Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Place Over Time: The Trailer

Sharon and I went back to the trailer park (featured in our Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories, Desert Edition book).  I have been to this places at least four, maybe five, times to get photos of the changes.  The lone trailer has finally collapsed from the rotting dry wood and the strong desert winds.  I will show you what that place looked like through the many times I was there.

August 2010
The front and side of the main trailer.
Notice white trailer in the background.
It was gone on our next trip.
July 2012
March 2013
September 2013

August 2010
The back of the main trailer.
July 2012
March 2013
September 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Symbols on Painted Rocks

The etchings found on many boulders throughout the southwest are known as Petroglyphs.  These ancient drawings are carved by primordial man and tell stories of life many centuries ago.  Perhaps the engravings on the rocks are some form of communication or maps for the ancient people to follow.  Studying the symbolic pictures might give us a better understanding of how the pre-Columbian civilizations may have once lived and how they mysteriously disappeared.  I will share some of the photos I took of these etchings.

South Mountain Park, AZ

The Painted Rock Petroglyph Site, AZ

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

UFO's, Ghosts and Lost Mines of the Mountains

One of the most famous mountain ridges in Arizona is the Superstition Mountains.  If you travel about 35 miles southeast of Phoenix in Apache Junction, you will be at the base of the gorgeous mountain range.  The Superstition Mountains have lots of stories, especially the ones involving ghosts and UFO sightings and a lost mysterious gold mine.  This puzzling vein of minerals is known as the Lost Dutchman Mine and has attracted many gold seekers for generations to try and find it.  For many, the thrill of locating the gold and getting rich has met with a tragic end to their lives.  People have reported seeing ghosts in various places on the mountains especially in locales around where the mine is claimed to be hidden.  Perhaps these are the spirits of those who set out looking for the gold, but never made it out of the mountains

There are many things to keep you busy when you visit the Superstition Mountains.  If you want to get a bit of history on the place, check out the museum and historic buildings around the grounds.  A dirt path will take you to the Elvis Memorial Chapel, Apacheland Barn, Twenty Stamp Mill, Gallows and finally the Windmill.  Several movies were made in some of the locations on the grounds.

A short distance from the museum sits the Goldfield Ghost Town and is known as “the valley’s only authentic ghost town”.  You can ride the rails on the Narrow Gauge Train around the town and through the desert.  The Goldfield Mine offers a gold panning experience and lets you keep what you find.  With over 20 shops, exhibits, and eating establishments such as a saloon, this old west ghost town is a fun place to visit.

If you want to relax on the water, Canyon Lake is tucked inside the mountains and a beautiful place to visit.  You can rent a boat for fishing, skiing, or just relaxing.  There are hotels nearby where you can take in the beauty of the lake from your room.  It is a wonderful place for those who love to photograph stunning scenery.  There are several places along the lake for camping and having a picnic.

Some people like to park their vehicles and one of the many recreation spots throughout the mountains and look for UFO’s.  So many people have reported seeing something strange in the skies over the Superstition Mountains which they could not explain.  Weird lights and objects have been seen by all types of witnesses.  Lots of folks say that the mountains have some sort of mythical powers which draw in the beings from other planets.  I’m not sure, but I know these mountains have some sort of energy that I felt when I visited the area.

There are several places to eat in and around the mountain range.  The Mining Camp Restaurant opened its doors in 1961 and offers you a tasty old west mining meal.  You are seated at a picnic-like table with tine mine-camp plates, silverware and tin cups in front of you.  You start with rolls, beans, coleslaw and then the main course follows.  During the meal, you are treated to the country western sounds of the McNasty Brothers.  So, as you can see, there are lots to do when you visit the mysterious Superstition Mountains.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What's Found in Casa Grande

When thinking of a town to visit in Arizona, Casa Grande will probably not be the first place you will think of.  I have personally been to this town several times and always found something interesting to see.  Casa Grande has Native American ruins, historic downtown, along with many places to eat, shop and spend the night in.  If you are into urban exploring, this town is loaded with places to photograph.


Just on the outskirts of southern Casa Grande you will find an unusual site known as The Domes.  The odd shaped structures resemble either a flying saucer or a giant caterpillar.  You get a feeling that you have just entered an episode of the Twilight Zone.  What are the Domes and why were they built in this desolate location?

In July of 1982, Patricia Zebb, owner of InnerConn Technology Inc. was looking to move her operations from California to an out-of-the-way location near Casa Grande.  To survive the Arizona desert, the Domes was constructed of Thermoshell materials in a dome shape.  This was not only cost efficient but provided the perfect insulation from the hot Arizona weather.  The walls and ceilings were constructed by pouring three inches of polyurethane, and then three inches of concrete against a balloon held by a steel skeleton.  But because InnerConn defaulted on a loan, the place never produce any items and was closed down in 1983.  It was purchased in 2006, but remains empty until this day.

