Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is advertising-free, and is supported by my subscribers on Patreon. History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students. If you're a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!
Where to find the gold mines of Phoenix, Arizona
Long before the Phoenix area was a "gold mine" for tourism, the area was an actual gold mine. Yes, also silver, and various other things that were dug out of the ground, like copper, and mercury.
If you're a history fan, you've probably heard of the lost gold mine of the "Lost Dutchman" in the Superstition Mountains, which are east of Phoenix, near Apache Junction. I've never wandered around those mountains, but many people do, and they see where miners have been, either 100 years ago or very recently. Yes, people are still searching for gold there to this day.
Whether people are searching for gold nowadays in the Phoenix Mountains, which includes Piestewa (Squaw) Peak and Camelback Mountain, I have no idea. Presumably there are traces of precious minerals there, but most of the people I talk to just see the remains of diggings while they're hiking. This is a very populated area, and there isn't much chance that when you go hiking you'll see an area that's untouched.
The portion of the 1892 map at the top of this post shows the old stagecoach stop on Cave Creek, Beechum's Station. There was a well there, which was very important, as you can see it's north of the Arizona Canal, and water doesn't flow uphill. The creek, by the way, which is a typical riparian wash, still goes through Cave Creek Golf Course. Beechum's Station would be, in modern terms, at about 19th Avenue and Cactus. Nowadays most people confuse the Cave Creek with the road of the name, which is much father east, but if you're looking for gold, it's good that people don't know where to look. I'll see if I can help you find the gold mines.
If you're looking at a satellite view of the Cave Creek, you can see that it flows from the northeast and goes past what is now Lookout Mountain. That's about where the words "Gold Mines" are on that map, between Thunderbird and the Greenway Parkway, west of 7th Street. But I really can't recommend going there with your gold pan, you'd probably be better off carrying gold clubs.
Of course, there were many gold, silver, and precious minerals mines around Phoenix, so you don't need to just look there. The map from 1895 at the bottom of this post should help you, if you want to go exploring. You probably won't find any gold, but you'll a lot of wonderful places to hike, and some beautiful desert scenery, right near the crowded metropolitan area of Phoenix.
Good luck! And remember to shout "Eureka!" when you find what you're looking for.
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History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.
Posted by Brad Hall