The road to Old West Wickenburg part 2

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So after lunch and taking a walking tour of old historic Wickenburg, I head out West of town to see the genesis of Wickenburg, the Vulture Mine.
image.jpeg


This is some pretty forbidding land around here. A veritable ocean of cactus, saguaros are all over the hillsides and the lower ground is covered with cholla ( which we used to call jumping cactus because the small ball shaped limbs have barbed thorns, they penetrate your clothes or skin easily but come out hard , and then detach from the cactus and they stick to you). Also the tall wispy branches of ocotillo cactus.
Pretty much every thing out here wants to sting you, bite you or poke you!
image.jpeg
image.jpeg


In 1863, German prospector Henry Wickenburg found gold in what would become Arizonas most successful gold mine.
image.jpeg

The Vulture Mine, so named because of the large flock of ever present turkey vultures in the area.
I have never been in this area but what I don't see dozens of them circling in the sky at any one time. Anything that dies out here doesn't last too long!
There are still a lot of structures left of the old mining operation.
The assay office
image.jpeg


The chow hall where the miners ate

image.jpeg


Rita's brothel

image.jpeg


The hanging tree where 18 men met their fate for stealing gold

image.jpeg


And of course the gold mine shaft itself. Would you fancy going down that hole?

image.jpeg


Arizona mountains are dotted with old abandoned mine shafts, some are still uncovered and grown up with vegetation, every once in a while a story pops up about some unfortunate soul falling down a shaft.

The mining operation attracted more than 5000 people to the area and the town of Wickenburg was born.
There was already a population of people here before the miners came. The first inhabitants had been here for hundreds of years, the Yavapai Indians. Living , hunting and farming along the banks of the Hassayampa River, they did not take kindly to intruders and the Indian wars inevitably came. Back East, the sentiment went to the natives. That all changed in 1871 when the Wickenburg massacre occurred.

image.jpeg


Outside of town, this monument stands on a side road. On this site a band of fifteen Yavapai Warriors attacked and killed six passengers on a stage coach headed for California.

image.jpeg


One of those killed was a popular young writer from Boston named Frederick Loring.
image.jpeg

When the news of the massacre reached back East, the tide of sentiment swung away from the Indians and towards the settlers.

The US Calvary was dispatched to round up the Indians and drive them to a reservation. Under the direction of General George Cook, for the next two years the Calvary fought and captured the Yavapais and drove them to Southern Arizona and forced them to live on a reservation right next to their historical enemies the Chiricahua tribe. All of this resulted in an estimated 1000 Yavapai Indians and 400 settlers being killed.
By the way, you won't find a single monument anywhere denoting the massacre of entire Indian villages.

My time here is running short, so I turn and head for home, but I have one last stop to make. I turn South East onto State route 60, headed back towards Phoenix. About 15 miles out of Wickenburg, I arrive at the town of Morristown, just a wide spot in the road. State route 60 parallels the railroad tracks, which are much older than the road. There is an old structure that I have passed a hundred times and never knew what it was.
image.jpeg

I did some digging. This is what remains of what was once a grand hotel, The Morristown Hotel built in 1899. I was frankly surprised at the age and the history of this hotel. Much of it is missing, there was a balcony all around the upstairs, and there were add ons and other structures around it. American royalty has stayed here.
A little background here. The Arizona territorial governor had a brother named Frank Murphy, a wealthy businessman who owned banks and railroads and mines. He purchased a property deep in the Bradshaw Mountains called Castle Hot Springs, so named for the natural mountain hot spring that is located there.
There had been a small treatment facility located there for tuberculosis patients, but Frank saw this place as a potential resort, and that is exactly what he created. He built a beautiful resort in 1896, with beautiful pools that were supplied with the naturally heated spring.
But it was remote, by any standard. So Frank built the Morristown Hotel, right on the train track, in the middle of no where. The resort was a huge success, drawing such notable families as the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Wrigleys and Zane Grey.
When it first opened people would arrive by train , often in their own private Pullman car, spend the night at the hotel and then the next day take a five hour stagecoach ride to Castle Hot Springs.
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg


In 1943-1944, the resort opened its doors to injured and recovering WW2 veterans. One of the more notable veterans was John F. Kennedy after being injured on PT109.
image.jpeg


The resort stayed in operation until a major fire in the 70's forced its closure. Note it has been recently purchased and is being renovated with plans to reopen, but the road has never been improved and is still only accessible with a very rugged vehicle.

So with that, I kick start my bike for the last time today and head for home. These little rides have revealed to me so much history. I've said before, I've spent my whole life blowing through these old towns on my way to somewhere else, and never knew the rich history and stories these these old places hold.

