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Some thirty-two years ago, Bob Corbin and I visited Ernie Provence and Tracy Hawkins at the store called the Lost Dutchman Mine Store, some eight miles east of Highway 60 on the old Quarter U Circle Ranch road. The store was located about a mile east from the junction of Peralta Road and Qua… Read more g

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Many years ago, I received a call from a man in northern California who was interested in Yeti or “Big Foot.” He had heard of the Reavis Valley, a landlocked biotic island high above the Sonoran Desert floor that supported a dense Ponderosa pine forest. He wanted to know how to get to the Re… Read more g

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Over the years former Arizona Attorney General Bob Corbin and I made many trips into the Superstition Wilderness Area checking on various sites associated with the story of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. We traveled to some of the most remote areas of the wilderness. Read more g

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The following incident is somewhat strange by modern standards. The Arizona Citizen, on December 7, 1877, reported a case of accidental poisoning at Bear Tanks north of Picket Post Mountain. The story goes something like this.

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The American Civil War began 155 years ago last week. Forces of the Confederacy fired their cannons on Union troops at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, beginning a four-year carnage that left more than 600,000 Americans dead and thousands more wounded and scarred.

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The beauty of the Sonoran Desert in the spring time is fabulous. This past winter has been a very wet season, averaging more than 1.60 inches per month. This precipitation will substantially produce plenty of tinder and much of the older dead growth will provide fuel for the slightest spark,…

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Sometimes we think that leaders are people with certain job titles—e.g., manager, director, chair or superintendent. Of course, people with these and other titles should be leaders, but for our workplaces and communities to function effectively, everyone needs to practice leadership every day.

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When there is rain in our area, the desert changes dramatically, and this week’s column is about some spectacular scenery along the old Apache Trail during the recent rains.

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By Tom Kollenborn I was sitting around the other day, picking my guitar, when I got to thinking about the many wonderful trips I’ve made back into the Superstition Wilderness during the past sixty years. For a moment I wondered if the time had been wasted. I assured myself it certainly had not been. I…

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The Superstition Mountain region has very rugged terrain and many hiding places. Some of the area’s hidden canyons had sufficient water to support illegal whiskey distilling during Prohibition.

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Phoenix was the center of a mystery that entwined the apparent prosaic present and one of the well-known legends of early mining in Arizona territory near the turn of the 20th century. Arizona abounds in tales and legends, wild and fanciful, told by storytellers over many a campfire and in m…

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You can’t imagine the surprising and unbelievable stories I have heard over the past three scores of years. The tales of gold and treasure lost among the deep canyons and towering spires within the wilderness of Superstition Mountain are numerous. These tales would stir the souls of young me…

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When we speak of Peter’s Mesa these days, the first thoughts often reflect on the death of Walter Gassler in May of 1984. I worked for the Barkley’s and often hauled salt to the Salt Grounds on Peter’s Mesa. The numerous trips in the late 1950s brought me in contact with a large selection of…

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The Apaches are not known for their stories about Superstition Mountain. Few Apaches have actually ever entered the area. It was the Yavapais who had villages in the area we today call the Superstition Wilderness Area. It was also the Yavapais who were pursued by the Army and their camps destroyed.

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When I worked for the Barkley Cattle Company in the late 1950s, there were two armed groups occupying the area along the western side of Weaver’s Needle. These armed camps needed water to survive and maintain their operations in the mountains.

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Gold and treasure have attracted men and women to the Superstition Mountain region for more than a century, and their quest for lost treasure has often turned tragic.

