Another four miles south, just beyond the junction of FR 49 and Duquesne Road is the old site of Washington Camp, once the largest community south of Patagonia. Serving as a supply community for the mining towns of Duquesne, Mowry and Harshaw, prospecting occurred here only briefly in the early 1860’s, but was quickly abandoned due to numerous Apache attacks. However, in 1890, when the Duquesne Mining and Reduction Company began operations, the town of Duquesne was born, as well as nearby Washington Camp, which housed the reduction plant, miners’ bunkhouses, a general store and a school. The town grew to some 1,000 residents.
Today, a couple of old mining buildings, shafts, and tailings can still be seen.
Just another half mile on down the road (which is now FR 61), the ghost town enthusiast will be rewarded with many more remains in the old mining camp of Duquesne (pronounced doo-kane). So close to Washington Camp, one wonders why they ever even called separate “towns.” To reach the main buildings, take FR 128, a rough road that branches to the right from FR 61 and eventually circles back.
When the Duquesne Mining and Reduction Company began operations here in the late 1880’s, they laid out the city, where the company official’s residences and mining offices would be located. A post office began on May 13, 1880. Duquesne grew to include 1,000 residents and several businesses.
This old town features numerous old homes, as well as the mining company headquarters, and foundations. According to the locals, tourists are not really welcome here, in fact, this is where we got stopped by the Border Patrol. The area is heavily posted with no trespassing signs. However, the road is a public forest road and most remains can be photographed from the road.
Continuing on, road will circle back around until it returns to FR 61. Another four miles south is a monument to Fray Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan friar, and first European to enter the United States west of the Rockies.
Just southeast of the monument is Lochiel.
This old town was first called Luttrell, named for Dr. J.M. Luttrell, who ran a boarding house and owned the Holland Company Smelting Works. The first post office, opened with the name Luttrell in 1880. For reasons unknown, another post office opened in 1882, called La Noria, just a mile away from the first post office. A year later, they both closed. However, another opened in 1884, with the town’s “final” name of Lochiel. Named for two brothers for the ancestral home in Scotland, this time, the name stuck. The mining community grew to include two smelters, three saloons, five stores, a boarding house, several businesses, and a population of about 400. Though the miners profited, the ranchers were at risk during the early days, as none other than Pancho Villa would often come across the border to steal cattle, before escaping back to Mexico.
But, like most mining towns, its life was short and its post office closed forever on September 30, 1911. However, there was still life in Lochiel and in 1918; a one-room schoolhouse was built as well as a teacherage that still stands today. In fact, in the 1980’s the town wanted to re-open the school and had several applications from teachers interested in the challenge of one-room school house. Unfortunately, there were no students to attend. During this same decade the customs station, serving border crossings was also closed for budgetary reasons.
This old community, nestled in the corner of the San Rafael Valley and surrounded by cottonwoods is an oasis in the desert, so much so that a number of Hollywood films have been made here including Monte Walsh, Oklahoma!, and Tom Horn.
The town is also privately owned and fenced off , but several buildings including the church, the old U.S. Customs Station, the one-room school house and teacherage can all be seen from the road.