Thursday, March 30, 2023

Ajo Or Garlic

 It's always interesting to know the meaning of names. And so we found out that AJO is the Spanish word for GARLIC. 

So how come a town is named garlic?

Well, garlic was found in the surrounding hills of this town, wild garlic, that is. And when people settled here for the rich minerals being found they called their town GARLIC or span.: Ajo (AHO)

Something else being found here was a variety of minerals.

Native Americans, Spaniards, and Americans have all extracted mineral wealth from Ajo's abundant ore deposits. In the early nineteenth century, there was a Spanish mine nicknamed "Old Bat Hole" that was abandoned due to Indian raids. Tom Childs, Sr., found the deserted mine complete with a 60-foot (18 m) shaft, mesquite ladders, and rawhide buckets in 1847. He did not stay long at that time, because he was on his way to the silver mines near Magdalena de Kino, Sonora.

Thirty-five years later, Childs and his son returned with a friend and started developing the abandoned mine.

In the year 1884, the camp at Ajo was practically abandoned. Not a soul was in camp when Tom Childs Sr., and his son arrived. With them was Washington Michael Jacobs of Tucson, Arizona ... Childs and Jacobs located the mining claim which constituted most of the old Ajo group of mines. They made a permanent camp and worked the mines.

High-grade native copper made Ajo the first copper mine in Arizona. Soon the Arizona Mining & Trading company, formed by Peter R. Brady, a friend of Childs, worked the rich surface ores, shipping loads around Cape Horn for smelting in Swansea, Wales, in the mid-1880s. The mine closed when a ship sank off the coast of Patagonia. Long supply lines and the lack of water discouraged large mining companies

With the advent of new recovery methods for low-grade ore, Ajo boomed. In 1911, Col. John Campbell Greenway, a Rough Rider and star Yale athlete, bought the New Cornelia mine from John Boddie. He became general manager of the Calumet and the Arizona mining company and expanded it on a grand scale. The Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend Railroad was built from Gila Bend to serve the mining industry and was in service from 1916 to 1985. In 1921, Phelps Dodge, the nation's largest copper company, bought New Cornelia and the mine became the New Cornelia Branch of Phelps Dodge, managed by Michael Curley. For several decades more than 1,000 employees worked for Phelps Dodge in the open pit mine. In 1983 union-affiliated mine employees went on strike. The mine continued with non-union labor for a short while before stopping production in 1985.
Current pop. is under 3000, while its peak was in 1960 over 7000.
For us the main interest is the beautifully restored town center with the Mexican-inspired plaza. 

Arcaded buildings around the green center lawn, adorned with huge palm trees are the relaxing center of Ajo and it sure has the ability of transporting your mind down into old Mexico. 

On the upper (western) side of the plaza 2 Spanish-style churches complete the beautiful architecture.

Little stores, a coffee shop, an art gallery are places visitors will enjoy to see. 
The lower part is the old railway station with overgrown tracks still present behind the station.

Park benches are beckoning you to sit down and listen to the never stopping bird chatter in the palm trees above.

Another attraction of Ajo are the rich murals on the north side and beyond the plaza.

These are 2 wall mosaics

We have seen all this before but keep coming back here. Take a look at the images and you might want to see it for yourself.

Unfortunately our time is just about over.
Thursday we will move our rig over to the Coyote Howls East Campground. They offer boondocking, but have features like dump station, water and garbage disposal, all of which we will use during our last overnight stay in Arizona. Unlike in other RV Parks we can stay there for only $20/night. 
Friday morning our wheels will start rolling eastwards along State Rte 86 towards Tucson. We finally made up our mind re. our travel route and will follow the I-20 east until we hit the I-95 at Florence. 

This would be fun to travel in


  1. Snow is melting and should be gone by next travels

  2. Thanks for the pics of the VW bus.


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