With only about 10 days left before we head further west for April and May, we decided to go to the Goldfield Ghost Town near the Lost Dutchman State Park on Hwy 88 with our friends Ron and Patsy. They had been there before and thought we would enjoy it. We had been by the ghost town several times as we drove to different trailheads in the area but never stopped to check it out. Our opportunity arrived yesterday. This was an actual gold mine years ago with a great history. The ghost town is situated atop a small hill between the Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Mountains, the settlement of Goldfield got its start in 1892 when very rich, high grade gold ore was found in the area. A town soon sprang up and on October 7, 1893 it received its first official post office. This “official” find, coupled with the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine, which had been circulating for years, led plenty of new miners to the area and in no time, the town boasted three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school. For five years the town boomed until there were about 1,500 folks residing in the city.
But like other gold camps, Goldfield’s bustling days were quickly dashed when the vein of gold ore started to play out and the grade of the ore dropped even more. Just five years after it began, the town found itself quickly dying. The miners moved on, the post office was discontinued on November 2, 1898, and Goldfield became a ghost town.
But Goldfield was obviously not destined to die permanently. In 1966, Robert F. “Bob” Schoose, a long time ghost town, mining, and treasure-hunting enthusiast made his first trip to the Superstition Mountains and instantly fell in love with the area. He moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1970 and soon began to dream of owning his own ghost town. He had heard of the old site of Goldfield, but upon inspection, he found little left other than a few foundations and rambling shacks. He and his wife, Lou Ann, then located another five-acre site that was once the location of the Goldfield Mill and decided with to rebuild the old town. Purchasing the old mill site in 1984, they first reconstructed a mining tunnel, which included a snack bar and opened for business in 1988. Next came a photo shop, the Blue Nugget, a General Store, the Mammoth Saloon and the Goldfield Museum.
Today, Goldfield is filled with authentic looking buildings, includes underground mine tours, and the only narrow gauge railroad in operation in Arizona. Numerous shops and buildings include a brothel(not real), bakery, leather works, a jail, livery, and more. The authentic looking street is filled with people in period costume, horses and wagons, and sometimes authentic gunfighter presentations.
After arriving we headed to the zip line attraction. Patsy could never get the nerve up to go but this time she was determined. It's actually billed as the "safest zip line in the country". What could go wrong?
It's quite a set up. You sit in a chair and get belted in then they pull you back to the high point and release the chair and zip, zoom you're on the zip line coming in for a landing. Patsy had quite an expression on her face that I can't show you. She definitely had fun and glad she did it.
We then headed up main street and looked at the many shops selling jewelry, clothing, pottery, art work, metal work and sundries. There's also a couple of restaurants and some historic buildings.
Click on the photos for better viewing.
We bought tickets to ride the narrow gauge train around the property with a great engineer that gave a wonderful account of the history of the ghost town.
From the train there was a great vantage point for a photo of the Superstition Mountains and an old train car that carried ore from the mine. We just love the desert and the history associated here.
After the train ride we continued our tour of the town. They have gold panning, a shooting range, a mystery house with optical illusions and we came across an old church for viewing.
After our tour it was close to lunch so we headed over to the Mammoth Restaurant. It's an old time setting with indoor and outdoor seating. I forgot to get some photos of the inside the I did get an nice picture of the mountains from our table.
We even saw some cowboys and their horses as they left the restaurant.
It was a great meal and everyone enjoyed their entrée. I had the Giant Mammoth Burger. It was a 1/3 lb. patty with lettuce, mushrooms and pepperjack cheese. Very delicious. After lunch we did some more sightseeing and I got some additional photos I thought were cool.
We even had a replica of an old west cemetery.
Of course it was all in fun and with the theme of the ghost town.
The desert is in bloom now so I got some nice photos of some of those blooms.
It was getting hot and we had seen most everything we came to see. The only thing we didn't do was the tour of the gold mine. It was a little more that we wanted to spend for that attraction so we skipped it and made our way to the parking lot and back home. Maybe next year.
I highly recommend if you're in the area of Apache Junction of even the Phoenix area for that matter, go see the Goldfield Ghost Town. It does give you a small glimpse of the old west. They even have gunfights in the streets on weekends.
Well that gets me caught up on our activities to date. Today was a run errands day and playing some pool with friends in the billiards room. Tomorrow I need to get back to work and get the truck waxed one more time before we start traveling again. Oh well, that's my life. I think I'll keep it. :-)