One Labor Day Weekend, we decided to visit my father, who was working at Yuma Proving Grounds at the time. We drove out to Yuma, and then on the 31st, we found the ghost town called Castle Dome, AZ.
Castle Dome was located near a rock that looked a little bit like a castle (imagine that).
Google Maps (1) shows an overhead view of the area:
Sometimes this town was referred to as Castle Dome City, which is not to be confused with Castle Dome Landing, a few miles southwest (and underwater). It was founded in around 1863, but had been a Native American mining site for many years. (2, 3)
Today, the town has many restored buildings, historical artifacts and interesting equipment from the 1800s. Should you visit Castle Dome, it is about 30 miles north of Yuma. (3)
One of the unique pieces of equipment located on site was a well-drilling machine:
Some of the machine tools were still in place, like this lathe and press that had been partially restored:
There was a blacksmith shop, complete with bellows and metalworking tools:
The site was not entirely abandoned, so there were relics from other eras as well, such as this car body, arc welder and electronic engine tester:
My son and my father exploring some of the buildings:
There were several buildings restored and many others in progress. While we looked around that afternoon, one man was working on the restoration of another building.
There was a neat turntable for moving small ore cars around, but unfortunately I only took this one photo of it. I didn’t see the mechanism that allowed it to turn.
There was a nice steam powered rock crusher on site as well.
… and a winch. I’m not sure what this did, as it was located inside of one of the buildings. It could have been used to move ore around. It did not look big enough to be the type found on the tops of the headframes.
I only managed to find one rusty boiler on site, but perhaps there were more scattered among the debris. Boilers often didn’t keep well due to the corrosive nature of the coal burned inside of them and the crummy, untreated ground water that cycled through the boiler tubes.
There was a small museum on site that had newspaper clippings and historical documents from the site. There was also a display case under a controlled atmosphere that contained the earliest know pair of Levi’s in existence. This was determined based on the rivet locations and the material. It was found in a box down in a mine shaft and had been protected from the elements for over 100 years.
I hope you enjoyed my post!
(1) Google Maps, maps.google.com, Accessed September 24, 2008.
(2) Ghost Towns.com, http://www.ghostowns.com, Accessed February 20, 2008.
(3) Arizona Tourism, http://www.arizonaguide.com/things-to-do/castle-dome-mines-museum-yuma-az, Accessed February 20, 2008.