Gold mining history is rich with mines that are now abandoned ghost towns. The community of Crown King, Arizona is the site of a former gold mining community. The Crowned King Mine was the largest mine in the Bradshaw Mountains. The first claim made in the area was in 1875. More than 15 additional claims were made in the area over a span of about 40 years.
The Crowned King Mine was one of the most productive gold mining areas of its time. There are reports that $2,000,000 in gold was taken from the mine. That is $2,000,000 in 1899 gold prices which were around $20.67 an ounce. Today, gold is closer to $1700 per ounce, so The Crowned King Mine would have yielded an amazing amount of money at today’s prices.
The first claim in the Crown King group of mines was the Buckeye claim, which was established by Rod McKinnon in July of 1875. The Crowned King Mining Group was formed in January, 1888 by George P. Harrington, Noah Shekels and O.F. Place. Shekels went on to erect a saw mill in May of 1888 to support the gold mining operation.
The town of Crown King sprang up on the road that connected the mine to the saw mill. Railroad service came to the town in 1904 through the Bradshaw Mountain Railroad. At one time, the town had 500 buildings that included company stores, restaurants, a post office and boarding houses. Electricity reached the town in 1897.
The gold mining operations in the area were compromised by disagreements among the original mine developers. The Crowned King Mine was closed down by litigation in January, 1893. The gold mining operation opened again October, 1893 with a limited crew. In 1894, the mine began operating with a full crew. The gold mining operation was successful again but the legal feuds led to the gold mining operation being shut down again in 1899.
There are some buildings that are still in use near The Crowned King Mine. Tourists can visit the Crown King Saloon near the famous mine. The saloon was originally built in a nearby gold mining town called Oro Belle, which is now a ghost town.