Situated atop a small hill between the Superstition and Goldfield Mountains, the settlement of Goldfield got its start in 1892 when low-grade gold ore was found in the area. Low-grade or not, a town soon sprang up, and on October 7, 1893, it received its first official post office.
This “official” find, coupled with the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine, which had been circulating for years, led plenty of new miners to the area. The town boasted three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school in no time. For five years, the town boomed until some 4,000 souls were residing in the burgeoning city.
But, like other gold camps, Goldfield’s bustling days were quickly dashed when the vein of gold ore started to play out, and the grade of the ore dropped even more. Just five years after it began, the town found itself quickly dying. The miners moved on, the post office was discontinued on November 2, 1898, and Goldfield became a ghost town.
However, some prospectors clung to the area, sure to find the elusive Lost Dutchman Mine or perhaps, a brand new vein. Others tried to reopen the existing mines, but all attempts were unsuccessful until George Young, the secretary of Arizona and the acting governor, arrived on the scene in the first decade of the 20th century.
Young brought in new mining methods and equipment to recover the ore, and the town began slowly come alive once more. Also built were a mill and a cyanide plant. A second post office was established on June 8, 1921, and the “new” town was called Youngsberg. However, the town’s “rebirth” would last only about as long as it did the first time – just five years. Finally, the gold was gone, the post office was discontinued on October 30, 1926, and the town died for a second time.
But, Goldfield was not destined to die permanently. In 1966, Robert F. “Bob” Schoose, a long-time ghost town, mining, and treasure-hunting enthusiast, made his first trip to the Superstition Mountains and instantly fell in love with the area. He moved to Mesa, Arizona, in 1970 and soon began to dream of owning his own ghost town. He had heard of the old site of Goldfield, but upon inspection, found little left other than a few foundations and rambling shacks. He and his wife, Lou Ann, then located another five-acre site that was once the location of the Goldfield Mill and decided to rebuild the old town. Purchasing the old mill site in 1984, they first reconstructed a mining tunnel, including a snack bar, and opened for business in 1988. Next came a photo shop, the Blue Nugget, a General Store, the Mammoth Saloon, and the Goldfield Museum.
Today, Goldfield is filled with authentic-looking buildings, includes underground mine tours, and is the only narrow-gauge railroad in operation in Arizona. Numerous shops and buildings include a brothel, bakery, leather works, a jail, livery, and more. The authentic-looking street is filled with people in period costumes, horses and wagons, and sometimes authentic gunfighter presentations.
Goldfield is located off Mammoth Mine Road, just north of Apache Junction, Arizona.
Goldfield Ghost Town
3710 S Goldfield Rd
Apache Junction, Arizona 85219
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