Category Archives: Wickenburg

Historical Society now owns Wickenburg gravesites

Three years after resident Nicki Hamilton protested the condition of the Henry Wickenburg gravesite, some progress has been made. The town put the hillside cemetery up for auction on Oct. 16, and the Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society was the successful bidder. The deed requires the Society to apply for listing to both State and National Historical Registers, to install security fencing and signage, to restore what is now a dirt walkway, and to perform periodic maintenance. An APS power pole must first be moved from the property because it hinders legal access to the site. That alone will cost close to $8,000. With future support from the Vi Wellik foundation uncertain at this time, the project will need the assistance of many.

Plantings will be added, the walkway should be paved, and some of the graves are worn and need repair. Maintenance volunteers are sought, and an American flag from the period would be appropriate, if it can be located. (Henry Wickenburg died in 1905.) The hill where Wickenburg and some of his friends are buried is located off of Howard Court and Adams Street near Boetto Park. Anyone interested in preserving this important part of Wickenburg history is invited to send a tax-deductible contribution, which may be eligible for a matching grant, to the WHPS, P.O. Box 1341, Wickenburg, AZ 85358. Mark the check for the “Henry Wickenburg Cemetery Project”.

Wickenburg’s Vulture Mine may be bulldozed for new development

According to Earl Runte, President of Gunsight Development Corp. and a member of numerous heritage related organizations, Wickenburg’s Vulture Mine is up for sale (details at The owner has held an option on the mine for a number of years, but is now considering developing the site rather than preserving it. Mr. Runte recently learned that the owner’s option expires in several weeks. The owner may be negotiating with a development group out of Florida to bulldoze the site for new residential development.

What you can do. Contact Mr. Runte and ask him to convey to the owner your support or ideas for the preservation of Vulture Mine. Earl can be reached at 623-594-8227 or

Vulture Mine History

The Vulture Gold Mine was discovered in 1863 by Henry Wickenburg. Henry sold the mine after a few years, but the Vulture went on to become the most productive gold mine in our state’s history. Vulture City grew to a population of almost 5,000, and the mine helped spark the development of Arizona and the city of Phoenix.

The Vulture Mine produced gold worth more than $200 million; the exact amount is unknown. Some say that nearly half of the Vulture’s gold was stolen. “High-grading” or theft of high grade ore was common at the Vulture. At least 18 men were hung on the Vulture City’s hanging tree, nearly all for high-grading.

When U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt closed the mine in 1942, people left believing they would return in six months. The mine never reopened. Almost overnight a once thriving community became a ghost town.

Event to benefit Wickenburg Historical Society

[Source: Wickenburg Sun] — The Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society will next month host a book signing and historical presentation by Betty E. Hammer Joy at the Coffinger Park Recreation Building. The event will benefit the Society and will take place Saturday, March 15 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The cost to attend the lecture and catered buffet supper is $22 per person and books will be available to purchase for $18. Joy is the granddaughter of the late Angela Hutchinson Hammer, editor of the Wickenburg Miner in 1905. Joy wrote a book based upon her grandmother’s memoirs entitled “Angela Hutchinson Hammer, Arizona’s Pioneer Newspaperwoman.” Joy will give a short presentation on Wickenburg history, followed by a dinner catered by Darlene Dowdy. Reservations may be made by calling Cindy Thrasher at 684-1529 or by calling Linda Woley at 684-2251. Checks made for reservations or other donations can be sent to P.O. Box 1341, Wickenburg, AZ 85358.

Construction finally starts on Wickenburg bypass

[Source: Wickenburg Sun] — Construction is scheduled to begin this week on the Wickenburg Interim Bypass, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. The project will provide a new roadway that avoids the historic downtown, following the west bank of the Hassayampa River. When completed, the new roadway will divert regional traffic from the Wickenburg Way/Tegner Street intersection, relieving congestion and improving traffic flow on US 93 and US 60. The project will include constructing two roundabouts, a new roadway embankment that will provide flood protection to adjacent properties, and new bridges across the Hassayampa River and Sols Wash. Landscaping and other aesthetic features will be installed at the new entrance to the historic district, creating a unique, inviting gateway to Wickenburg. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Wickenburg still ‘True West’ town

[Source: The Wickenburg Sun] — Wickenburg has once again made the top 10 list of True West magazine’s “True Western Towns.” Wickenburg was the only town in Arizona awarded this honor. There are thousands of towns throughout the West — many of which do an excellent job of maintaining and celebrating their heritage and history, according to True West, but some truly stand out. For the third year, True West honors the 10 True Western Towns in its January/February 2008 issue, on newsstands Jan. 15. They are:

10. San Diego, Calif.
9. Casper, Wyo.
8. Wickenburg, Ariz.
7. Pendleton, Ore.
6. Durango, Colo.
5. Dodge City, Kan.
4. Cheyenne, Wyo.
3. Trinidad, Colo.
2. Deadwood, S.D.
1. St. Joseph, Mo.

True West editors determined the winners based on a number of criteria — especially how each town has preserved its history through older buildings and districts, museums and other institutions, and events. The Top 10 also take the lead in promoting their historic resources to visitors. Last year’s Top Town was Helper, Utah. “This is a remarkable group of towns,” said True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “Their residents have taken it upon themselves to keep the real West alive for now and posterity. They not only celebrate their past — they live it.” The feature also includes a list of “Towns to Watch” for their good works in historic preservation, and several legendary Old West locales that folks should know. True West magazine is in its 55th year of leading the way in presenting the true stories of Old West adventure, history, culture, and preservation.