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Vulture Mine Ghost Town School and playground

Vulture Mine Ghost Town School and playground

Posted by Keith Peters on Nov 8th 2020

Vulture Mine Ghost Town School and playground is a reminder of times past

The Vulture Mine began in 1863 when Henry Wickenburg, a prospector from California's gold rush discovered a quartz outcropping containing gold. To support the men and their families the small mining town of Vulture City developed. The town once had a population of several thousand citizens with such amenities as a brothel, mess hall, post office and school.

In 1942 during World War II a number of gold mines were completely shut down. One of the reasons gold mines were shut down was the fact the mines were regarded as ‘non-essential’ as they did not produce minerals that were of use to war.

As a result, the government put its focus on producing copper, iron and other metals in order to boost the production of equipment for the war. These were “essential metals,” important for the production of ships, tanks, airplanes and bullets. Since Vulture Mine was not in this category it was closed and the town was abandoned.


Vulture Mine School and seesaw

Vulture Mine School


Fast forward to now, and we find that the Ghost Town is now in three sections. First, the mine is now a modern working gold mine. Second the townsite is under new management, and they are busy restoring some of the buildings and adding new items. Finally, as the Vulture Mine School was built at the far northeast part of town, it is now on the other side of the current mining claim. So the school now finds itself alone on BLM land. Since the mining company has constructed large dirt berms around the property, blocking the old road for privacy, finding the school is challenging.

Vulture Mine School
Vulture Mine School 2019

On our latest visit, the Vulture Mine school is still standing but time is taking a toll on the building and the desert has overtaken the seesaw. However the slide and the swings are still there.

Vulture Mine School Playground

As you can see in the photograph above the swings are in good shape, and the ground under them is clear of any plants. So are the ghosts of the children that attended this school still going out to play?

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