Oatman began 0ver 100 years ago as a mining tent camp and quickly became a flourishing gold-mining center. In 1915, two miners struck a $10 million gold find, and within a year, the town's population grew to more than 3,500. But both the population and mining booms were short-lived. In 1921, a fire burned down many of the smaller shacks in town, and three years later, the main mining company, United Eastern Mines, shut down operations for good. Oatman survived by catering to travelers on old U.S. Route 66. But in the 1960s, when the route became what is now Interstate 40, Oatman almost died.