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Posts Tagged ‘Treasure’

The Lost Dutchman State Park will be closing June 3rd 2010 due to budgetary issues in Arizona! This is a beautiful state park located just outside Apache Junction at the base of the Superstition Mountains that has full campground facilities whether you’re tent camping, traveling by motorhome, or overland by Land Rover!

Numerous trailheads are accessible from the park that lead into the Tonto National Forest wilderness. In addition, the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine is famous world wide. Hidden somewhere deep in those mysterious mountains is the fortune of  a lifetime.

Whether it’s the gold discovered by Jacob Waltz, or the mines of the Peralta family… there is enough treasure hunting legend in those mountains to keep men riveted for their entire lives searching. History abounds, from the early days of the Apache indians and the days before Arizona existed as a territory, these mountains are the anchor of central Arizona and a hub of activity for treasure hunters through the present day!

So let’s all show our support for such an amazing state park that is scheduled to close due to lack of money. I just spoke with one of the rangers about the closing and she stated that they will simply lock the park and be gone. So if you would like to make a donation to save the Lost Dutchman State Park, please follow this link:

(In the comments, please restrict your donation to the Lost Dutchman State Park so the donation doesn’t get absorbed by all Arizona parks as a whole)

Arizona State Parks Foundation

Hopefully we can save this state park and maybe create a surplus for the future… after all, there’s treasure to be discovered in those mountains!

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Thanks to my father, I’ve always been a treasure hunter… it’s in my blood. I grew up in Arizona where some of the most legendary treasures are said to reside. The Lost Dutchman Mine, The Peralta Treasure, the Priest Treasure, and the Picacho Peak Treasure are but a few. I’ve found some interesting things over the years traversing numerous mountains and canyons, from Prescott to the North all the way South to the Gila River. We caretook what was left of the old ghost town named the Silver King Mine, the largest silver mine in Arizona located just outside the town of Superior in central Arizona. We restored an old stone cabin as a base of operations in addition to an old box truck he named “Brutus” which served as our motorhome during the months we spent there in the summer through a bitter cold winter… and I mean cold!

(Note: The school house at the bottom of photo is where we parked “Brutus”… it was just a flat spot on a hill when we were there. Also, We had a range mustang from here in Nevada named “Scarface” at the time, a stocky horse with a real attitude! I used to ride him all over the place including over the mountain range in the picture above)

I had built a wooden framed screen sifter where I would shovel dirt from behind the old stone dwellings used by the miners in hopes of finding anything of value. They used to throw their trash out back which made for some very interesting digging. Some of my finds consisted of old Chinese coins, the kind with the square hole in the middle, from the 1800’s used by the labores at the site. I would find scattered pieces of old copper tea boxes with orange paint and black Chinese characters, enough to assemble a complete box. As we metal detected the site, one find consisted of an old cast iron toy train car… very cool! At that time dolls were made from fabric with ceramic arms so I would find a bunch of these in the ground as well. I remember when my heart skipped a beat as I found a blue jewel the size of  a quarter, as it so happens it turned out to be glass costume jewelry! We also pulled quite a lot of silver ore from the area around the site.

I was the official backhoe of the whole operation. You see, my father operated the metal detector; and whenever there was a signal it was my job to dig! There was one instance when I dug so deep into the ground I was on my stomach looking at something that resembled a coffin. Turned out to be a partially exposed octagonal iron wheel from part of the mill. Needless to say I was less than thrilled (at the time). I did a LOT of digging during my time spent there as a kid.

But there was one particular find more valuable and precious to me than anything else. It is a sky blue bottle that I unearthed from it’s resting place over a century ago. I’ll never forget how beautiful it was sitting in the ground at an angle for so long that the water it contained created rainbow colored calcium residues that were permanently etched on the inside. I cleaned that old bottle and held on to it for a while until my Grandmother’s 70th birthday. I remember taking that bottle with my mother to a local bar hoping to get a cork that would fit so I could send it to her, full of red wine, as her birthday gift. My grandmother had kept that bottle of wine for over a decade until her death in 2000. I found it in her home while handling the necessary affairs, and it was the only thing that I wanted to return home with.

Upon my return home with the bottle, I pulled the cork and emptied the old wine to clean out the inside hoping it wasn’t stained. Completely unharmed, I happily put it on display on my bookshelf and set about researching what it was. The only clues I had were three letters stamped into the bottom (cCc). As it turns out, this bottle was manufactured in the early 1800’s by Carl Conrad and Company for another prominent company you may know as Anheuser-Busch! This bottle was not a wine bottle after all… but a beer bottle! Anheuser-Busch didn’t have the capability of bottling their own beer and used Carl Conrad and Company to provide the bottles. That is until Anheuser-Busch bought the bottling plant for themselves. The bottle is still on my bookshelf to this day containing my treasure hunting books, maps and an old smelter brick.

Another one of my prized possessions falls into the glass category also. It is an old purple shot glass from the 1800’s. What makes that so great you may ask? It’s because my father and I were hiking a large mountain in Prescott, Az. called the Bradshaw Mountains. As my dad stooped down next to the stream flowing through the pine trees to pan for gold, I sat down in exhaustion. I remember sitting on that old pine tree log as a kid watching my dad and looking down into the end of that tree trunk to find that shot glass. So imagine for a moment an entire forest of trees high upon a mountain in the middle of nowhere… and finding a shot glass from the 1800’s perfectly untouched, in the one log I chose to sit on. The very log that so long ago, an old miner drank to a hard days work. It amazes me to this day.

I’ve got many more stories, but I’ll stop here for the moment… I hope you enjoyed this one!

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