So what saved Oatman? In a word - tourism.
The old wooden storefronts, vintage signs, and rocky desert surroundings are like something straight out of a western. To add to that motif, Oatman is famously populated by wild burros that roam the streets. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard also stayed at the Oatman Hotel as a stop on their honeymoon in 1939 following their wedding in Kingman. In short, Oatman has become famous for the exact brand of novelty that makes Route 66 so much fun to explore.