Castle Dome mine museum
This is going to be a very image heavy post, fair warning ahead of time. As I mentioned yesterday, I took about 250 photos and I managed to whittle that down to 24. This was just such a great place to visit. So lets get started.
Arizona is rich in mining history. Gold, silver, and copper have all been mined at various times, and in various locations around the state. The Castle Dome mine was a silver mine that started in 1864. It was a very rich mine with high silver content in the ore they pulled from the ground. The mine was active until the early 1970’s when silver prices plummeted.
The museum is on the ground of the original mine, and town of Castle Dome. It’s private property right in the middle of the KOFA wildlife preserve.
The owner saw that the old buildings from the mining days were being destroyed, and the government had no interest in preserving the history. I don’t know if he owned the land, or somehow purchase the land, but he brought original buildings from around the mining area into one spot to create the museum village. There are a total of 50 buildings to explore.It is amazing! We LOVE old stuff, so this was like a slice of heaven for us. All the buildings were painstakingly dismantled, brought to their new home and rebuilt. All the interiors are full of relics from days gone by.
As you wind your way through the buildings, you come across piles of what some people would simply call garbage. For me, this is treasure and it’s probably a good thing it was behind a fence. I love this old purple glass. Purple glass was actually clear when it was made in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s but the manganese they put in it reacts to prolonged sunlight and it turns purple.
Here is some purple glass on display in one of the buildings. I was so covetous of all this.
Even a purple glass door knob.
Ok, moving on. The town of Castle Dome had a schoolhouse, a church, several mercantile, and 5 bars in a one mile radius. This was a bar and hotel. Quite large, and very ornate inside. The volunteer guy that was wandering around answering questions offered to take our photo, how do you say no that opportunity.
Then there was this little bar with walls made from the ribs of saguaro cactus and sheet metal.
And the cantina.
An old keg from an Arizona brewery.
There was a barber shop. Check out these shaving mugs, I had no idea they were so beautiful.
This was the largest mercantile and they sold about everything you could need.
Then there was the dress shop. No way in hell could I have worn the clothing these poor women had to endure. Especially in the heat and dust that is here.
And a mechanic shop. Obviously this is from a bit later.
The bank. Check out this fabulous tin ceiling. Love it.
This was just a great old phone in one of the buildings.
Tracks that the mine cars would have ran on.
Just a beautiful window on the outside of The Floral bar.
And this was an interesting story. This bath tub belonged to some local prostitutes. They would take it with them and go from mining town, to mining town. Sounds like a win win to me. They made money two ways, and the men were clean for them.
Castle Dome was about 45 minutes away from us, but worth it. We drove south on 95 from our spot on the KOFA, turned down a dirt road, Castle Dome road, drove through the Yuma proving grounds and on to the refuge again. If you are ever in this area, Go. They are open every day in the winter months, it’s $10 to get in, and no dogs allowed.
I’m so glad there are people who are interested in the rich history of this area enough to preserve it. This was not a cheap, nor easy undertaking, but it’s something for everyone to enjoy. The owners of the museum have done a wonderful job, and I am glad they decided to build it.
Links to learn more