Ancient volcanic and seismic activity in today’s Arizona created the Superstition Mountains and the valuable mineral deposits buried within. But their most valuable resource—gold—wasn’t discovered there until the early 1890s. That, along with the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, created a gold rush fever. In 1892, Goldfield, AZ, sprung up almost overnight.
The gold rush lasted for about five years. Goldfield’s economy collapsed and it became a ghost town. Although there was an unsuccessful attempt to revive it in the early 20th century, a fire signaled the town’s death knell in 1943, when 60% of its buildings were destroyed.
Goldfield may have been down, but it would get back up. It was resurrected on a nearby five-acre tract of land by entrepreneurs and opened for business in 1988 as a Western theme park. Goldfield offers visitors all the trappings of a 19th century Wild West experience—or at least the Hollywood version of one.
Visitor experiences include guided tours of the Mammoth Mine beneath the town, rides on the Superstition Mountain Narrow Gauge Railroad, horseback riding, staged gunfights in the street (always a crowd favorite), a bordello (don’t get too excited, it’s a history tour), Sunday services in a replica church for those who visited the bordello, and that Old West standby—a live reptile exhibit.
Entrance to the park is free, but there’s a separate fee for some of the activities. So, pardner, plan your day at Goldfield on that new-fangled internet at Goldfield Ghost Town.