Today, with our group of friends, we set off to explore a new to us part of AZ.
Wickenburg is located about 30 miles Northwest of us on Hwy. 60. It’s a smooth drive on a divided 4 lane road through mostly desert. Wickenburg was known as the dude ranch capitol of AZ in the 50s & 60s and has kept its cowboy image alive in the small downtown. It was founded 1863 by, guess who, Henry Wickenburg. He came to the area in search of gold, discovered it, and soon everybody around came for quick riches. Henry founded the Vulture Mine, and over the years, $30 million dollars in gold was mined there. Today it relies on tourism for most of it jobs.
We began by visiting a pottery store owned by our good friend Phyllis Beebe’s cousin, where many good purchases started the day. Next we wandered around the small downtown. There’s a good brochure with a walking tour of the town that I used to explore. The first stop was the famous Jail Tree. It seems that the small town couldn’t afford a real jail, so the bad guys were chained to this stout tree instead. There was as many as 18 people chained to the tree at one time. And their families would come and visit them and bring picnics to feed the prisoners. There is a tape recording explaining the history of the tree by pressing a button.
All around town were similar figures with recordings. Here’s the arrival of the new school teacher just getting off the train.
And of course I had to take a picture of the train and depot. We saw all of the sites in town. If you want to see all of the pictures, click here: http://picasaweb.google.com/winequest/WickenburgAZ#
We had lunch at a combination sandwich shop and ice cream parlor. Linda & I shared a pastrami sandwich and a cup of homemade mint chip ice cream. Both were really good. We plan on coming back some time soon to see the Desert Caballeros Museum, Vulture Gold Mine and Ghost Town, and the Hassayampa River Wildlife Preserve. Check back for a report on that visit.