Since its closure in 1983, the Domes have endured the harsh weather, various critters, and humans playing havoc on the ever crumbling walls and ceilings.  Inside the walls are covered with graffiti and trash is thrown everywhere from parties thrown by the youth in the area.  Each time I have seen the place, more of the structures’ ceilings are lying on the ground.  The Domes are slowly disintegrating.  Also, the place has its fair share of ghost sightings as well.  People have see shadow figures, unseen footsteps, and whispering.  Sharon and I have hopped the wire fence to get up close and personal with the Domes, but that is discouraged by the owner.  He is now offering the Domes for rent either for a day, a night, or both.


Near Interstate 10 in Casa Grande sit an abandoned house and barn.  The locals and others call this place the Slaughterhouse because the man who owned the place slaughtered beef there.  Of course, like many places, rumors of other seedy activities went on there as well.  The walls on most of the house are covered with graffiti and the ceiling is missing on a majority of the structure.  Inside, you wander through the rooms where a fireplace sits in what was once the living room, and a dirt covered tub is all that is left of one of the bathrooms.  The only rooms with a ceiling were not accessible because a bunch of bees decided to make the place there home.  The barn next to the house is in just as deplorable shape with a missing roof in one section while the existing roof was warped and nearly falling in another.  Inside one of the tiny barn rooms was a mummified puppy.  I don’t want to know what happened to that poor thing.

We have tried to visit the Slaughterhouse and barn a few times after our first visit but a squatter has made the place his home along with his not-so-friendly dogs.  We decided not to upset them and passed on seeing the place.


The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is actually located in Coolidge which is near Casa Grande.  The well preserved Hohokam ruins are several partial structures with small room in each one and surround a massive four story Great House.  The walls are a mixture of a concrete-like combination of sand, clay, and calcium carbonate or limestone.  The base of each wall is four feet thick and taper to a thinner thickness towards the top.  The ceiling consists of hundreds of trees which were found 60 miles away and floated down the Gila River to the site.

When you visit the monument today, you will first enter through the Visitor Center, and wander through the museum.  Inside, you are treated to artifacts and photos of the site in earlier times.  Through the door lie the grandiose Great House and the other places where the Hohokam people once lived.  While walking around, Native American flutes are resonating throughout the place.  Above the Great House is a large metal structure protecting it from the inhospitable Arizona elements.  Another path will take you to where the ball court once existed.  This dirt pit formerly served as a recreation area.  This century old ruin is worth taking time to visit.


Casa Grande has many abandoned places all around town.  There are abundant amount of empty homes, motels, and businesses.  The downtown area of the town has historic buildings, and for the most part, they sit empty.   I would say, Casa Grande is an urban explorer’s dream place to wander around and photograph.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Haunted Schoolhouse

Globe, Arizona, has many places around town for visitors to check out.  The historic district has old buildings with businesses, places to quench your thirst, and to grab a bite to eat.  It has antique and other unusual shops and even abandoned buildings for the urban explorer to photograph.  The Old Globe jail and courthouse are a couple of historic places to take a tour of.  Not far from downtown are the Besh-Ba-Gowah ruins and mines.  Sitting above the town on a hill is the Noftsger Inn.  This Bed & Breakfast is the perfect place to stay while you are passing some time in Globe.

The building started out as the Noftsger Hill Elementary school and was built in 1907.  The Old Dominion Mine is nearby with a view of the valley from the front of the inn.  Even while the children were roaming the halls and sitting in the classrooms, claims of paranormal activity was reported.  A mysterious lantern light was seen shining through the windows when no one was inside.  The children noticed their books were moved and not in the same place they left them the night before.  Also, children’s voices could be heard in the halls and rooms when no children were present in the building.

The school was closed in 1981 with the ghost stories being reported more and more by witnesses.  There was a rumor of teachers buried in the basement leaving many to speculate the place is haunted.  While the place stood empty, a woman living nearby said she kept hearing a telephone ringing from inside the building.
Today, the Noftsger stands as a six room Inn with more rooms being renovated.  Sharon and I stayed at the Noftsger a couple of times and we did have interesting experiences.  During our stay in room 3, we experienced hearing a little girl, unexplained noises, weird EMF readings, strange EVPs, and a Barbie doll sitting on the chalk board moving its position.  I am hoping to be a part of a ghost investigation at the Noftsger in November.  We will have the whole place to ourselves and spend the entire time investigating every nook and cranny.  I am hoping to have some fascinating stuff to tell you afterwards.

The back of the Noftsger and main entrance.

An old bus sits behind the inn as a reminder of when it was a school.

The sign which is next to the entrance.

The dining area.  Breakfast is included in the price of the room.

Old desks, chairs and other items decorate the inside of the inn.

This corner inside room 3 is the most active.

The large windows of the room facing towards the front of the building.

The room is the size of one classroom and has two queen beds, one twin bed,
antique furniture, fireplace, and a table in the middle of the room.

The Noftsger Inn lobby.

Stairs leading up to the second floor.

This is the position we left Barbie in before we left to investigate the
Old Globe jail.  When we got back, she was lying on her back
with her feet up in the air.....creepy!