Sometimes I think about this old motorcycle and wonder.....who restored who?
Until next time,
Bob
 

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I think that place east of AJ is where we went as tourists during our trip to Phoenix in Dec. 2017. It is a lively little town with active businesses and lots of visitors every day. I just can’t pull the name out right now.
6E5A4494-5C12-4FF2-AD0C-0D263DAD5FFE.jpeg
 
So after lunch and taking a walking tour of old historic Wickenburg, I head out West of town to see the genesis of Wickenburg, the Vulture Mine.
View attachment 114130

This is some pretty forbidding land around here. A veritable ocean of cactus, saguaros are all over the hillsides and the lower ground is covered with cholla ( which we used to call jumping cactus because the small ball shaped limbs have barbed thorns, they penetrate your clothes or skin easily but come out hard , and then detach from the cactus and they stick to you). Also the tall wispy branches of ocotillo cactus.
Pretty much every thing out here wants to sting you, bite you or poke you!
View attachment 114131 View attachment 114132

In 1863, German prospector Henry Wickenburg found gold in what would become Arizonas most successful gold mine.
View attachment 114125
The Vulture Mine, so named because of the large flock of ever present turkey vultures in the area.
I have never been in this area but what I don't see dozens of them circling in the sky at any one time. Anything that dies out here doesn't last too long!
There are still a lot of structures left of the old mining operation.
The assay office
View attachment 114126

The chow hall where the miners ate

View attachment 114127

Rita's brothel

View attachment 114128

The hanging tree where 18 men met their fate for stealing gold

View attachment 114138

And of course the gold mine shaft itself. Would you fancy going down that hole?

View attachment 114129

Arizona mountains are dotted with old abandoned mine shafts, some are still uncovered and grown up with vegetation, every once in a while a story pops up about some unfortunate soul falling down a shaft.

The mining operation attracted more than 5000 people to the area and the town of Wickenburg was born.
There was already a population of people here before the miners came. The first inhabitants had been here for hundreds of years, the Yavapai Indians. Living , hunting and farming along the banks of the Hassayampa River, they did not take kindly to intruders and the Indian wars inevitably came. Back East, the sentiment went to the natives. That all changed in 1871 when the Wickenburg massacre occurred.

View attachment 114122

Outside of town, this monument stands on a side road. On this site a band of fifteen Yavapai Warriors attacked and killed six passengers on a stage coach headed for California.

View attachment 114123

One of those killed was a popular young writer from Boston named Frederick Loring.
View attachment 114124
When the news of the massacre reached back East, the tide of sentiment swung away from the Indians and towards the settlers.

The US Calvary was dispatched to round up the Indians and drive them to a reservation. Under the direction of General George Cook, for the next two years the Calvary fought and captured the Yavapais and drove them to Southern Arizona and forced them to live on a reservation right next to their historical enemies the Chiricahua tribe. All of this resulted in an estimated 1000 Yavapai Indians and 400 settlers being killed.
By the way, you won't find a single monument anywhere denoting the massacre of entire Indian villages.

My time here is running short, so I turn and head for home, but I have one last stop to make. I turn South East onto State route 60, headed back towards Phoenix. About 15 miles out of Wickenburg, I arrive at the town of Morristown, just a wide spot in the road. State route 60 parallels the railroad tracks, which are much older than the road. There is an old structure that I have passed a hundred times and never knew what it was.
View attachment 114134
I did some digging. This is what remains of what was once a grand hotel, The Morristown Hotel built in 1899. I was frankly surprised at the age and the history of this hotel. Much of it is missing, there was a balcony all around the upstairs, and there were add ons and other structures around it. American royalty has stayed here.
A little background here. The Arizona territorial governor had a brother named Frank Murphy, a wealthy businessman who owned banks and railroads and mines. He purchased a property deep in the Bradshaw Mountains called Castle Hot Springs, so named for the natural mountain hot spring that is located there.
There had been a small treatment facility located there for tuberculosis patients, but Frank saw this place as a potential resort, and that is exactly what he created. He built a beautiful resort in 1896, with beautiful pools that were supplied with the naturally heated spring.
But it was remote, by any standard. So Frank built the Morristown Hotel, right on the train track, in the middle of no where. The resort was a huge success, drawing such notable families as the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Wrigleys and Zane Grey.
When it first opened people would arrive by train , often in their own private Pullman car, spend the night at the hotel and then the next day take a five hour stagecoach ride to Castle Hot Springs.
View attachment 114135 View attachment 114136 View attachment 114137

In 1943-1944, the resort opened its doors to injured and recovering WW2 veterans. One of the more notable veterans was John F. Kennedy after being injured on PT109.
View attachment 114139

The resort stayed in operation until a major fire in the 70's forced its closure. Note it has been recently purchased and is being renovated with plans to reopen, but the road has never been improved and is still only accessible with a very rugged vehicle.

So with that, I kick start my bike for the last time today and head for home. These little rides have revealed to me so much history. I've said before, I've spent my whole life blowing through these old towns on my way to somewhere else, and never knew the rich history and stories these these old places hold.

Sometimes I think about this old motorcycle and wonder.....who restored who?
Until next time,
Bob
Thanks for the lesson Bob. Always a good day when I learn something new, especially history.
 
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