Ghost Towns, Charleston, Arizona
Millville Ghost Town
We explored the stone ruins of Millville Ghost Town on a rainy afternoon after leaving Tombstone. The weather was brisk and rainy, but well worth the 2.5 mile trek. At the end of the trail there are 2 ruins of stone buildings and an adobe foundation.
Millville lies directly across the river from Charleston and was the mill site where the stamps of both Gird mills. At its peak Millville produced $1,380,336.97 in bullion in one year (April 1881-1882).
Charleston, the townsite for Millville where most of the mill workers and other 400+ residents lived, was founded in 1879. It prospered through the 1880's both as a residence for the mill workers and as a center for the lucrative trade with Sonora. Despite an exaggerated reputation, fostered in part by Eastern newspapers as a boisterous and "shoot-em-up" town where "gun-smoke drifted over the land," Charleston never lost a single shipment of bullion or payroll to bandits. During its heyday, Charleston boasted a school, a church, post office, meat market, livery stables, restaurants, merchandise stores (with stock valued from $50,00 - $100,000), hotels, and of course, saloons.
Once described as "tougher and livelier than Tombstone," Charleston and Millville were truly ghost towns by 1889. Abandoned when the Tombstone mines flooded in 1886 and when much of the trade with Mexico was diverted to Nogales, Charleston was occupied for a while by a Mexican population living in tents who dismantled the sidewalks, awnings, roofs, doors and partitions for firewood.