Arizona along I-15. Owing to their location in the Arizona Strip, northwest of Grand Canyon National Park and west of the Virgin River, they are isolated by hundreds of miles from the rest of the state. Absent by plane or helicopter, travel to other towns within Arizona requires crossing through either Nevada or Utah, or routing through unpaved roads to the rest of Arizona's road network.

The great Western author and essayist Wallace Stegner reputedly said of the Arizona Strip that "it is connected geographically to Utah, politically to Arizona and neither one cares."

History

The site of Beaver Dam was located along the pack horse route of the Old Spanish Trail from 1828 and the later wagon route of the Mormon Road between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles from 1847. Beaver Dam Creek and subsequently the town was named for a beaver dam that occupied and held back the waters on the wash when the first Mormon party under Jefferson Hunt established the wagon road through the area in 1847.

The Mormon Road was used by Forty-niners in 1849 and Mormon colonists and other travelers from then on. Both routes passed southward from the Beaver Dam Mountains, to the Virgin River along Beaver Dam Wash to where it met the river. From 1855, the road was a major wagon freighting road until the railroad arrived in Nevada in 1905. Beaver Dam was first settled by Mormon colonists in 1863.

In popular culture

Beaver Dam Lodge in the foreground with Chief Sleep Easy mountain in the background
The Historic Beaver Dam Lodge

Onscreen

Beaver Dam has been featured as a filming location for a few movies and television shows.

In films

  • Scenes from the 1988 movie On Our Own were filmed at the Beaver Dam Station in downtown.
  • Scenes from the 2002 movie Crazy Horse were also filmed at the Beaver Dam Station.
  • Scenes from the 1996 movie Navajo Blues were filmed around the Beaver Dam area.

In television

  • Unsolved Mysteries filmed a segment of their program in 1995 at the Beaver Dam Lodge.
  • Local news stations from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and national news stations The Weather Channel and CNN have filed reports from Beaver Dam. Most of the reports were about the Beaver Dam Wash flooding and destroying homes and properties, but there has also been police chases, shootings and a fugitive man hunt making national headlines.

Contemporary Beaver Dam

Iconic Chief Sleep Easy mountain range
The iconic Chief Sleep Easy figure on the Virgin Mountains east of Beaver Dam, entering the Virgin River Gorge.

Beaver Dam is home to the three schools that make up the Littlefield Unified School District, the geographically largest school district in Arizona; Beaver Dam Elementary and Beaver Dam Jr./Sr. High School. Beaver Dam and neighboring Littlefield have the distinction of being the only towns in Arizona along I-15. Owing to its location northwest of Grand Canyon National Park and west of the Virgin River, Beaver Dam is essentially isolated from the rest of the state. Travel to other towns within Arizona requires crossing through either Nevada or Utah, or by traversing unpaved roads to Arizona State Route 389 (which is paved) — and even at that, is connected only to the rest of the "Arizona Strip" (that part of Arizona separated from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon), not to Arizona at large.

Downtown Beaver Dam, Arizona
Downtown Beaver Dam, January 2015

The Virgin River Gorge is located just to the east of Beaver Dam.

The Post Office is located in Beaver Dam on McKnight Boulevard. Fire Station No. 2 is located in Beaver Dam (No. 1 is located in Desert Springs). Beaver Dam has a large population of "snowbirds" (retirees from colder latitudes seeking temperate winter temperatures) during the winter months.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 58
2010 1,962
2020 1,552 −20.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
Downtown Beaver Dam, Arizona
Downtown Beaver Dam, January 2015

Beaver Dam first appeared on the 1930 U.S. Census as District 30 of Mohave County (AKA Beaver Dam). It had 58 residents and was majority White population. With the combination of all 35 county districts into 3 in 1940, it did not formally appear again until 2010, when it was made a census-designated place (CDP).

The city is made up of 74.2 percent White, 22.6 percent Hispanic, 0 percent Black.

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