The Wild Fires of Crown King
The residents of the historic ghost Crown King located in the Bradshaw Mountains near Prescott, have been waiting for news about their homes and if the wild fire destroyed them. Named the Gladiator Fire, the blaze has consumed over 8,000 acres and as of Thursday (May 17th), is only 5% contained. The fire fighters have the elements against them with winds gusting about 45 miles per hour. The fire is spreading fast and furious.
On July 1, 1875, Rod McKinnon discovered the first gold mine claim in the Bradshaw Mountains he called, “Buckeye”. After his claim and over the next 40 years more than 15 mine claims were filed. The mine was named the Crowned King mine and shortened to just Crown King in 1888. The town started growing and during its peak it had about 500 buildings. Some of the structures consisted of several stores, boarding houses, a couple of Chinese restaurants, and a post office. They started to enjoy having electricity in 1897, but only had one telephone. The railroad ran through town but because of failure it was deserted by 1926.
Today, Crown King only has a few of the old buildings standing. The Crown King Restaurant and Saloon was built in another location and brought to the town in 1910 in pieces on the back of mules. It used to serve as a brothel and bar in the town’s heyday. The one room schoolhouse was built in 1917 and is still being used by K-8 students. The post office, established on July 29, 1888, closed its doors on May 15, 1954 and is now the general store.