Warneka presents historical highlights of Laughlin
BULLHEAD CITY — Camels once roamed the Tri-state.
In 1857, U.S. Army Lt. Edward Beale was hired to survey Laughlin and the surrounding areas to find a route to California.
During his time here, he tested 28 camels for the War Department. It was thought they could be useful in carrying supplies. It tuned out the camels didn’t get along with other animals and weren’t too friendly to people. It ended up being a failed desert experiment.
On Feb. 2 a group of about 60 people gathered at the Colorado River Museum, learning that and more from Brenda Kimsey Warneka. She is the author of “Around Laughlin” and gave a presentation on the history of the township.
“I thought it was great,” said Pam Pokorny after the presentation. “I’ve lived here since 1989 and still learned a lot.”
Warneka went back to school after being in the workforce for a while. She originally planned on getting a degree in political science but didn’t agree with most of her professors’ views so moved on.
“I looked at my credits and thought what else could be and then I got a major in history,” she said.
She said she always has been fascinated by history. Warneka said when she was younger, her family moved a lot because of her dad’s job with Utah Construction Company.
She could have found the Laughlin area sooner than 2010, when she moved here. Utah Construction was contracted to build Davis Dam before World War II, but her father was not involved in the project.
Warneka lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, for about 30 years until she moved to Laughlin. She said she was tired of living in a big city.
“When traveling, I would see small towns and would wonder what it would be like to live there,” Warneka said. “I like knowing people and them knowing me and the feeling of making a contribution.”
A contribution she made shortly after arriving in Laughlin: She started working on the book “Around Laughlin”.
“I started getting active in the community and one of the things I was getting involved with was the museum,” Warneka said. “I have always liked to write and was gaining lots of knowledge about the area.
“I got in touch with a publisher and proposed the idea. They had been looking for someone to write about Laughlin.”
Her book is actually a part of Arcadia Publishing, a company that specializes in publishing history books about smaller towns across America. Books on Bullhead City, Needles and Lake Havasu City have been published.
Warneka said it was difficult to make sure she didn’t plagiarize the Bullhead City book, which is written by Shirin McGraham.
“When you look at the prehistoric time and up until Don Laughlin came to town, it’s the same history,” Warneka said of the paths of Laughlin and Bullhead City. “What I did to avoid plagiarizing was not look at her book until mine went to the publisher.”
She said another issue was getting enough photos per publisher’s request.
“It was a fun project to do and I hope the people who read it enjoy it,” Warneka said. “I have yet to decide on a future project.”
“Around Laughlin” is in both of the Riverside gift shops, at the Colorado River Museum, and South Pointe Market. It also can be checked out for free at the Laughlin Library.
All proceeds of the book go toward helping the museum building fund.
The next presentation at the museum is Fred Doten from the American Legion Laughlin Post 60. It will be on March 16 at 2 p.m.