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Guide to Arizona Ghost Towns

Arizona can be a great state in which to take a vacation and there are many great attractions to see, which range from natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon to some great cities such as Phoenix and Tucson. It was the 48th state to be admitted to the USA and has been a state for almost 100 years now. If you tour around Arizona you can see some fantastic locations and while there are many busy towns and cities, there are also a number of places that have grown up and then died. Many of these were mining towns and if you are looking to get a glimpse into the old west the ghost towns of Arizona can be great attractions to take in. Some of the best of these include the following.

Vulture

In its heyday the Vulture Gold and Silver Mine was one of the most productive in all of Arizona and the settlement that grew up around it still remains to this day. It grew up after a prospector named Henry Wickenburg struck lucky around 1863. He discovered gold and started mining himself, although over the years more than 5,000 people were tempted to the area to try there luck at finding gold or silver. The settlement is located in Maricopa County and these days is run as a tourist attraction. Many of the mining buildings and machinery used are still in place and if you are looking for an authentic ghost town experience it can be a good location to visit.

Oatman

This ghost town has an interesting history and can be a good place to visit. The area had already been settled when a couple of gold prospectors hit pay dirt in 1915, finding a large gold deposit. When word of this spread the population of the settlement was to grow by more than 3.500 in the space of only a year. However only 6 years after this the main mining operations had ceased and all mining was stopped in 1941. Luckily for Oatman it was on the line of Route 66 and this kept the town alive for a few more years. However when it was bypassed in 1953 it was pretty much abandoned. These days it is a tourist attraction which can be visited to see some of the old buildings which still stand. There are events staged in the town for the tourists such as mock gun fights and there are also many wild donkeys wandering around which are said to be descended from pack animals used by the gold miners. Oatmen can be a good tourist ghost town to visit.

Sasco

This settlement was home to the Southern Arizona Smelting Company, the initials of which were to give the town its name. It was established in Pinal County in the early 1900’s and in its heyday was home to some 600 people and included the Rockland hotel and a post office. However by the early 1920’s it had become largely abandoned. This followed a feud when a man named Coleman came to town looking for revenge on a couple of men who his wife had cheated on him with. Unfortunately he stated his murderous intentions to the saloon owner who asked him to leave. When he refused the saloon owner shot and killed him. These days the site of Sasco is still abandoned, although the Rockland Hotel building remains in place and some of the remains of the smelting building can still be seen.

Ruby

This settlement is considered to be one of the best preserved ghost towns in Arizona and is located in Santa Cruz County. It was a mining town originally known as Montana Camp as it was located at the base of the Montana Peak. At its height it was home to around 1.200 people, with mining operations in the area beginning in the late 1870’s. It was a successful enough town to have a post office which opened in 1912 and overall the town was in existence for around 60 years. However by the early 1940’s most of the mining operations had ceased and the town was abandoned. Many of the buildings still remain in place and on a visit you can see the jail house and school as well as much of the mine workings and machinery used.

Kentucky Camp

This ghost town is now maintained by the US Forest Service and is located in Pima County. It was established in the 1870’s when gold was found by prospectors in the Santa Rita Mountains. However there was a lack of water in the area meaning that the deposits had to be hauled to nearby streams for panning. Once the productive deposits of gold had all but disappeared the camp became neglected in the late 1800’s. A man named James Stetson came up with an idea to solve the water problem in the early 1900’s but was unfortunately to meet a tragic end before he could put this into practice and the camp was never revived. These days there are still a few of the original buildings to see and the US Forest Service is preserving the site as a historic mining settlement.

There are a number of ghost towns around Arizona with those shown above being some of the best to visit. However there are many others and the following web address http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/az/ is a list of them. If you have time to tour around Arizona visiting some of these can be a great way to view some of the pioneering days of the old west.

Resources – Wikipedia, Ghost Towns