A conversation about triumph and determination. And an opera for a ghost.
Did You Know: Goldfield Ghost Town Was Alive In The 1800s
They’re known as ghost towns, and it’s not because ghosts wonder through the area — well, at least not any we know of. In the Southwest these are towns filled with history and there’s one on the outskirts of the Valley.
Goldfield Ghost Town is near the Superstition Mountains. This is where men camped in the late 1800s while working in nearby gold mines. Did You Know this place was only really populated for five years?
“We had started doing research because we knew part of the old town sat on this property, we just didn’t realize how much,” said Bob Schoose, known around these parts as Mayor Bob. He wasn’t elected, he’s one of the town’s owners. He’s even written a history book about Goldfield.
“And as we did the research we started coming up with the old maps and everything and the majority of the town was on this site,” Schoose said.
Today, this 45-acre plot of land is a tourist attraction. Schoose and a few of his friends began rebuilding it 25 years ago using old photos as a guide. He says tents were spread across this area when Goldfield was first settled in 1892. As more people came to work in the mines, up went saloons, a blacksmith shop, a boarding house, a general store, a school and a post office.
“There were 28 permanent buildings at one time. Then there’s the rumors as to population varying greatly. I’m guesstimating anywhere between 500 and tops 1,500,” Schoose said.
By 1897 the gold ore in these parts was practically all dug-up. It forced job cuts, and people began to move out. By the end of 1898 Goldfield was, what else — a ghost town. There were several attempts to revive it, including an attempt to rename the town Youngsberg in the 1920s. But that didn’t last.
This mine and the structures in the town are replicas of the originals. The exteriors may look like old buildings, but inside there are restaurants, gift shops, a museum, there’s even a church and an old western brothel.
“You could spend a whole day here. And there’s many people that do," Schoose said.
At the edge of town there’s also a headstone for an unknown prospector. Schoose found skeletal remains while working on the grounds. He believes the bones belong to a man who fell 150 feet down a mine shaft in 1896. So to honor him this monument was created.