Monday, June 17, 2013

Goldroad Arizona - Route 66 Ghost Towns

Although Goldroad is a Route 66 ghost town, its demise had little to do with the establishment of the new Interstate Highway that bypassed it. Gold was discovered here in the late 1890's and the town of Goldroad was officially established in 1902. After the gold strike the population of Goldroad grew to between 400-500 people. The area thrived until more substantial silver and gold strikes occurred in other areas. These days, there is nothing in the area but building foundations and many abandoned mines.


The town sprouted up on Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman Arizona. The next photo picks up where the road disappears in this one.

I believe this photo was taken in the 1920's. You can clearly see how Route 66 hair pinned up the mountains with no guard rails and barely enough room for one lane in each direction.  Through the years, many cars have gone off the edge. In the near future I'll do a post on the high-point pass through these mountains. 

I took this photo a couple of months ago from almost the exact vantage point as the photo above.  The curve in the road is the curve on the right side of the previous photo. Of course, it is about 100 years later. There is one mining operation still at work here and until recently, they gave tours. I "heard" that the tours stopped because they didn't want anyone to know how much gold they were finding. You can see the huge pile of mine tailings that completely cross the photo.  Mine tailings are materials left over after the extraction of valuable minerals from the ore. 


There are many vertical and horizontal mine entrances in the area. 


Some foundations from the former town.

Here is a huge vertical entrance. All of the related structure is long gone and only a deep mine shaft remains..

Others mines are both horizontal and vertical.  This one was only off the road by about 10 feet. I couldn't hear the rocks I threw into it, hit bottom.

I took this photo without even getting out of the jeep. Mines are everywhere!


Back roads like this one are covered with mines, pits and tailings.


Here (and in the next few photos) are more old building foundations made from local stone.


Places like this had to endure a double whammy. The gold dried up and Route 66 was bypassed by the interstate. They didn't stand a chance.



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58 comments:

The Geezers said...

Fascinating glimpse. In a few days when retirement arrives, I've got to make the Route 66 pilgrimage.

DEZMOND said...

hope being close to those mines isn't bad for the health :)

Brenda's Arizona said...

So it seems like the only reason Oatman survives is the 'tourist trade'. No other Rt. 66 town in this desolate part of AZ has lived on very long.
The renewal gold finds is interesting!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not much remains of that old town. Scary you never heard the rocks hit in that one hole. That's deep.

trav4adventures said...

Interesting! We've been to Oatman, but not this place. We are driving to Arizona in August..so maybe???

mshatch said...

I'd love to drive Route 66 and see some of those old places.

Sharon Wagner said...

It is always and adventure on Route 66. Or off like that jeep photo.

Icy BC said...

It looks so dry and well, deserted! I can't imagine you were there taking pictures as it seems so hot!

Fantastic photos!

baygirl32 said...

What a cool place to explore (provided you don't wander into a mine)

great shots :)

TS Hendrik said...

That vertical mine entrance looked really sweet. That's the kind of thing I'd love to explore.

sometimesthatsallyouget said...

Great shots, as always, and interesting post. Very timely, as we are in the early planning stages of a Rte. 66 trip.

Couldn't hear the rocks hit bottom - that's DEEP! ;-)

~Lindy

Ms. A said...

I love the rock walls, but you couldn't get me anywhere near the pits, or vertical shafts, or probably even that dangerous looking road. P is a very brave woman!

sylvia kirkwood said...

I do love your shots of Route 66, Pat! I've been through the area several times over the years and it never ceases to amaze me! Have great week!

Brian said...

Those were so interesting to see Pat. I can just imagine the glory days!

Belle said...

Fascinating! I'd love to drive that road with my husband.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

Wow, a dangerous place to ride off-road, be it a motorcycle or 4-wheeler. Hell, a dangerous place to walk! Fascinating place.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Love that you took a pic from the same viewpoint as the old postcard. A few changes there. Great roads for 4-wheeling.

'hmm...interesting that they want the mining operation to be a stealth one now....

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

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Chuck said...

Hey, Pat, back on the trail eh? That is some desolate and rough looking country you are in. I guess if someone fell down one of those shafts they would never be heard from again. Sounds like a place the mafia would love :)

Very cool history. I friend of mine just traveled the entire length of Route 66 but I don't know that he was by this place. Maybe he didn't know that the gold really hasn't "dried up"!

Great photos as always.

Chuck at Apocalypse Now

#1Nana said...

I remember the Tories about people who fell down mines...that's enough to keep me away from the area!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I always appreciate your professional looking, high-quality photos and the information, Pat. It's fascinating.

It's interesting to see the similarities and differences between those two photos, over all the years.

Be well.
xoRobyn

Shelly said...

Wow- so many mines- I'd be almost afraid of falling into one! Great pictures, as always. What history in them-

Jenny said...

This is so cool.

