The ghost town of Gold Road stands in a canyon just beyond Sitgreaves Pass when traveling westbound Route 66. From Gold Road, one has a sweeping view of California to the southwest, and the gambling Mecca of Laughlin, Nevada to the west.
Prior to the town’s beginning, a man named John Moss discovered traces of gold in the area during the early 1860s, but when silver was found in abundance in the Cerbat Mountains, Moss abandoned his diggings and headed north to the Chloride area.
However, that didn’t stop prospectors from crawling all over the mountains and in 1900 a miner by the name of Jose Jerez hit “pay-dirt.” Grubstaked in the amount of $16.00 by the store owner, Henry Lovin of Kingman, Jose was searching for his lost burro when he literally stumbled over a rich ledge of gold-bearing quartz.
Knowing the glittering quartz contained his beloved yellow metal, he packed it up and took it to an assay office. He was ecstatic when he found it assayed at 40 ounces to the ton. Immediately, he contacted his partner, Henry, and the two wasted no time returning to the site to start digging. Within just a few months, they dug a 15-foot shaft. Their frenzied activity soon attracted the attention of a California group who bought their claim for $50,000 in 1901.
The California group soon sold their rights to another group of investors for $275,000, who brought in the necessary equipment and built a mill to operate a large mine. Soon 180 miners were bringing up hundreds of thousands of dollars in ore.
Around the mine, a settlement sprang up with a number of new businesses. The post office was established on April 15, 1902. Henry Lovin used his money to open a new store in Gold Road, a successful freighting company, and the Gold Road Club. Unfortunately, one of Lovin’s regular customers at the club was his former partner, Jose Jerez. Drinking away most of his share of the money for the claim, Jose soon ended his life by swallowing Rat-Be-Gone poison.
The Gold Road Mine peaked during 1905 and 1906, but the following year the rich veins began to give out and the mine closed. It was estimated that more than two million dollars in ore was taken from the mine during its short duration. However, the immediate area surrounding Gold Road continued to be a haven for other miners until 1931. In total, the district took in over seven million dollars worth of gold over this period.
Still, the town hung on, as the post office wasn’t discontinued until October 15, 1942. However, just a few years later, in 1949, the entire town was razed in order to save taxes, preventing later visitors from ever seeing the once popular businesses that thrived in this gold mining boomtown.
Seemingly, Gold Road was completely dead until a company called Addwest Minerals acquired the Gold Road Mine in 1992. After three years of development work, the mine began producing gold again. Hard-rock miners worked three shifts a day until 1998 when the bottom dropped out of the gold market again.
Shut down once more, the mine sat waiting for the day when it would once again be profitable. In the meantime, the mine operated gold mine tours. In 2007, that profitable point returned as gold prices once again soared. The mine tours were closed as mining operations began again.
Though the town was razed and visitors can no longer enter the area around the mine, there are visible remains that can still be seen. Often blending with the surrounding terrain, slowing down for a moment can provide you a peek at old water tanks, cement stairs, rock retaining walls and roofless buildings. A search of the nearby hills displays a number of old mining shafts.