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Thread: 1880's Pump Site, Total Wreck Mine, Arizona

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default 1880's Pump Site, Total Wreck Mine, Arizona

    The Total Wreck Mine was discovered in the Empire Mountains of southern Arizona in 1879, but development did not occur until a pump site was established on Cienega Creek several miles to the east. I believe that this was done around 1880. I have found one description of the water supply system: ďA powerfully geared pump was installed there and a six inch iron pipe laid to the top of a small hill just east of the camp. Two 50,000 gallon redwood tanks were built there, and a four-inch pipe line ran through the little town to the mill and furnished plenty of waterĒ. My interest in locating the pump site came after I mentioned to a friend that I had recently returned to the mine. He asked if I remembered us being to the pump site many years ago. His recollections were that there two old boilers and other relics lying about. I did not remember the trip and he could not recall its location. We got lucky and found the pump marked on a 1905 topo map of the area. I recently made my way to the pump site. It is not pristine but still quite interesting. There are two old boilers, the first 3-drum arrangement that I recall ever seeing. They are tumbled down. When they were upright, I estimate that they were more than 12 feet tall. There is no pump or engine. While I could guess at the pumpís location, I am not at all sure that I understand how things were really arranged. Many bricks and rock materials were imported to the site, but it was hard to tell exactly how they were used. Today, the bricks are stacked in one large pile and the rocks scattered about. Like a lot of old sites, there are a lot of nails scattered around. The difference here is that they are almost exclusively the older square shanked ones! A few hundred feet away is the ruin of an old multi-room adobe. It may have housed the pump operators. I walked quite a ways up the canyon away from the pump site. Nothing remains of the old pipeline to the mine. I have not returned to the mine to see if I could locate the site of the redwood tanks. I have more info and photos at:
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  2. #2
    Vulture's Avatar
    Vulture is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Galeyville, AZ


    What a find. I think there's actually more to the pump site than at the mill & town site. I'd never heard of this before.

    Great pics on your web site & the crop of the old topo map is cool.

    Although obscure there is still so much southern AZ history to discover. Your are really digging up the ghosts.

    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    The in-depth article with technical details on the referenced website is very interesting and a lot of work was put into that report, thanks. The original mill of twenty 950 pound stamps was pretty sophisticated for its day, back in the days when people used to really work and really manufacture things. Thanks again for posting that.

  4. #4
    campp's Avatar
    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    Great report, thanks for posting. I love boilers and boiler sites, always interesting. Sounds like this one was salvaged/looted long ago. That wellhead has to be there hiding...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Tucson, Arizona


    Great post! I have just put this on my to do list for the fall. Thanks for the cool pictures and description.
    "Life's not about how fast you can blast through it, but how slow you can go." |

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

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