Vulture City, Arizona

Charleston, Nevada
May 6, 2016
White Oaks, New Mexico
May 9, 2016

VultureCityArizonaThis former city was the hub of the richest gold mine in the west where the Vulture Mine was located. This mine was one of the richest in Arizona and was discovered in 1863 by Henry Wickenburg. Located close to Wickenburg, Arizona, Vulture Mine continued production until World War II though production was in low levels.

Initially, a quartz deposit had been discovered here by Mr. Wickenburg who started mining the outcrop himself after discovering it. This was before he discovered Vulture Mine in 1863. When the mine was finally established, Vulture City sprang up as a small mining town serving those working in the area at the time.

In 1870, this city was home to 200 individuals and the 80 stamp mill was set up here too. One of the interesting things about this former town was that the buildings that were put up originally, had been constructed using ore from Vulture Mine. However, when the mill became operational, these buildings were destroyed and crushed in the mill.

It is said that $2,000 was recovered after crushing the ore that had been used to make the assay office only. This was definitely a huge gain to be left as part of a building that could be replaced with different materials used for construction at the time and therefore, crushing the ore for sale was a wise idea.

On the other hand, Vulture Mine faced the challenge of management problems but even with this, the wealth it generated caused Vulture City to thrive and by 1880, it had become a self contained town. Various establishments had come up at the time including a school, six boarding houses, saloons, a cookhouse and mess hall, offices, a blacksmith shop, stores as well as other buildings that were associated with the mine.

Almost 300 miners were working at the mines then and they lived with their families here. At its peak Vulture City was home to 5,000 inhabitants. In the days that followed, the ownership of Vulture Mine changed hands several times and the major challenge that every owner faced at any particular period, was realizing profits from the mines since the main gold vein was lost at some point.

This mine continued operating until 1942 when it was shut down officially, after producing more than $200 million in gold. Today, the ghost town is privately owned but the public is welcome to visit at a fee. For visitors, there is a lot to see in this former town including the ironwood hanging tree where 18 men were hung for high grading or stealing ore, Wickenburg’s cabin, the two-story building that served as the mine’s office and is the largest structure here, the blacksmith shop, the underground vault and assay office that are part of the large building as well.

Apart from these, belongings of formers mine workers and office workers can also be traced where they once lived. Antique objects, tables, chairs and clothes belonging to formers inhabitants are also available. Though Vulture Mine produced millions of dollars when it was active, it is said that Wickenburg died a poor man, by committing suicide using a gun in his hands. It is definite that this ghost town has a wealth of history that every visitor today would want to hear about, as they explore all that is left of it.

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