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The Town & Mine Of Vulture Arizona

It was in 1863 that an old prospector by the name of Henry Wickenburg discovered a quarts seam with gold and started to mine this outcrop by himself. Henry Wickenburg was an old 49'er from the California gold rush. After making his fame and fortune there he headed into the Arizona desert looking for his next find. Little did he know at the time that this outcrop would become the famous Vulture mine that would end up becoming one of the richest gold mines in all of Arizona.

It wasn't long before others heard about this stike and soon a small town was built and by 1870 the city of Vulture Arizona had about 200 citizens. Of course a lot of folks with the wrong intentions arrived in town to work the mines. One of these fellows was Jacob Waltz, also known as the Lost Dutchman. Theres people out there who have been looking for the lost dutchman mine for years. Anyhow it is rumored that Jacob Waltz's Lost Dutchman mine was actually the Vulture Mine because of all the gold he had stolen while working there. In fact even though the Vulture Mine was one of the richest mines in Arizona at the time, it never made a profit for Hnery Wickenburg or any of the investors. It was a notorious mine for theft as workers highgrades the ore for themselves.

During the heydays of operations,the mine from the outside looked first class. Infact the mine and mill was state of the art for the day. It's shaft went down over 2000 feet following that quartz seam of gold. The higher grade ore was ground with an 80 stamp mill. Lower grade ore was run through a ball mill and the ground ore was then run through cyanide tubs to leach out the gold. It is estimated that over 200 million dollars worth of gold came out of Vulture Mine.

As time went on the town grew to almost 5000 residents. It had everything. Saloons, brothels, stores and even a sheriff with it's own jail. Outside on the edge of town was the infamous "hanging tree" where about 18 of the towns residents met their fate for various crimes like rape, murder and theft. Lots of others died hard deaths there too. It was a tough town. In fact it was a real wild west town in it's day. Even though the mine produced millions in gold, Henry died a poor broke man. Old Henry Wickenburg himself died a hard death as he ended his own life with his own gun. Soon after the mine closed down and the city turned into a ghost town. The old mine and deposit was later sold to fellow named Benjamin Phelps, who represented a group of investors that eventually organized under the name of Vulture Mining Company.

The Vulture Mine ran until around 1942 when it was shut down due to infractions with the law. It reopened for a brife period of time but then closed for good. Today little is left of the old town. Most buildings are all but gone. There are however rumors that there is still just as much gold still waiting to be mined that has already been mined. So one never knows when the Vulture Mines comes to life again.

Old assay building

The old hanging tree today

Mine entrance