Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ghost Town Memories -- Oct 14, 2015

Being just outside Wickenburg, AZ, at my BLM boondocking site, brings back memories of my visit to Vulture City where the Vulture Mine is located.  The Vulture Mine was a gold and silver mine and settlement.  The mine began in 1863 and became the most productive gold mine in Arizona history. From 1863 to 1942, the mine produced 340,000 ounces of gold ($6,439,600 or an average of $81,514/year -- $395,896,000 / $5M per year at today's price!) and 260,000 ounces of silver. The mine attracted more than 5,000 people to the area, and is credited with founding the town of Wickenburg.

The Vulture Mine began when a prospector from California's gold rush, Henry Wickenburg discovered a quartz deposit containing gold and began mining the outcrop himself. In 1863, after Henry Wickenburg discovered the Vulture Mine, Vulture City, a small mining town, was established in the area.  After the mine closed in 1942, the city was abandoned and became a "ghost town".  Vulture Mine was shut down by a regulatory agency for processing gold. This was a violation at the time because all resources were to be focused on the war effort. The mine appealed the shut-down order and reopened, but with less vigor. A few years later, the mine closed permanently.  It is said there are still gold veins running throughout the property.  

When I visited the mine for an "artistic" photo shoot, it was privately owned. I've just learned that a Canadian group bought the mine and had hired 100 people to renovate and rejuvenate Vulture City and it did reopen to tourists for a short while. However, due to a lack of funds and/or other problematic situations, they have not moved forward and it has closed yet again. I'm glad I got these photos when I did!  Interestingly, the mine was featured on Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel .You can watch a recap video here!  Travel Channel: Ghost Adventures: Vulture Mine Video Recap 

I won't comment much on these photos...there are a lot...they are fairly self-explanatory.... what was left of Vulture City when I was there a few years or so ago.  It was, in my opinion, a rather dangerous trek around the property with rotten floor boards, falling roofs, and building and mining debris all over the ground, but it was a fun and interesting walkabout, nonetheless. Back when I took these photos, I wasn't planning on giving a "tour"....but I hope you will get a good take on the property and its history. And if you like rust and old stuff like I do, you would love this place!  Let's prospect for some gold....if the ghosts haven't hoarded it all somewhere!

First, some outbuildings....

This is the old Assay Office.  
Seeing current photos online, unfortunately the corner at the forefront of the
 photo has now totally crumbled

Mining families raised their children in Vulture City...this is the schoolhouse....

Several vehicles were abandoned when the mine closed...

Let's move indoors to some of the living and public quarters....

Even clothing was left behind....

I particularly liked seeing the cooking/kitchen items....

This was the forging area and "laboratory"....

Still explorable, was the "factory"...

I know I showed you a lot of photos here and I hope you enjoyed them, but please take another four minutes and watch this wonderful video about Vulture City/ shows some areas that I could not access at the time......if nothing else, the music is great! 

Vulture Mine Video

Thank you for exploring Vulture City with me!  I hope the current owners can get back on track with their plans to revitalize this property.  It is a piece of very significant Arizona history!

Have a great rest of the week!  So long for now....
(Sorry about the weird black/white lettering format....can't get rid of it for some reason!)


  1. Good you saw it when you did. Maybe it will reopen someday. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Tiff, How did you get the colors in picture 42 and the last pic. Facinating! Mary M.

    1. Hi Mary -- I took these photos some time ago and was experimenting with "creative photography". I honestly couldn't tell you how I achieved those results. Probably a combination of several different post-processing software programs. Thanks for continuing to follow the blog!

  4. Where all the skillets are sitting looks like a coffin...that's pretty "Halloweenish"...not sure I would use that as a dining table! Great pictures!

    1. Thanks! The whole place is kind of Halloweenish! I wouldn't want to be there at night!

  5. We love wandering around places like this! You would love Kolmanskop in Namibia. It is an old diamond mine town that has now been taken over by the sand. It is a photographer's paradise.

    1. Very cool, Ruth! Thanks for sharing! I've been following your free boondocking trek. You've found some good spots! I traveled from the east coast to the west staying only at free spots...just a couple of Walmart stops...the rest were all trees, grass, forests, etc. It can be done! Safe travels!