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The Old Bunkhouse At the Abandoned Vulture Mine Near Wickenburg, Arizona
This is a photograph that I took of the decrepit old bunkhouse at the abandoned Vulture Mine outside of the town of Wickenburg, Arizona. This building served as the living quarters for the employees of this once bustling mine.
The Vulture Mine was the most productive gold mine in Arizona history, producing an estimated 200 million dollars’ worth of gold during its period of operation. It also produced a large amount of silver. It is estimated that many times that amount of gold and silver are still to be had in this mine.
The mine was discovered in 1863 by Henry Wickenburg and changed ownership numerous times during its history. A bustling town dubbed “Vulture City” sprung up around the mine and, at one time, had a population greater than Phoenix. However, the operations at the mine faced numerous obstacles such as Indian raids, attacks by highwaymen, high graders (men who went into the mines to steal gold), and a constant lack of a viable water supply. The mine was finally shut down in 1942 by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The miners thought that they would be returning within six months but operations never resumed.
The mine is now privately owned and has not undergone any type of renovation…..it is exactly as it was left. It is located essentially in the “middle of nowhere” and has an eerily quiet presence as though everyone simply got up and left everything behind. It is amazing to see that so many things are still there after so many years of abandonment. However, the owners tell you that you can walk around and see everything “at your own risk” due to the dangers in the buildings and around the mine shaft.
Inside the Miner's Living Quarters At the Abandoned Vulture Mine Near Wickenburg, Arizona
This is a photograph that I took inside one of the decrepit old buildings that once served as the living quarters for some of the miners at the now long abandoned Vulture Mine near the town of Wickenburg, Arizona. In the haste to leave, the miners left behind their phonograph record player; however, they did not leave behind any of their 78 RPM records.
The Vulture Mine was the most productive gold and silver mine in Arizona history. During its operation from 1863 until 1942, it produced 340,000 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver. However, the mine was plagued by many problems during its history. It was the target of numerous Indian attacks, raids by ruthless highwaymen, and was almost constantly subjected to the hardships related to the lack of a viable water supply. There were also numerous mining fatalities here as well as the hanging of thieves who tried to illegally mine gold (these types of thieves were known as “high graders.”) The mine was equipped with a small jail and a hanging tree to deal with such offenders.
Operations at the mine officially ceased in 1942 per executive order issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The miners thought that they would be returning within six months, but operations never resumed. Today, the mine is privately owned and has an eerily quiet presence to it as though everyone simply got up and walked away, leaving everything behind. The owner allows you to tour the grounds, but they inform you that you do so at your own risk because it is a dangerous place. There is still many millions of dollars worth of gold and silver there.
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