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Old-timers who are familiar with the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine will recognize the names of Richard “Dick” Holmes, Julia Thomas, the Petrasch brothers, Guidon Roberts, James A. Bark and Sims Ely as important figures associated with the never ending drama about lost gold in the Superst…

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Prior to the turn of the 20th century, bighorn sheep and the desert antelope could be found in and around the Superstition Mountain region. The bighorn sheep were recently reintroduced to the wilderness, but the desert antelope are now extinct. It is not difficult to visualize giant rams bou…

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There are many stories that have circulated around camps and among treasure hunters. These stories often involve cached or hidden gold; sometimes a lost mine story was included. Thirty or forty years ago, I met a man named Poole. He asked me if I had ever heard of the mountain in the Superst…

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The beauty of the Sonoran Desert in the spring of the year is magnificent, but the abundant growth of desert plants creates a great fire danger as they dry out due to the late spring and early summer heat. Longer and hotter days add to this volatile mixture.

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A man appeared at the Bark-Criswell Ranch in December of 1891, with a burro and a puppy. The burro he called “Chase” and the puppy he called “Yelp.” He informed Jim Bark that the Silver King Mine had shut down again. He asked about securing employment on the ranch. The owner asked him if he …

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The following story is certainly filled with much speculation, but still has some interesting and valid historical points. One of Arizona’s most infamous characters was a madam by the name of “Big Nose” Kate. She was born Mary Katherine Harnoy, in Budapest, Hungary, on November 7, 1850. Her …

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Goldfield and the famous Mammoth Mine have long ceased to be the booming mining camp they were at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The inhabitants have left and little remains today of its glorious past. Remnants of this era can be found on the base of a large alluvial fan. This alluvia fa…

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Several years ago I was helping a friend who worked for the Page Land and Cattle Company gather a few cows on the old Weeks’ cow outfit west of the Apache Trail in the Goldfield Mountains. We were working near the old Government Well Highway Yard on the west side of the road. I was moving fo…

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The old prospector of lost mine fame, Jacob Waltz, left the state of Arizona quite a legacy when he died in Phoenix on Sunday, October 25, 1891.

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In 2016, we experienced an extremely warm February, and rattlesnakes were out and moving about. Several sightings were reported. The snakes were basking in the warm rays of the morning sun.

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This story will hopefully provide you with a little insight into the fraternity of treasure and lost mine hunters. This is a unique group, coming from all walks of life. Their faith in their story or tale of lost gold is usually unshakeable. Here is a story based on a letter I received from …

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Time has a strange way of eroding away one’s memory of events that occurred five decades ago. A few days ago I was perusing some old periodicals about the last publicized great search for the famous Lost Dutchman Mine in the Superstition Mountains east of Apache Junction. The story that caug…

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Recently, I interviewed Mr. James Copeman, owner of the historic Coke Oven Ranch near Florence. The Coke Ovens are on private property that includes some 189 acres of land. Many people and visitors believe the Coke Ovens are open to the public to view. Mr. Copeman advised me the Coke Ovens a…

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The Superstition Mountain range has attracted the interest of humans for more than a millennium. First it was the Native American who did hunting and gathering on the slopes of these rugged mountains. Petroglyphs, such as those in Hieroglyphic Canyon, reveal the success of their hunts for mo…

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Jim Cravey woke up one May morning in 1947 from a dream he had about a lost gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. He was convinced it was the Lost Dutchman Mine. He believed from his dream he could find the mine.

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The nautical history of Canyon Lake has been an interesting one. When Canyon Lake was first filled in 1925, several valley entrepreneurs were convinced they could operate a profitable business enterprise by transporting visitors by bus up the Apache Trail and then place them on a tour boat f…

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Many years ago, I was riding in the Horse Camp Ridge area, when I came upon an interesting trail. The trail had been carved out of solid stone by animals carrying heavy loads. There were places were the hooves of the beast of burden had worn deep into the volcanic tufa.

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High on the west slope of Superstition Mountain, up above where the Mining Camp Restaurant once stood, is the waste dump of the old Palmer Mine. This silent dump denotes a bygone era of copper and gold mining history long since forgotten. The site is still quite conspicuous from many points …

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Arizona’s first zoo was located in Apache Junction, some forty miles east of the Phoenix Zoo or the old Maytag Zoo in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Superstition Mountain history has provided many good stories and numerous characters, some good and some bad. I have met “the good, the bad and the ugly,” taking a cliché from Clint Eastwood’s movie, as all of these characters have fallen into one of those categories.

