Mining Ruins, Wickenburg, Arizona
Monte Christo Mine
We explored the ruins in and around the Monte Christo Mine over the weekend and found several open shafts scattered along the hills on the drive out. We took constellation road out of Wickenburg and after 2 miles the roads began to get rough and rocky at times. A high clearance vehicle is needed to navigate and at one point to cross a few hundred yards of riverbed. With the temps soaring in the 115 range it was impossible to explore the shafts and ruins we found along the way.
This silver mine, owned by Ezra Thayer, had its camp less than a mile away from the adjoining Copper Belt Mine. The Monte Cristo Mine was originally mined by Mexicans, who were driven off by prospectors after learning they weren’t American citizens. The Mexicans had hidden the main source of ore. Crampton found the veins and tunnel for Thayer, who successfully mined high grade silver ore that was taken by wagon to Phoenix, on the old Constellation Mine Road. By 1915, after Frank Crampton had left the area, Thayer had 20-30 men putting in three shifts a day. They built a shaft that went down 1,500 feet, along with 3 miles of drifts. They found a 6-foot-wide gold vein, but Thayer blocked them out, believing that his money was safer underground than in a bank! He sold the mine in 1926. Today, ruins of this mine, which has been reopened many times, can be seen along Constellation Mine Road. Some believe there are still good deposits of gold and silver bearing ore there.