Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Presentation

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ALEXANDRA, ARIZONA

 

From “True West Magazine – January-February, 1964

 

 

 

ALEXANDRA

 

By Tom Barkdull

Photos by author

 

First in a series of little-known ghost towns untrammeled by tourists and weekend explorers. Directions are clear and all you need is a four-wheel drive, stamina and a longing for yesterday.

 

Perched precariously on the steep slope of Peck Canyon in Arizona’s Bradshaw Mountains broods the old and forgotten town of Alexandra. Named after the wife of one of the owners who laid out the town site. Alexandra flourished as a mining community during that lusty era from 1873 to 1896.

 

Today there remain eleven of the ancient houses which eighty years ago were bright with light, gay with laughter, and warm with human companionship. Their windows are now gone and their doors hang from rusty hinges. The whispering wind scampers across the verandas, through the open doors, and rustles the faded wallpaper in the empty rooms.

 

Anchored to the side of the canyon, and accessible down a flight of rickety wooden steps, the pride of the village still stands. Vacantly but proudly this house gazes with reminiscence over the worked-out mines below. It will probably be your favorite, as it is mine, with its wide roofed porch hanging dizzily but securely a sheer thirty feet above the canyon floor. From this porch you will enjoy a panoramic view unsurpassed anywhere in the state. For a hundred miles there is nothing to mar the beauty of the mountains and high desert until they merge into the haze of the far distant horizon.

 

The mines are dead – the miners are gone – but near the center of town three tunnels still open into the canyon wall. These are all that remain of the operation which reportedly produced over $1,000,000 in silver for its owners. Twisted, buckled, narrow gauge rails lead into these portals and disappear into the gloom.

 

Alexandra lies a mile off the road between Mayer and Crown King. Four and a half miles after passing through Cleator, look to your right; high on the mountain slope, near the horizon, the old buildings are clearly visible. Attempt the rocky and rugged road to the actual town site only if you are equipped with four-wheel drive. For those who do go all the way, I promise an unequaled glance into Arizona’s romantic past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editors Note: The only remaining building in the summer of 2005 was an old Store Building described in the above photo. Interestingly it was still being used as a retail store by children of the current land owners selling souvenirs of the area. Many foundations remain.

 

ALEXANDRA

 

COUNTY: Yavapai

LOCATION: 10 mi. southwest of Mayer

P.O. est. as Alexandra, Aug. 6, 1878: Discontinued March 25, 1896

 

Alexandra owed its existence to the famous Peck Mine. In June of 1875, E.G. Peck, C.C. Bean, William Cole, and T.M. Alexander were prospecting in the Bradshaw Mountains. Stopping to drink from a spring, Peck noticed a peculiar rock. He examined the mineralization, and decided to have the sample assayed. It provided to be rich in silver. The Peck claim was located and work begun.

 

Soon a townsite was laid out in “Peck Canyon” and named Alexandra in honor of Mrs. T.M. Alexander, the first lady visitor to the mine.

 

A winding mountain road was built to remote Alexandra. Prescott became the camp’s supply depot, mail routes wee established, and the towns-people soon constructed between seventy-five and a hundred buildings. There were stores, saloons, boarding houses, livery stables, a blacksmith shop, a butcher shop, and a brewery.

 

At first the ore was transported by pack train over rugged mountain trails and reduced at the Aztlan Mill. This proved to be both tedious and expensive, since the mill was located some thirty-five miles from the Peck Mine. A ten-stamp mill was installed at the mine by December, 1877, but it never did get much use. As a result of litigation problems which began in 1879 and dragged on and on, the mine was closed. People lived on hope for a while, then left.

 

Nothing remains of the former mining camp. A mile east of the Peck Mine and just below the side Alexandra the deserted Swastika Mine Building cling to the mountain slope. These building were constructed during the present century and on occasion have been mistaken for Alexandra.

 

From: Ghost Towns of Arizona, by: James E. and Barbara H. Sherman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WebMaster: Neal Du Shane

 

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