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Showing posts from April, 2012

Squandered Wealth

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Another snipit from my book, "Dead and Buried in the Southwest Desert".

"What goes up, must come down. While each mining town enjoyed the wealth and growth which brought many businesses and families, they all eventually were brought down by greed, outlaws, bandits, Indians, murder, natural disasters, and the harsh elements which the southwest deserts brought. These once booming mining towns are now virtual ghost towns from fires, floods, and dried up mines. Today, you will find a few residence still living in these places. The towns are surviving from the many tourists who are interested in the history, want a wild west experience, or to check out the rumors of the many ghosts that still seem to live in these small desert settlements."

Oatman: The Massacre, Town and Haunted Hotel

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In 1851, the Oatman family embarked on a long journey to California to find a better life.  When they entered the Arizona Territory, the Oatmans and other members of their party met with all kinds of difficulties.  After their supplies were about exhausted, some in the group decided to stay in Tucson, but the Oatmans and a couple other families decided to push on. 

Here is a link to a post I did about the massacre. 
In the late 1800’s, in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona, and near where the current town of Oatman is located, Olive Oatman was rescued from the Mohave Indians who acquired her in a trade from the Apache.  In honor or this brave girl, the town was named after her.  The town started as a small mining camp with a few tents scattered about.  In 1915, two miners struck it rich with a gold vein worth around 10 million dollars.  Within a year, the word got out and Oatman’s population hit over 3,500 people.
In 1921, the town met with disaster and most of the town’s…

Old Tucson Studios

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Initially built in 1938, Old Tucson Studios is located west of Tucson, Arizona and built as a movie studio/theme park.  The studio was modeled after 1860’s Tucson for a movie titled, Arizona.  In 40 days they managed to construct 50 buildings for the movie.  Countless movies and television shows, such as Little House on the Prairie and High Chaparral (1967-1971) were filmed on site in the dusty desert studio.  In 1960, the studio was accessible to everyone and presented the crowds with historical tours, Wild West shootouts and amazing stunt shows.  
There was a bit of a gap between the movies “Arizona” being filmed in the studio before others would follow.  From 1945 until the mid 1990’s, Old Tucson Studios was cranking out many movies and had famous actors such as John Wayne gracing the dirty streets.  Wayne starred in at least four movies made there; Rio Bravo, McLintock, El Dorado, and Rio Lobo.  Many structures were added to accommodate these movies.  By 1968, a large soundstage wa…

Hell for Gold

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Here is a little snip-it from my book, "Dead and Buried in the Southwest Desert".


What would bring families and individuals to the southwest desert? The dry climate and unforgiving terrain certainly wouldn’t be the attraction for any human in their right mind. It was the minerals found in the dry soil such as gold, silver, and copper that drew the money hungry opportunist. It was the greed or hopes for a better life which lured the many folks to the barren desert to seek out their fortune. The threats of Indian attacks, overbearing heat, and the lack of water didn’t discourage these determine individuals. Near each successful mine a town grew bustling with businessmen, families, soil doves, lawmen, and of course, the outlaws. Not all these towns were safe, especially during their heyday. Each town and some individuals enjoyed the wealth that the mines brought them.

Buffalo Bill Cody

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He gained fame for his Wild West shows and was also an American soldier as well as a buffalo hunter.  He was born William Frederick Cody on February 26, 1846 in Iowa Territory.  As a youngster, his family moved from Iowa to Canada, and then to Kansas in 1853.  At the tender age of eleven, he worked as an ox-team driver, and by 14 he was a pony express rider.  Later, in 1867, Cody succeeded in becoming a buffalo hunter where he was given the moniker of “Buffalo Bill”.  It is told that he sought after and killed over 4,000 buffalo.  Cody also served in the U.S. Army as a scout and earned the Medal of Honor for his service.  He was an important figure in the U.S. expansion west and waged war in 16 battles against Native Americans.

