A Ghost Town and Downtown Wickenburg

Wickenburg, AZ

This blog is a continuation of our previous post, “Gold Mines and Crested Saguaros,” describing our one day visit to the Wickenburg area.  After visiting an abandoned mine area surrounded by Saguaro, we returned to the main road, turned left and continued to the old abandoned town of Stanton.

Once known as Antelope Station, Stanton experienced gold rush fever in 1863 in the form of a gold strike. What was once a stage stop, transformed over night into a western boomtown thanks to its rather large deposits of gold.  Legend has it that when a prospector left his group to go round up some mules on a nearby hill, he literally stumbled on gold nuggets lying right atop the soil. The subsequent strike, on the aptly named Rich Hill, allowed the group to dig up $100,000 of gold in less than six months.   By the 1890s, Stanton was a legitimate community filled with miners, their families, a general store, a stamp mill, a hotel, a boarding house, and several other buildings. Unfortunately, the town declined and eventually died out when the gold had dried up.  Today, Stanton is owned by the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association and has been transformed into a campground for RVs.

The RV park surrounds many buildings that remain from the original town.

A sign next to one of the original buildings provides information about the history of the area.

The RV park has a wide variety of vehicles, from large modern motorhomes, to small old trailers like pictured below, to tents.

It appears that almost everyone in the park is there to see if they can get lucky by working a small mineral claim on the surrounding federal land.  ATVs, used to haul rocks back from the hills, are everywhere.  Most of the RVs have mining equipment around them to process the ore.   Below is a picture of equipment located behind a fifth wheel trailer.

After a quick tour of Stanton, we returned to Wickenburg to check out the historic downtown area.  The streets are filled with many small clothing and jewelry shops.  At various locations in the downtown area you find bronze sculptures of historical figures.  Press a button near the figure and you’ll hear a bit of Wickenburg history.

Vaquero with Guitar (and friend on the bench)

Miner Leading his Donkey

Cowboy and Dancehall girls (the one in the center is called Snakehips Marsha)

Small bronzes of local area desert creatures are located along the sidewalks between the major sculptures.  Two are pictured below.

Gila Monster

Our stopover here was mainly to visit the old mines and find the Crested Saguaros.  We didn’t realize that Wickenburg was such an interesting town.

Next we are off to Las Vegas ! ! !

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6 Responses to A Ghost Town and Downtown Wickenburg

  1. Marsha says:

    Cool header photo.

    Never heard of this RV park. Did you talk to anyone that hit it big? Sounds like a place you two should spend a few days at and make your millions.

    Looks like Vaquero was serenading his friend, but the friend didn’t understand Spanish.

    You can call me Snakehips the next time we meet. I will show you how it is done.

    We really enjoyed our visit to Wichenburg also. We were with friends that showed us some hidden treasures.

    VEGAS BABY!

  2. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    That is way cool! Loved the old camper at the campground. I wonder if anyone has hit it big? Wickenburg sounds like a place I want to visit. Thanks!

    Be safe . Can’t wait to see Las Vegas…haven’t been there yet eeither!

    • placestheygo says:

      It really was a very neat day…all thanks to the Bayfield Bunch who took this trip a while back. Al’s directions were perfect.

      I guess anyone who hit it rich moved on. Most of those in the “RV Park” looked like they hadn’t found much.

  3. Whoo, another reason to come back to Arizona. You know we just passed this town from Q not knowing it has some character to it.

    • placestheygo says:

      It is a cute stop over. Constellation Park where we stayed is a self service $5 a night dry camping park. The spots are nicely placed. It is across from the rodeo grounds. Just outside town.

  4. patricka51 says:

    There is no RV Park there as you describe. The campground you are referring to is part of the LDMA as you stated but it is a gold mining camp part of the GPAA/LDMA they are the Gold Prospectors Association of America, and the Lost Dutchman Mining Association. They are headquartered in Temecula, Ca. If you get the Outdoor Channel on your TV as part of Cable or your satellite service package look for the Gold Fever TV Show with Tom Massie

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