There’s $60,000 cash in Oatman, Arizona but it’s not in a bank vault or in an eccentric’s mattress. The money is stapled on the walls of the Oatman Hotel. An estimated 60,000 one-dollar bills hang from the ceilings, frame the doorways, serve as background to familiar neon beer signs, decorate a stage, and wallpaper the walls. Some people autographed the bucks they left behind.
This unique tradition began with the miners of the 1900’s. On payday, these hardy men gave the Oatman Hotel bartender a dollar or two to hold as credit for the nickel beers they’d drink until the next month’s payday hit. Each dollar left in the Oatman paid for 20 beers back in the mining heyday. The practice took off and people today continue to sign a dollar bill as proof of having visited this historic place.
The Oatman Hotel, built in 1902, stands as the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mohave County, Arizona. It is recognized in the National Building Register. And as one final point of interest, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their wedding night there.