There is Gold in Them There Hills
Being part of the Wild West, Arizona has an interesting history. One of the reasons many settled in the hot desert was the hope of finding a huge treasure hidden away in the mountains surrounding the land. Many have heard of the illustrious Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine concealed somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. Countless people have tried to find it only to meet an untimely death. I bet you didn’t know that there are other places around the state where treasure can be found. These are not as recognized and could be lurking around your neighborhood waiting to be found.
1. Roy Gardner was infamous train robber in the early 1900s. He eluded the authorities for many years and was eventually apprehended in 1920. They had trouble keeping him locked up because he bolted several times but kept getting caught. He teased them on the location of his stash and where it was hidden. He sent them all over the place and then said that he may have forgotten where it was at. Many treasure seekers believe this loot is buried in close proximity of the extinct volcanoes in Flagstaff. They value his money at $16,000 which is about $250,000 in today’s market.
2. Approximately 20 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border sits the Cerro Colorado Mountains. The mine emitted a great portion of silver but some gold; lead and copper were discovered there as well. On many occasions, the mine was robbed and about $70,000 of precious metals was taken. It is said that the metal bars were buried somewhere in the Cerro Chiquito Mountain which is nearby the mine.
3. Rumor has it that a silver mine might be hidden from view near the historic site of Tumacacori Mission. They say that it could have been there since the 18th century when the Spainish arrived in the Arizona Territory. They constructed missions and had the native people mine for natural resources. The Opata Mine was close to Tumacacori Mission and after years of excavating the quarry, it was sealed off. Looks like I will have to bring my metal detector the next time I visit Tomacacori Mission.
4. In the 1890s, Bronco Bill spent his days pilfering loot from trains and stagecoaches. His favorite raids were on the Wells Fargo cargoes for which he and his posse took an unidentified amount of cash. The buzz is that they buried the money in the tiny town of Solomon which is only a few miles east of Safford. Is this true or not? Apparently when Bill was freed from jail in 1917, he did not go back to Solomon to get his treasure leading many to believe that the rumors were not true.
5. Looks like Kingman might have a treasure of gold coins buried nearby. It was in 1873 when a couple of men robbed the Canyon Station safe which affluent amount of gold coins inside. The coins were supposed to be sent to Fort Mohave, but never arrived. The burdensome box was not easy to lift, so the thieves had to hide it near the station. They had plans to return and retrieve the cash, but each of them met with an untimely death. The Canyon Station sits at the bottom of the Cerbat Mountains and many believe the money is still hidden there.
6. Fact or Fake is what some wonder about this next story. The Estrella Mountains are a bed of activity for ghosts and especially UFOs. Many sightings of unusual and unexplainable lights have been seen hovering over the mountains. Here’s the treasure story: in the 1840s, Don Joaquin managed a mining procedure looking for gold in the Estrella Mountains. He claimed to remove about 3,000 pounds of gold and had to hide it in a container in a ravine close to the mine. He was afraid that the U.S. Army might find it. As he and his men headed to Mexico, his gang killed him possibly for the money for which they never went back for. Some say that this story is a farce and created by the writer John D. Mitchell. Others believe it is true.
Whether these stories are true or not, it might be a fun hobby to grab your metal detectors, gold panning equipment, and head out to the hills to see if you can find a treasure. Make sure you watch out for those desert critters.