Buffalo Bill Cody saw how interested people were in live shows with a Wild West theme.  He planned the cowboy shows and even employed talent such as Annie Oakley.  He took these shows to Europe, Great Britain, and all over the United States.   The shows became…

Slide Rock

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When I was little, my family would take a vacation to Fort Tuthill, a place where military families could rent a cabin or trailer.  Fort Tuthill is located between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona.  We would usually stay a week and take a day trip to the Grand Canyon and/or Slide Rock. We would pile in the car and take the drive down the winding two lane road to the bottom of the canyon.  Back then, we parked along the road and hiked down a thin path to get to the creek.  Today, there is a parking lot where you have to pay, and the path is much wider.  My brother and I would put on at least three pairs of pants with our swimsuits underneath.  We learned that after descending down the smooth rock slide for several hours, it would wear a hole in our bottoms.  The water was ice cold at first and it wasn’t long until you got used to it.  Right after you slid down the slide, you immediately tried to get out.  The rocks along the edges in the water were very smooth which made getting out a ch…

Bisbee: The Inn at Castle Rock

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Located in downtown Old Bisbee and at the foot of Castle Rock sits the historic hotel, The Inn.  The Inn at Castle Rock was built in 1895 is a gorgeous place to spend a night or two in Bisbee and the location of the historic Apache Springs Well.  Bisbee’s rich and fascinating history started at the foot of Castle Rock, the pass to Tombstone Canyon.
In May of 1877, Lt. John A. Rucker, some men from the Sixth Cavalry, and Jack Dunn, a civilian tracker were told of a special spring well by the Apache Indians.  While enjoying the tasty water from the well, they saw a dim green color on the rocks along the hillside.  They knew this was a sign that lead, copper and even silver could be in the area.  They had to wait three month to file any claims because of their responsibilities to the military life.
The Muirhead House was built over the spring and named after Bisbee’s first mayor, John Joseph Muirhead.  It was the largest wood structure in Bisbee and used as a boarding house for miners. …

Tombstone: Marshal Fred White

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He was born Frederick G. White sometime around the year 1849.  Many just called him Fred and he would go down in history as the first “town marshal” of Tombstone when Arizona was a territory and the town was just new.  It was on January 6, 1880 when White was elected when Tombstone only had around 1,000 residents.  He died from an accidental shooting while in office when he was only in his early 30’s.  After his death, Virgil Earp took over as marshal of Tombstone.  Some people say that the spirit of Fred White can be seen lingering around the street where he was shot.
In movies, White was seen as an old gentleman, with a not so pleasant disposition and not conforming to the standards of what a lawman should be.  Many would say he was well liked and had the respect of not only the Earps, but the Cowboys as well.  It was told he had their cooperation when having to arrest any members of the Cowboys.  You would think that with “Curly” Bill Brocius nasty behavior they would be mortal ene…

Winter at the Grand Canyon

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Canyon de Chelly

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On April 1, 1931, Canyon de Chelly National Monument was recognized as part of the National Park Service.  The lengthy uninterrupted terrain is found in the northeastern part of Arizona, inside the border of the Navajo Nation.  The more than 83,000 acres includes floors and rims of three major canyons, maintained ruins of early native tribes, and amazing rock formations.  
The steep walls of Canyon de Chelly were carved by the ever changing harsh weather of the desert.  For many centuries, Canyon de Chelly provided a home for the Navajo populace.  With its rich soil, many streams, plants, and animals who roamed the lands, the families who lived there felt safe from the world around them.  In 1806, Lt. Antonio Narbona’s military attacked the unsuspecting Navajo people and lead to their defeat.   The Navajos were escorted to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico.  Today, Navajo families make their homes, raise livestock, and farm the lands in the canyon.
Although Canyon de Chelly park responsibil…

The Apache Kid

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Sometime in the 1860’s, Haskay-bay-nay-ntayl was born on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona.  After being kidnapped as a young boy, he wound up in Globe doing odd jobs while learning English.  His name was hard for many to pronounce, so it was shortened to simply, the Kid.  Under this name, he would be known as a White Mountain Indian scout, a renegade, and the most violent Apache next to Geronimo.  While he was a teen and still living in Globe, he was taken care of by Al Sieber, the Chief of the Army Scouts.
In 1881, en enlisted in the US Cavalry as a scout and was able to find the trails the Apache hunters used the most.  Because of his extraordinary talents, he was promoted to sergeant in July of 1882.  In 1885, while in Huasabas, Mexico, he escaped being hung while involved in a drunkin’ brawl.  He was fined twenty-five dollars, and sent back to San Carlos.  This seemed to be the beginning of his troubles.  In May of 1887, he was left in charge of the scouts when…

You Just Never Know.....

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.....what you will see on the road.  Here is some of our interesting finds: