Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Olde Mine II

The main problem the old Arizona mines were facing was that they had no railroad access. The ore had to be shipped out some other way. At Castle Dome Mine they built the worlds largest wagon. It had a load capacity of 20 tons and it did require 40 horses or mules to be pulled.

1-DSC_0801Many mines of the old days have gone bust when prices fell below cost or the ore simply had run out. Castle Dome Mine never followed the cycle of boom and bust. With WWII there came a huge demand for bullets and large scale lead mining kept life at Castle Dome Mines. 9 million pound of lead ore were extracted. In fact Castle Dome Mines became the country’s largest producer of lead. But eventually also Castle Dome Mine was closed in 1979.

Artifacts gathered at Castle Dome have been found in surrounding shafts and old buildings as well as in garbage heaps.

Every building is full to the brim with stories, pictures and unique artifacts.
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As most visitors would do, I wandered the premises at my own pace. The old wooden floor creaked at every of my steps and more than once I shrank back when being met by one of the many mannequins behind the door.
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I said Hello to them, asked the 4 guys around the table how they were doing, but they were engrossed in their own conversation and didn’t seem to take any notice of the lonely visitor. It was cool inside the Flora Temple Bar, and I could well imagine to sit down here with a beer having a chat with the bartender who really seemed to be a friendly guy as far as bartenders go.
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1-DSC_0810 Didn’t quite like his customer though. The guy had a mean attitude towards strangers and I decided not to linger any longer. Never know when a guy pulls out his big iron.
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Had me a look at the Polly Gas Station near the exit. Seemed that the owner had lived right besides of his office. Probably safer than leaving the place alone at night. Head gaskets and drive belts were hanging off the wall. It was a time when gas stations didn’t have to sell you milk and burgers or candy bars. Instead they could actually help you repair a car, fix a problem and get you back on the road. They always had a mechanic around. Not anymore!
Instead there was a small bar attached to it. Very sensible!
After finishing the main exhibits we drove the van over to the main road and parked there. The second half of the museum is located on the south side of the road.
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A sign on the fencepost  warns trespassers from entering without first having paid the fee. Obviously they have buried a couple of them illegals right behind the gate. A still open grave is waiting for the next trespasser…
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Found a guy fast asleep in the domitory!
Not much of a talker – this guy!

1-DSC_08501-DSC_0830The round walk through this section takes at least 30 minutes. There are old mine shafts 250-450feet deep. Dug by hand in scorching summer heat. Hard to imagine. There are smaller mine entrances dug by single persons – not very deep. They gave up before hitting the rich ore. Doctor’s office was on the second floor sporting a great view across the valley floor. Lots of heavy equipment in this section. Wonder how they got it all up here. Some of the iron wheels running the machinery must weigh many tons.
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Watch out for rattlers when you look around here. There are plenty possibilities for them to hide under all that rusty stuff lying around.
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      Doc’s Office

As the clock was approaching 2pm it was time to be heading home.
On our way back we drove along Imperial Dam Road. At the date farms we stopped for a refresher course of how to enjoy a date shake. Yum…

Thanks again for coming along and sorry you had to eat our dust.


  1. We didn't get a date shake when we were there and it is on my list of things to try. Also, we couldn't do the walking part of the tour because Jim couldn't walk. Now he can so we may just have to take another trip out that way.

  2. Castle Dome was certainly interesting. We enjoyed it. Date shakes are popular down here because of all the dates but we're not overly fond of them. I think I'd rather have a chocolate shake any day.

  3. Have never had a date shake yet, with all the times we have been there. Maybe someday....
    Thanks for part two of the tour.

  4. Thanks for a great tour and photos. If those mannequins ever start talking back to you, then you know you're in real trouble. I love date shakes!


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