Just outside of Phoenix to the east is a historical goldmine. It is where the legend of the “Lost Dutchman” originated and belief that the beautiful red rock mountain is still rich with gold, but haunted! Goldfield is the best Ghost Town I have ever visited. My kids had spring break and I wanted to take them on a day trip. I found a coupon on Groupon for the zip-line that towers above the little mining town, packed up the car and headed off on our adventure. My kids both knew of the “Lost Dutch Man” , but did not make the connection until we arrived.
Back in the late 1800’s Goldfield was a booming mining town with one of the most profitable mines in the country. A gentleman from Germany (Deutschland) would often travel to the town and spend a lot of money. Some of the locals started to wonder where this man was getting all of his money. He told them he struck it rich up on the mountains. He knew that everyone believed the mountains were haunted and no one would venture up into them and if they did they would not find gold because the mine he struck it rich with was in the exact opposite direction found about 100 years later after the town had long been abandoned. The legend and myth lived on and there are still some that believe it. Books have been written about it. My kids have learned about it in school. It should be noted that though the gentleman was German he was known for “Lost Dutch Man”. My theory is that when He told the locals he was from Germany he used his native tongue “Deautschland” which sounds like “Dutch” hence it has been known as the “Lost Dutch Man”. Ironically, few have made that connection.
The first stop when arriving to Goldfield is the train station.
At the train station there is a restroom and an opportunity to buy a pack of tickets for the tours in the town. I highly recommend making that purchase. The tour guides are knowledgeable and entertaining. The train is the ideal first thing to do in town. It gives you a nice history of the location as well as information on Superstition Mountain.
After the 20 minute train ride we headed to the center of town.
We took a tour of the goldmine.
We learned about why the mine is no longer in use even though there is over 1 million dollars worth of gold in it and how the miners worked and lived 100 years ago. One of the stories that I found most interesting was about the Sears catalog. One of the jobs in the mine was called the “Honey Dipper”. This person was responsible for attending to medical needs of the miners as well as providing a potty when the men needed to relieve themselves. Instead of toilet paper (that was costly) he gave the miners torn out sheets from Sears catalogs to wipe their bums. Sears sent out catalogs in hopes the ladies of the houses (or in this case the tents) would get them and buy. Once Sears realized their catalogs were being used as toilet paper they changed the paper to glossy and the miners no longer used them.
The last tour was the Mystery Shack. This shack is truly fascinating! An earthquake hit and ever since, this one house has never been the same.
The gravitational pull is exactly opposite as it should be. We spent about 20 minutes exploring this phenomenon.
After the tours in which we learned a wealth of information about the town we knew it was time to walk around and see Goldfield. Our first stop was the church.
We made our way over the the saloon for lunch in which the waitresses were dressed up like saloon girls and cowboy boots hung from the rafters.
The charm of this little place could be found in the quirky old things around town – like a type writer sitting out in the center of a dirt road.
Or the old run town tractor that lived a full life.
The ladder in the front of a building that seemed to lead to nowhere.
I can’t forget about the epic skeleton in front of the town store.
Of course every little town has cute little stores and Goldfield had some of the sweetest! Each store was full of local product or craft.
One of the most unique things was the plaques made out of hand made molds from a local artist and mud. They were displayed on an old stage coach.
Once we had gotten our shopping done it was time for a coffee or tea break. Now, if you have read any of my articles on travel you know that I don’t consider it a day until I find the local coffee house! There is just something about a local shop that makes my heart swoon and Goldfield certainly lived up to that expectation. We had a chi tea latte, iced americano and a prickly pear lemonade. All of them were delicious (there were three of us), but the best was the prickly pear lemonade. Of course the outside of the shop was darling with an old oven that reminded me of the one in my great grandma’s kitchen.
There is so much to do in Goldfield and Superstition Mountains. A lot of people like to hike the mountain with trails varying from skill level to choose from. This was the highlight of the kids’ spring break!
Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!