The Gila Furniture store in Hayden, AZ is located next door to the Hayden police department. On the day Sharon and I visited this small smelter town, it appeared to be either closed or abandoned. The entire street was a bit quiet that day.
Down the street and across from the Hayden police station is the shop on the corner. The bottom level is a wall of windows where the store's item were once displayed. Above the large windows are smaller ones which opened to let in the warm air and are also framed in wood. Around the corner and in front are the wooden double doors, the entrance to the shop. A couple of window panes over is a single wood door probably an entrance to another shop or perhaps a restaurant. Next to the shop on the street level is what appears to have been office space. All you can see among the rubble is a metal desk. The second story above the shop is constructed of brick. A few windows can be seen, some broken and some boarded up. Now, the shop sits empty on a quiet street in Hayden, AZ, a shell of what it once was.
This is how we saw downtown Hayden, AZ on our trip to Winkelman. As you can see by the pictures, it looked almost abandoned except for the police station on the corner. We found the town to be a great place for urban exploring.
Along AZ Highway 177 and hidden in the mountains of Pinal and Gila counties, sits the mining/smelter town of Hayden. The town was founded in 1909 and part of the Ray Consolidated Copper Company. Like the other towns in the area, it started out as a company community. The people worked for the ASARCO smelter which was located in town and known as the Hayden Smelter. It has the tallest free-standing chimney which stands about 1,000 feet tall. Many of its earlier residents consisted of Mexican workers who traveled to the area to build the smelter along with a variety of other ethnicity. It was finally finished in 1912 and the smelter began processing the ore which came from the Ray copper mines. Fights among the groups, strikes against management, and many of the workers falling ill due to toxins in the air, made the working environment hard to deal with. In 1933, Kennecott Copper bought the mine and the community of Hayden. In 1958, they opened a second smelter in Hayden, but it was shut down in the 1980's. In 2011, the EPA took action against the smelter for releasing "illegal amounts of lead, arsenic and eight other dangerous compounds. Today, around 800 people still live in Hayden, but it was obvious to us that the economy hit this town hard. We saw many abandoned places around town.