Vulture Mine

I shot this up in Wickenburg, AZ a couple years ago.  I was riding some of the dirt roads out in the wilderness and came upon an abandoned mine site.  My research suggests this was part of Vulture Mine, which was a gold mine set up by German-born prospector, Henry Wickenburg.

I found the site both marvelous and sad at the same time.  On one hand it is fascinating to see the machinery and technology used a century ago.  The wheels in this picture stood about a story high and were wrapped with cable that was probably used to pull carts up the tracks and out of the mine shaft.  Behind the camera’s point of view (and not shown in the picture) was the mine shaft which I read goes over 2,000 feet into the earth at a perfect 35% grade.

On the other hand it is a standing monument of human greed.  Humans seem to have a knack for taking what we want from the earth and leaving behind a path of ruin and destruction.  I understand that, although Vulture Mine pulled over $200 million worth of gold from the earth, founder Henry Wickenburg ultimately took his own life with a bullet to his head on the bank of the Hassayampa River.  Though he held the original claim to the mine, Wickenburg died penniless after the mine changed hands several time due to “highgrading” (theft), lack of a reliable water source, and financial scandal.