Sunday, September 24, 2017
I actually never heard of this town until recently. When Sharon and I went to Bumble Bee, we drove a few more miles to Cleator to check it out. It was definitely bigger than Bumble Bee, but small non-the-less.
Cleator sits on about 40 acres and is privately owned by the Cleator family. It sits inside the Bradshaw Mountains, between Bumble Bee and Crown King, off Interstate 17. It started in 1864 as a gold mining locale known as the Turkey Creek Mining District. In July of 1869 a post office opened but closed its doors three months later. In 1925 it was purchased by James P. Cleator and he reopened the post office. He renamed the town and post office in honor of his family name, Cleator. On July 15, 1954 the post office closed for good.
In the 1920's, many of Cleator's residents left because the mines were drying up. By April of 1949, James descided to sale the town which was down to 60 people living there. His son, Thomas, purchased the town from his Dad and lived there until he died in 1996. The bar next to the general store was ran by him until he passed away and then his sister, Eleanor and her son inherited everything.
Today, the tiny bar is still open and a great place for visitors to stop and grab a cold drink. The store was closed when we were there and a handful of houses still remained with residents still living in them. Many people love to drive their ATV's along the dirt road from Bumble Bee to Crown King, stopping in Cleator for a break and cold beverage.