The legacy lives on at Mudshark Brewery and Public House. What legacy, you may ask? Why the legacy of Lake Havasu City being an oasis in the desert. A legacy of hospitality, cold beer, good food and good times shared with friends on the shores of Lake Havasu.
If Lake Havasu City, Arizona had a cornerstone it would be Site Six. Now located on the island, Site Six was was once a military airfield and a resort that was a popular spot for boating, fishing and picnicking.
Site Six was built in 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Corps as an emergency landing strip and auxiliary airfield for pilots and aircrew stationed at the Kingman Army Airfield in Kingman, Arizona. It was one of seven auxiliary airfields in Mohave County and along the Colorado River. The site also served as a practice range for the Kingman Army Air Corps Gunnery School.
In 1943, the site was expanded to include additional barracks, a mess hall and officers’ quarters. It then became a popular R&R location for personnel where they could enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, skeet shooting and hiking in the area. B-17 bombers and other planes would land weekly, drop off new troops and pick up the ones who had spent their leave at Site Six.
The land was leased from Corinne and Victor Spratt of Needles, California that had purchased the property with plans of establishing a fishing resort. Purportedly the Spratts had bought the land in 1938 from the Bureau of Land Management for $1.25 an acre.
The military closed the facility in November 1946 as they began decommissioning bases in the area. Unlike at the Kingman Army Airfield, most buildings and equipment at Site Six were left intact when the property reverted to the Spratts. This made it easier for them to turn the site into a resort.
The military structures were modified and expanded. And Site Six was a functioning resort with small motel, a grocery store with camping and fishing gear, and a bar-restaurant complex. Many guests used the air stip to fly into the remote location.
The resort was a success, and it attracted many visitors who wanted to experience the beauty and tranquility of Lake Havasu. The Spratts also rented out boats and fishing gear to their guests. They named their resort “Spratt’s Landing” or “Spratt’s Resort”.
In 1958, Robert P. McCulloch, the founder of McCulloch Motors Corporation, bought Site Six from the Spratts for $75,000. He wanted to use the site as a test center for his outboard motor products. He built a new building next to the launch ramp for that purpose. He also had a vision of developing Lake Havasu City as a tourist destination and a retirement community.
This served as the setting for episode of the now classic television program Route 66. Released in 1962 the story for Read The River centered on testing a secret boat motor for McCulloch.
McCulloch is also famous for buying the London Bridge in 1968 and relocating it to Lake Havasu City. He hoped that the bridge would attract more people to his city and increase its value. He also built a channel under the bridge to connect Thompson Bay with Lake Havasu.
Today, Site Six is owned and managed by Lake Havasu City. It is the only “free” public launch ramp in the city, and it has many amenities such as courtesy docks, restrooms, a fishing pier, a fish cleaning station, a small beach area and a picnic area with a BBQ. It is still a favorite spot for boaters and anglers, who can catch bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish in the lake.
Written by Jim HInckley of Jim Hinckley’s America