I love the 'then and now' pictures.

My husband and I found a 'SuperFund Site' in Arizona on one of our wanderings. I always wonder about eco-damage in ruins like this, too.

Do you take a gem and mineral map along on your explorations? We've found some cool stuff over the years doing that.

But you might not be into rocks and minerals!

California Girl said...

Is this the road that takes you to or past Jerome?

Rosemary Nickerson said...

all those mines! Going into mines is like going to the moon, in my opinion. who'd do it?????
Rosemary

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It almost looks like an alien landscape now Pat..extraordinary that such a thing could happen these days, but mining can be pretty transient I guess and a bypass route doesn't help! Its been so interesting following the story.

altadenahiker said...

I'm so glad you posted this because I stumbled across this place a couple of decades ago and it hasn't changed.

altadenahiker said...

I'm so glad you posted this because I stumbled across this place a couple of decades ago and it hasn't changed.

Japy said...

Fantastic places you show us. I love them. Greetings.

Lynda R Young said...

What a fascinating place!!
Love the photos and the history.

Baby Sister said...

I love these places you find. And gee, if they're going to be finding gold, then they better be sharing it with me!!

ladyfi said...

Poor town! I guess nature is taking back its own now. But definitely a cool place to explore and some majestic scenery. Great shots.

Pat Tillett said...

The Geezers - Congratulations a few days early then! The stretch of Route 66 in the Mojave desert is the longest intact portion in the country. It would be a great pilgrimage. Just don't do it during the summer!

DEZMOND - Well, I think cyanide and mercury are used in gold mining, or at least they used to be. I haven't heard of any current dangers though.

Brenda's Arizona - I think there is still a little mining going on around Oatman, but you are so right. Without the tourists and donkeys, it would be gone.

Alex - Nope! We only saw a small fraction of the abandoned mines around there. You have to watch your step!

trav4adventures - Goldroad is pretty close to Oatman. If you are going all the way from Oatman to Kingman, I can give you the exact directions to the fishbowl spring. Let me know before you go.

mshatch - I hope you get to do it someday!

Sharon - I totally agree with you! It's an adventure for sure...

Icy BC - It is dry, deserted and can be deadly hot. It was actually kind of cool when I took these photos.

Pat Tillett said...

baygirl32 - Yep, you have to watch your step.

Tim - The problem with exploring them is that if something bad happens, you are pretty much on your own. There are a couple of groups that explore abandoned mines and then document it all. I have the links to their websites somewhere.

Lindy - Thanks so much! I hope you get to take that trip!

Ms. A - I'm a little bit shy about those vertical entrances myself. The road wasn't that bad, after all it was a road!

Sylvia - Thanks Sylvia! I remember some of these places from when I was a kid. They never lose their draw.

Brian - Thanks Brian! Me too...

Belle - It really is fascinating. I hope you do get to drive it sometime.

Wayne - You are so right! I think I'd rather be walking out there. Dangerous, but still amazing!

Pat Tillett said...

Sallie - I like to be able to take photos like that. Unfortunately, not all of the places have postcards or any photos relating to them. At least none that I can find. I guess if I had an active gold mine, I'd keep all the number pretty much to myself also.

Chuck - Believe it or not, we are actually home for a few weeks. You are right about those old shafts. Heck, running out of gas in the Mojave can be just as dangerous. Thanks so much Chuck!

#1Nana - I've heard plenty of those stories also, it doesn't keep me out of the area, but it keeps me away from the edges!

Robyn - Why thank you my friend! I appreciate the nice words.

Shelly - These are just a fraction of what is in that area. I agree about the history. There is lot more to the story, but it would be too much for a blog post. Thanks Shelly!

Jenny - I also love finding old pics for comparison. I'm sure there is plenty of eco-damage around these parts as well. I don't take gem and mineral maps with along, but I'm starting to get more interested, so who knows!

California Girl - This is all on Route 66. Jerome is closer to the Sedona/Verde Valley area, on Hwy 89. I'm pretty sure that Jerome is about a three hour drive from this area.

Rosemary - People will dig to the center of the earth with their fingernails, if they think they are going to get rich.

Pat Tillett said...

PerthDailyPhoto - Yep, it looks like Mars. Thanks so much! I've got plenty more posts to do about this area.

altadenahiker - I think it's been pretty much like this for at least a couple of decades. They were giving tours of the now active mine until just recently.

Japy - Thanks Japy! I'm happy that you like them.

Lynda - Thanks Lynda! I also love the history of them.

Baby Sister - Thanks Amanda! I love them also. Yep, I'd like a little of that gold myself.

ladyfi - There are many more towns like this in the around the area. I love poking around there. Thanks so much!

Cezar and Léia said...

Very interesting and a mystical place!You prepared an amazing article, your pictures are wonderful!
Léia

Stickup Artist said...

