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Jason’s tour jeep parked in front of the Grand Canyon University Restaurant
Our travels southward were finally rewarded yesterday with a gloriously beautiful, cloudless sky with temperatures in the high 70s. It was a perfect day for traveling from Kingman to Phoenix.
Our trip from Kingman to Phoenix with a stop in Wickenburg.
Of all the routes we’ve taken on our drives to Phoenix, one of the most obvious, Highway 93, we’d yet to undertake. I thought it would be a flat, dry, dusty drive, but it turned out to be filled with rolling hills of sage, cactus, and (due to the time of year) colorful flowers.
Our one stop of the day was in Wickenburg. I did zero research on the town, instead letting serendipity guide us. By following the signs, we quickly found ourselves in old town, a delightful place with a cowboy vibe its citizens embrace.
An example of the western theme seen around town.
One of the first things we saw we mistook, at first, for a homeless man perched on the ground. Unsure if he was real or not, we made our way over to what was soon obviously a sculpture. It turns out that due to a lack of funds, Wickenburg didn’t have a jail during its early years, so anyone needing a jail cell found themselves chained to a tree until their sentence was complete.
There was even a audio presentation, which provided some great background on the “Jail Tree”. It’s a nicely done work.
Next we walked a block to a second sculpture that celebrated an upstanding Wickenburg citizen named Everett Bowman and recognized his mule training prowess, among other accomplishments.
With Ann slow going, we decided to skip exploring town and instead check out the downtown museum, a well regarded (on Yelp) place called the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.
The museum was $12, but active military get in free (the Air Force will never fully release her). That’s a price we could work with. Inside, there was the usual western history showing pioneer history. The two photos below were from this collection: http://www.boydranch.org/western-museum/
Naturally, of all the things that caught my eye, the mining section drew me in the most. One sign really interested me. It claimed that in 1871 a US House of Representatives report noted that Wickenburg was “the Most Important District in Arizona”.
When I saw the date, I guessed right away who wrote that phrase: my great great grandfather Anton Eilers. Because of my research on SLAG, I knew he’d been in Arizona in 1870 and published his findings in the Spring of 1871. This called for some research ….
When I returned to our hotel yesterday evening I pulled up the report he and Rossiter Raymond produced for 1870. On page 259 the first sentence jumped out:
It was very satisfying to be able to identify Anton’s handiwork. Anton later mentioned that while the mine proved important in comparison with the rest of Arizona, the territory wasn’t producing all that much gold. Conflicts with the Apaches coupled with a lack of water and no railroad retarded the development of mining in Arizona for years…..
The Desert Caballeros proved to be an interesting museum. And, I bet on a hot day, it’s a wonderfully cool retreat for a few hours. If you are nearby, check it out sometime.
With the museum completed, we ate lunch and drove to Phoenix. We soon arrived at Jesse and Andrea’s house, where we caught up with everyone. Later, we headed out to dinner at the Grand Canyon University Restaurant in a train of FCs. It was quite a site to see the FCs parked in the circle near the main doors:
That’s it for this report. Tomorrow I’ll have many more pics of the FCs.