View Full Version : AZ Ghost Towns

11-24-2005, 02:49 PM
We've just recently started to go camping/4-wheeling to find ghost towns in AZ. It seems that much of the information we come across is incomplete or inaccurate. We have also heard that information is quite protected by ghosttowning groups to make it harder for vandals to come across. Is there a ghosttowning group in the Phoenix area that we can join and begin to get better information and location resources?

11-25-2005, 09:54 AM
Ghost towning can be frustrating and rewarding. I recall researching several sites I wanted to see and then once getting there to discover it was gone (due to aging and weather) or a developer had bought it all and subdivided it. I am in Colorado so I can't help you - although in the 60's and early 70's I spent about 15 years rooming the ghost towns of AZ. Good luck and I am sure someone on the site will help. I don't post direction on my site as I don't want the places over run with vandals and people coming just to drag away the history.

11-28-2005, 07:35 PM
I highly recommend Philip Varney's book
I just returned from a nine day trip in Arizona and I visited about 15 ghost towns. The best ones were Vulture Mine in Maricopa County and Ruby in Santa Cruz County. Both have been closed to the public for many years and recently opened to visitors.

In Cochise County, you can visit the semi-ghost town of Cochise and stay in a l890's hotel, and then drive the "ghost town trail" and explore the ruins of three ghost towns on your way to Tombstone.

I don't know anything about groups you can join, since we make our plans and itineries and follow them, and have had very good luck. Varney's book and an Arizona Atlas were all we needed to find the ghost towns that interested us.

old judge
12-03-2005, 10:17 AM
Pappy: In 40+ years of interest in Ghosttowns, I've never carried anything away but memories and photos. Since finding more free time the last 10 years, I've become more active in visiting sites, and interested in info. This site has been an excellent foundation for checking out information that might lead to a good experience for my wife and I. Some GT'ers are more reluctant to share info, and appropriately so. Too many folks are unwilling to limit their visit to a site to photos and memories. At any rate, while I often offer some help on this site, the fact is that anyone can do some work on his or her own and learn a great deal. It requires a little imagination in surfing the web, but a host of info is out there. If Johnnie and his lovely bride and I can find it, considering our idea of a computer is a ten key, then, hopefully, so can you. Mike

12-03-2005, 07:05 PM
You’re a better man than I “Old Judge.” I too have been going to ghost towns since the late 40s and while I’ve never taken anything but pictures and memories from a ghost town, I once found a treasure turned up by the State Road crew while grading the side of a paved highway. It was a circa 1870 seemed test tube that had turned nicely purple and it was in peril and it was not in situ and it found is way home with me and to this day I somehow feel guilty about that action. I’ve also brought home a lot of ore samples but have left more bottles, arrowheads, pot shards and other portable treasures for the next person to find then most can find today. That is because sadly, most times, the next person to find them didn’t have the same set of values. I don’t know how to instill this “ghost town ethic” and the old timers I met in the 40s and 50s weren’t any better, they’d purloin anything they found abandoned They’d patch their miner’s shacks with 1920s license plates, papered there walls with worthless stock certificates, etc.. I remember an old codger I only knew as Mac who roamed Piute Valley between Searchlight, Nevada and Needles, California. He’d drag home everything from old whiskey bottles to buttons off of army coats he found in places like Fort Piute while digging outhouses for lost coins, bottles and other artifacts. His miner’s cabin in the Spirit Mountains always had a couple dozen old bottles on the roof getting a hue of purple. Bout once a month he head down to Needles with a collection of goodies and hawk them to passengers on the Super Chief, Chief, Scout, El Capitan and other Santa Fe Passenger trains, they all stopped in Needles. As a 10 year old I saw nothing wrong with how Mac got his spending change but if you go to his old haunts today, you don’t find anything worth noting. I don’t have any answers except take pictures today because most likely it will be gone tomorrow.

12-04-2005, 08:02 AM
If you want to see a good example of what someone can drag away from these old sites go to Mill City Nevada and view Thunder Mountain. Most of the stuff there was taken from the nearby ghost towns sites. Some people call it art to steal the artifacts and put it into a concrete display. I call it vandalism.

Nice to hear people talk about NOT taking the artifacts.

12-11-2005, 11:54 PM
I've found most of my GT's by studying maps and finding the names of the area around the towns. Most maps may not list the town itself, but if there's a peak or creek nearby which carries the same name, you at least have a starting point.

I too am guilty of taking pretty rocks, but I leave the good stuff alone as well.

Unless I have permission to dumpster dive. Got a couple of really, really old pulleys from a ranch dump a month ago :D Ranch dumps can be so much fun sometimes.