Often, when I see these kinds of all too familiar desert sites, I feel so sorry for the earth. We humans always seem to be digging, scraping, and blasting away at this organism upon which we live; on which our life depends. Well, I guess that mini-rant is a testament to the emotional appeal your of wonderful photo-journalism...

Stewart M said...

The abundance of mine workings reminds me of the hills near where I was born - but the mines there were Roman Lead mines!

Great post.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Pat Tillett said...

Cezar and Leia - Hi Leia! Thanks so much! I appreciate your nice words.

Stickup Artist - I know what you mean! Even if a tiny bit of money is gathered from each ton of earth, they think it's worthwhile. Thanks! I ALWAYS appreciate seeing your takes on what I post.

Stewart - Wow! Roman lead mines are probably a few months older than these! Thanks Stewart!

Pam =) said...

Route 66 has such a rich history- which you show and tell beautifully Pat.(puns intended:)

Those winding roads and mines are incredible!

Thanks for sharing these amazing desert places you two roam around- be safe out there.

Pat Tillett said...

Pam - Thanks Pam! That was punny! In some spots that road is pretty dangerous. I'll do a post about it pretty soon. It's all my pleasure.

Al said...

I do enjoy seeing your photos of these ghost towns. I've wandered past abandoned mines in my Colorado hikes but I've never entered one and never will. But there's one that gives tours that I need to visit one of these days.

Pat Tillett said...

Al - Thanks Al. I'm you enjoy them. I've got a lot more! I'm afraid of going into mines also. Too many people go in and never come out.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Love these posts Pat. Fascinating mix of history tinged with sadness - soon we will be relics too I guess, with the mountains as the overseers of all those who came and toiled and left.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm never happier then when I'm looking at foundations or when a building being erected has only the frames up.

Al Penwasser said...

With all those mines everywhere, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to go walking around in the dark, huh?

dennis hodgson said...

This post reminded me of the time I spent in Australia in 1970. The area where I worked had seen its own gold rush (in the 1890s), and there were abandoned mines everywhere.

By the way, you may have missed a trick here Pat. It was quite common in Oz for people to find accidentally overlooked nuggets on the spoil heaps, because the processing technology of the old timers was not optimally efficient. Get yourself a metal detector!

Rosemary Nickerson said...

whoa Pat! Are you wearing cowboy boots and hat? Do you have a pistol strapped to your thigh? Looks like rattler territory and old westerns where you are these days.
Rosemary

EG CameraGirl said...

So many wonderful photo ops! But I'm not sure I'd want to travel those scarey roads to get ther. Hmmm.

Pat Tillett said...

Anthony - Thanks Anthony! My wife already said that I'm a relic.

Pasadena Adjacent - I like both the construction part and the long slow decline.

Al P - Probably not! After about a year when people noticed I was gone, "my wife would say, I wonder what happened to Pat?"

dennis - I've thought about it and even talked to a guy I saw using one around a mine. He told me he'd been doing it for years and he finds more at the public beaches on the coast. I hear you, but I just don't think it's for me (much too A.D.D.).

Rosemary - I probably would wear a cowboy hat if I didn't have such a big head and look so stupid in them. It really is a lot like the old west out there.

EG CameraGirl - Yes, there is so much to see (and photograph). The light is usually very harsh though, that can be a problem. The roads are half the fun!

sixdegreesphotography said...

What a cool place to visit.. I love the historical old west and wish I had of seen more when I lived in California!!

Thanks for the field trip
Post script- I figured out how to comment via WP :-)

gregory urbano said...

Looks exciting but kinda dangerous! Would love to metal detect around there, no telling what you might find!

Bouncin Barb said...

Hi there Pat!! What a great post. Fascinating how all these mines and towns just went by the wayside, so to speak. Great pictures too. I love the stone walls that are just left there. Do you think these were all gold mines?

Magia da Inês said...

╮✿ °•.¸

Paisagens desoladas mas que falam do passado.
Bom domingo!
Boa semana!
°º✿♫ Beijinhos.
°º✿

Pat Tillett said...

sixdegreesphotography - These places will still be here when you come back! Thanks Lynne, It is my pleasure.

gregory urbano - The road is dangerous in its own right. Get out of your vehicle and it becomes even more so. Thanks for the comment and for signing on. I appreciate it.

Bouncin Barb - Hey There! It's very nice to see you here. In this area, it was all pretty much gold there. The sad part is that very few miners actually made much money for their efforts. Thanks!

Magia - Thanks so much Magia! Have a good day!

Gingerspark said...

Ghost towns are kinda cool - makes me wish for a time machine.
the old mines are pretty cool too - although they don't seem to have made any effort to "make them safe" - I'll bet all kinds of people have "vanished" :/

Pat Tillett said...

Gingerspark - I agree! People do vanish exploring them. Although people vanish out there even without the mines.