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Around 1990, I began to hear stories about a meteor that impacted east of the First Water Trail Head. One witness told me he heard the explosion when the meteor hit the earth. He claimed to be near the impact zone. Also, he said he saw the flash from the impact. I trusted this man’s story, b…

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Colonel Francesco De Pinedo, an Italian aviator, carefully planned for his flight around the world during the winter of 1926-27. He would be flying a plane called the Santa Maria, named after Christopher Columbus’ ship.

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This is a reminder of what can happen when proposing ideas about how to make destination locations an exciting place to attract visitors to an area. During all the speculation associated with how to bring visitors to the desert area known as Apache Junction in the late 1950s and early 1960s,…

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Several years ago, I heard a couple talking about witnessing an American Civil War skirmish in the Superstition Wilderness between the Union and Confederate soldiers. As I listened, it sounded quite bizarre. The couple said they were hiking between Peralta Trail Head and First Water Trail He…

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Recently, I read on the internet about a local cattle family’s ranch being used to hatch a murder conspiracy. The murder conspiracy supposedly included Abe Reid, George “Brownie” Holmes, Milton Rose, Jack Keenan and Leroy Purnell. The ranch was the Quarter Circle U in Pinal County, and the m…

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Most historians accept the story that an old prospector named Jacob Waltz created one of the most popular legends in American Southwestern history. Storytellers will tell you he spun yarns and gave clues to a rich lost gold mine in the Superstition Mountains.

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There are those who believe there is an unlimited supply of water. But in the 1890s prospectors, miners and cattlemen fought over small seeps and springs in the desert around Superstition Mountain. The Cottonwood Springs water feud was between a cattleman and a stable owner in the Goldfield …

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Several years ago, Joe Clary introduced me to the military records of the Rancheria Campaign in the Superstition Mountain area. It was among these field reports and maps that several new names for various landmarks within the Superstition Wilderness Area were discovered. The Rancheria Campai…

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The past five or six decades have produced a variety of missing person reports within the contemporary boundaries of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Many of these missing persons show up at home or in another state claiming they didn’t think anyone would miss them. A majority of these miss…

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You can’t imagine the surprising and unbelievable stories I have heard over the past many scores of years. The tales of gold and treasure lost among the deep canyons and towering spires within the wilderness of Superstition Mountain are numerous. These tales stir the souls of men both young …

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Apache Junction as we know it today didn’t exist when the first prospectors searched for gold near the base of Superstition Mountain in the late 1860’s. The United States Army called the Superstition Mountains the Sierra de Supersticiones and were still pursuing hostile Apaches in the mounta…

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How many of you remember a very special teacher in your school experience? Almost everyone has had that special teacher who reached out and helped you in such a way you thought you were special. This assistance helped you succeed in school, in life or both. Most of us have read about history…

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According to legend and myth, the great “Thunder God” roars during the summer months. Many of us do not find this hard to believe, if we have experienced a violent thunderstorm in the Apache Junction area during the summer months. There are basically two types of storms that occur in our area.

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Since 1946, many individuals have played a significant role in the Superstition Mountain drama. One such person was Don Shade. Not everyone was close to Don and understood his love for the mountains. However, a casual conversation with him would definitely convince you of his love affair wit…

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A national holiday that recollects the “Day of the Cowboy” is somewhat interesting and unique. The cattle industry was a wild and rough business to be involved with in the early days, 1850 thru 1930. These eighty years of cattle ranching, roundups, trail drives, rodeos and even motion pictur…

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The first time I ever heard the story about the lynching of Starr Daley, it was from George “Brownie” Holmes. Holmes was a pioneer Arizonian. His father was born at Fort Whipple and his grandfather traveled along the Gila Trail in the late 1840’s. “Brownie” Holmes was a good friend of Nancy …