The Fort Mojave and Mohave Valley area was initially inhabited by the Fort Mojave Indians. American soldiers, many of whom were previous miners from California, arrived in the area in the late 1850s, to mine gold and silver in the hills along the Colorado River. Navigation by steamboat of the upper Colorado River became the best way to furnish supplies to the mines and the miners who began flocking to the area in record numbers.
It was during this era that William Harrison Hardy (1821-1906) helped build Hardyville, the forerunner of the present Bullhead City, located less than 10 miles north of Fort Mojave. Hardyville became an active river port and community from 1865 to 1872 when it is said that a fire completely destroyed it. The only remnants of Hardyville that exist today are the Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery in Bullhead City and items preserved in the Colorado River Museum.
Bullhead City, originally Bulls Head City, was named after a unique rock formation in the shape of a bulls head which once jutted out of the river. It became submerged when Davis Dam was constructed and Lake Mohave was formed.
Mohave (or Mojave) means "three mountains" and is from the Indian words for hamol (three) and avi (mountains) and refers to the center of tribal activities in the vicinity of "The Needles," located across the Colorado River, for which the town of Needles, CA, was named. The desert area, the county and the Valley are spelled Mohave; the Indian tribe and the town of Fort Mojave are spelled Mojave.
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