Arizona could be considered the ghost town capital of the country. It has more than 275 abandoned settlements of American origin. So many of these places were boomtowns of Arizona’s Wild West heritage. They still exist, but slowly giving way to various stages decay, year by year.
Southeast of Tucson near the Mexican border is the postcard-perfect town of Bisbee. The weather adds to its beauty making it a perfect tourist location with its historic architecture and thriving cultural scene. However, Bisbee was not always so quaint and tranquil. You can watch a video on Youtube if you would like more information, history, etc.
Located just north of Bisbee, Tombstone has a similar origin. Many think of western towns as gunfights and what comes to mind is the old western movies. The ones John Wayne was in. Tombstone is actually town not abandoned, but still with a population of people living their daily lives. The nickname “the town too tough to die” sure fits.
Another town with a disquieting name, Chloride is located just north of Kingman and old Route 66. Chloride is great to stop by, just to sightsee, but its quieter than other touristy ghost towns and you can catch a glimpse from the distant past everywhere you look. The historic downtown will inspire the imagination of how it was with its old saloon, undertakers office, antique jail, and Lavender Lace’s Boarding House for Fine Women. If you look even deeper you will find a bizarre collection of art and even a display of murals.
Jerome was once known as the naughtiest towns in the west. South of Flagstaff and deep in the Black Hills mountains (the town is more than 5,000 feet above sea level), Jerome is considered “America’s Most Vertical City” and the largest ghost town in the U.S.
Founded in 1876, Jerome was the place where gold and copper were discovered in the area. All the bad old west boys collected in Jerome, and soon the population burst to well over 15,000 in the 1920’s making it the 4th largest city in Arizona. The attraction of the saloons of brothels, and there were many was also a draw to the area.
Prospectors discovered riches of gold and silver in 1877 In 1912, local businessman Julias Andrews opened a post office and named it after his wife Ruby, and the mining camp eventually became known as Ruby. The most prosperous period for the town was the 1910 to 1940 and the Montana Mine became Arizona’s leading producer of lead and zinc. However, this prosperity came to an end quickly.
Residing only 4 miles from the Mexican border, the town of Ruby was met its match with Mexican bandits Between 1920 and 1922, three double homicides were committed by Mexican rebels or bandits in Ruby and the nearby desert. This led to the largest manhunt in the southwest and are known as the Ruby Murders. The mine closed in 1940 leaving old machinery and buildings of a time in the past.
This living museum is located 40 miles east of Phoenix and is the gateway to the Superstition Mountains in the legendary Valley of the Sun.
Goldfield was thought to be the town to overtake Mesa due to its 3 saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a schoolhouse, all signs of imminent growth. but when the gold died, so did the town. There were many attempts to reopen the mine, its now a popular tourist town. The historic town offers many old west attractions where you can pan for gold, take a ride on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train, and witness an old west gunfight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters. Goldfield is great fun for the whole family and offers beautiful mountain views.