Don’t miss the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. The location of the historic Gold King Mine was originally the site of Haynes, Arizona, which in 1890, was a small suburb of the larger town of Jerome, one mile north. When the Haynes Copper Company dug a 1200-foot-deep shaft in search of copper, they were disappointed at the absence of copper, but miners hit gold instead. The site is now a musuem where visitors can see continuous demonstrations of antique mining equipment and the operation of a turn-of-the-century sawmill daily. Other highlights include walks in an authentic mine shaft, animals to pet and feed, a circa 1901 blacksmith shop, and the world’s largest gas engines.
NOTE: THIS REVIEW ONLY COVERS THE GHOST TOWN, NOT THE GOLD MINE
History gets fun and funky in Jerome and the residents there seem to like it that way! The signs marking the way out to the ghost town are the first indicator that you are headed toward an unusual experience. Once you've arrived, there's no confusion or mistake about it, the sign on the front of the place even says, "Ghost Town" in big red letters.
The admission price is nominal and once you're inside, it is quite a sight!
The sweeping view competes with other sights here but it is not to be ignored. You can see down into where the mine is and life in the distance below the mountain town. It is gorgeous and amazing. The space feels so vast. Perhaps that's because I'm from the Silicon Valley where development has filled up vast open landscapes.
I'll be honest here, there are so many cars and trucks crammed into the ghost town space that the structures of the ghost town are lost in some areas. There's a dentist office, a barber shop and a gas station that visitors could easily miss because there are so many old automobiles around them.
Despite the junkyard feel, there are many sights in this place that are interesting. These are old, historic modes of transportation so they are interesting to look at but there are so many the town feels like an after thought.
There were a few characters working in what appears to be a functional machine shop and garage. I refer to them as characters because they looked like a cross between members of Duck Dynasty and the band, ZZ Top. Strong political leanings were etched into saw blades and a mailbox on the property. Let's just say these folks are not fans of Obama!
GOATS AND CHICKENS
For a couple of bucks extra, your kids can feed the goats penned on the property . There are also chickens wandering around.
All-in-all this was an amusing place to visit, mainly because it is one of those places that makes your imagination rev. As we drove it into my husband looked at abandoned buses and tractors that had obviously been parked along the roadway for some time and asked jokingly our teenage daughter, "Where do you suppose the drivers are?" Parts of it did look like a classic horror film scenario where drivers vanish. My 11-year-old simply looked around and saw one of his favorite things --- cars!