Doug and I are not really ones to go and tour local attractions, but after hearing about this mining Ghost Town we grabbed the camera gear and headed out. Castle Dome, in my opinion is a must see if you are in the Yuma area. We learned a lot about open pit mining for silver, led and ore. It is historically one of Yuma’s oldest and most productive mining towns. In addition to Silver and ore, the area was also once rich in copper and Zinc. Castle Dome Mines produced over 10 thousand tons of led, 498,000 troy ounces of silver and 7,000 troy ounces of placer gold.
We were quite surprised at the technology they used at this time, and how the people lived in this hostile desert area back in the 1863. When they first began mining, they faced a lot of hostilities with the Native Americans.
After 1878, the town had become an active supply and shipping depot for the steam boats that traveled up the Colorado River. About the same time period, the town opened a post office, sheriffs office, salons, a general store, small businesses and two hotels. At it’s height the population peeked to about 3,000 residents compared to the much smaller town of Yuma. It was an exceptionally rough town as is evident of all the stories they share of gun fights and lawless crooks flooding into the area.
In 1890, Castle Dome provided significant amounts of led for World War 1 and WW2. It was not until 1978 that the mine closed and the town was vacated. It had been left to collect cobwebs, and desert dust. In 1994, Allan Armstrong purchased Castle Dome, and turned the entire remains into the museum. While some of the 50 buildings have been restored or recreated, 7 of them ore in their original state. This historical town has been exceptionally well preserved with all of the original buildings, artifacts and mining equipment. The stories are truly fascinating, and the town is littered with amazing opportunities to grab some interesting photos. We probably spent about two hours walking through the town, and then we made our way out to see where all of the open mining pits were and a very interesting old graveyard.
Located about 48 miles north of Yuma, this one one tourist attraction I think most anyone would enjoy if you like history.