Tag Archives: mine

The History of the Crowned King Mine

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.

crown king mineThe 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.

The Ghost Town of Vulture City

vulture mineVulture City is a ghost town near Wickenburg in Maricopa County, Arizona. The Vulture Mine was a robust gold mining area during its heyday. The Vulture mine was discovered by Henry Wickenburg in 1863. Vulture City sprang up around the gold mining area. The mine was active from around 1863 through 1942. It produced over 340,000 ounces of gold and a significant amount of silver. The gold mining operation produced over $7,000,000 in gold based on the prices of the time period. The amount would be significantly more at today’s prices.

The town was notorious like most mining towns in that time period. There were many tales of murder, chaos and stagecoach robberies. The superintendent of the gold mining operation was killed during a stagecoach robbery. The Vulture Mine was closed down in 1942 due to World War II. All citizen efforts were supposed to be focused on the war effort instead of gold mining activity. The mine reopened after the war but did not prosper. It closed for good a few years later.

After mining ceased in the area, Vulture City rapidly became a ghost town. However, it is home to a famous legend. It is referred to as the site of the Other Lost Dutchman or Oro Blanco mine. The legend surrounds a gold mining professional of German original who worked around Wickenburg in the 1870s. Supposedly, he mined at night and snuck around to make it impossible for others to find the source of his gold. One night, he left to mine and never came home. Most people assumed he was killed by the Apaches in the area, but human remains were found in 1895 near a small prospect hole. The human remains were found with sacks of gold.

Vulture City is a fun attraction for tourists who are interested in gold mining. There are a variety of buildings that still stand. Tourists can take guided tours of the mine and the remaining structures. Because of its notorious history as a gold mining town, there are legends of paranormal activity in the area. In 2010, The Vulture mine was the subject of a Ghost Adventures episode on the Travel Channel.