Castle Dome mine museum
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
Loved seeing all of those and how interesting re the purple glass. Never heard of that before. Have a terrific Tuesday.
Best wishes Molly
Purple desert glass is one of my very favorite things to find.
What a neat museum! Nice shot of you and your hubby! Great series of images. Have a happy day!
Thanks, it was a great day.
Oh Mary….where do I begin?
First of all….YOU! What an awesome photo of YOU TWO! Rugged, beautiful are YOU!!!!!!!
Now these photos….I just got so many poetic feelings about these places. I am convinced that my writing is influenced by images. I can only wonder how many stories were told at that bar from patrons, how many lips touched those glasses, and how many hands handled that door knob. I am so impressed that places like this are so open with these artifacts within such close reach. AWESOME! This is a desert poetry book in the making.
Walking around the old buildings, I always wonder the same things. I think one reason I love old stuff so much, is because I think of the stories behind it. If that piece could talk…..I bet you could write some wonderful prose to these, and a bunch of other photos I took that day.
How awesome is that place! I would have so many pics too! One could make an entire photo book from this place alone. What great shots!
It would be a very fun book to do. Makes me wonder if it’s been done before.
Industrial archeology (sort of) is always a great source of pictures.
Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne
Wonderful post. So interesting to read and view as you guide us through your adventure. How fortunate that the volunteer guy was able to take the time to snap a picture of you guys inside your trailer. I love what you’ve done with the place!
LOL.. I would be pretty thrilled to have a trailer like that. When we ever build a house, it will look like that for sure. (Well maybe not all bar)
As a history buff, avocational archaeologist, and part-time employee at antiques auctions, this post was fascinating for me. I loved every photo, and some of those items (particularly the shaving mugs, if they’re originals) have some nice value to them. I always deeply appreciate people who put their time and money into preserving history. So many little museums with important displays have had to close over the past ten or so years, it’s sad. I hope this little area lives on forever, it’s such a treasure. If I had bottomless pockets, I’d spend my life traveling to these places and making sure they would survive for generations to come. Thanks so much for the amazing photos and tour, Mary!
I thought of you when we were there, you would love it. And yes, the shaving mugs were all original. I suppose that’s why they were behind wire, not everything was locked up. The man that owns the property really could see the vision, thankfully. All this needs to be preserved.
Thank you for the great virtual tour of this museum. Beautiful photos of these precious collections. The dress shop is so well preserved, incredible.
I love the photo that the volunteer took, great smile, Mary. :)
If you ever get this way, be sure to go. It was all wonderful.
Fascinating pictures! I would love to go there one day and take a trip back through time.
what a cool place – no wonder you took so many great photos!
awesome that someone thought to preserve those buildings and all those items from the day. quite the undertaking. loved the photo of the two of you! i’d hate to have to tote that tub along, but i’m sure it was worth it for the working girls!
I thought the same thing about the tub. But like you say, it would have been worth it.
Mary, I love photo-heavy posts when the images tell such a fun and interesting story as yours! What a treasure trove of discoveries! Love ALL the pics but especially the one of you and your hubby :) Thanks for sharing this history. It’s a place I will likely never have the opportunity to visit, but through your wonderful post and pictures, it’s great to now be educated about it!
Great shots. Love the purple glass. I have a piece of it – and I told a friend about it and he didn’t believe me. (!) He said there was no way glass would turn purple. Sadly this was before cell phones/google, so I couldn’t just whip out my phone and prove I was right!
What great photos and interesting place! I loved the purple glass, it would have been perfect for the #52Snapshots last week. I am always so thankful when someone can save history or the past. We learn so much from it. I watch American Pickers they are always coming across people that have made little towns from buildings they saved that would have otherwise been lost. Right now I am just sick to my stomach about an old building that will be torn down in my neighborhood. I am assuming that someone is going to salvage the marble, light fixtures and other architectural items. Its just frustrating when you have to depend on someone else to save it because you don’t have the resources. After seeing your pictures I think I’m going to see if I can get in to take some before its too late.
Such an interesting post and your pictures were perfect! It is wonderful that the history is being preserved.
Hmmmm…in that dry climate, I wonder how often the bathtub water got changed ;-)
Every one of the 24 is a delight, I would have a difficult time whittling down
What an amazing place! That purple doorknob is just stunning!
That was super cool! I was struck that there was 1 church but 5 bars in a one-mile radius! I love all that mining memorabilia – we have lots of old delapidated mines around here, with piles of “garbage” around them. There is a mining museum in our town. I think that I ought to check it out based on your amazing post! Maybe my nephews would like it.
I’m sorry we didn’t return to KOFA to boondock. I really wanted to visit this place. The owners did an amazing job recreating the times. You did such a great job with capturing the beauty and sharing the little treasures. I look forward to seeing it in the future. Thanks for the tour:)
That’s so awesome and it’s my cup of tea too! I love wandering through old places and learning about their history.