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Arizona Flag - Legends of the High Desert IconARIZONA LEGENDS

The Ghost Town Trail - Gleeson, Courtland & Pearce

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On a dusty road winding out of Tombstone, Arizona begins the Ghost Town Trail. After traveling some 16 miles along this historic path, you’ll come to the ghost town of Gleeson, Arizona. Situated on the south side of the Dragoon Mountains, Gleeson was first inhabited by Indians who mined the area for its decorative turquoise.

 

When white prospectors began to move into the area, they found copper, lead, and silver in the area and before long a mining camp sprouted up in the hills above where Gleeson stands today. The first camp was called Turquoise when a post office opened in 1890. However, just four short years later, when Jimmie Pearce found gold at the Commonwealth claim in what would become Pearce, the town of Turquoise was abandoned and the post office closed.

 

 

Gleeson, Arizona Sign

Welcome to Gleeson, Arizona. Though the sign  indicates  a population  of 100, but we didn't see a soul. Kathy Weiser,

April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial

 downloads HERE!

 

 

 

Gleeson, Arizona

Then, in 1900, a Pearce miner named John Gleeson began to prospect the Turquoise area again. Finding large deposits of copper, he soon filed several claims and opened the Copper Belle Mine. In no time, more miners flooded the area and new mines with names like Silver Belle, Brother Jonathan, Defiance, and Pejon also sprouted up. The new mining camp which moved down the hill to be closer to water was called Gleeson. On October 15, 1900, the post office opened, supporting a population of about 500 people, almost all of which worked in the mines.

In 1912, a fire raged through Gleeson taking with it some 28 buildings. However, with the mines still producing ore in large volumes, it was quickly rebuilt. John Gleeson sold out in 1914, but the copper production continued to flourish, especially during World War I. After the war was over; however, copper prices began to fall, ore production decreased, and by the 1930's the mines had all shut down. Most of the population moved on but Gleeson’s post office held on until March 31, 1939, when it too, shut its doors and Gleeson became a ghost town.

Today, the old settlement still supports a couple of residents as well as numerous ruins, including a hospital, a saloon, dry good store, several houses, a jail, numerous mining remnants, and the large foundation of what was once a large school. The Gleeson cemetery is just west of the town on the road to Tombstone.

Gleeson, Arizona  Saloon

Joe Bond's Gleeson Saloon, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial  downloads HERE!

 

 

 

Continue your trek through Gleeson on Gleeson Road. Just a mile or so beyond the town, you will come to Ghost Town Trail Road, where you will turn north to continue to Courtland and Pearce. All along the dusty road, are remnants of the area's more prosperous past. Courtland is just about 3.5 miles down the road.

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

A crumbling house in Gleeson, Arizona

A crumbling house in Gleeson, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial  downloads HERE!

 

 

 

Gleeson, Arizona Hospital today

Gleeson's old hospital today, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial  downloads HERE!

 

 

The ruins of Gleeson, Arizona School

The ruins of Gleeson School, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial  downloads HERE!

 

 

 

Gleeson, Arizona Old Jail

Gleeson Jail, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial  downloads HERE!

 

Unidentified building in Gleeson, Arizona

Unidentified building in Gleeson, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints & commercial  downloads HERE!

 

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