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Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Internet Presentation

Version 123011

 

Lehman Mill

 

By Todd Zuercher

 

I remarked to several people recently that our quest of finding Lehman's Mill in the Bradshaw’s had taken on some similarities to Coronado's search for the Seven Cities of Cibola.  Well, today I am proud to say we found it!  This little dot on the topo map has intrigued me for years. A few years ago Paul and I found something that we thought was the mill, but turned out to be another leftover from bygone days in the Bradshaw’s. Last month, Neal and I and a few other APCRP'ers tried to come in from the south near Copperopolis and Ike Bradshaw's Grave. Foiled again by Google Earth . . . . Two weeks ago, Kevin Hart from APCRP got VERY close but missed the last turn down into the canyon where the mill is located. 

 

Today our merry band of adventurers was 4 vehicles strong: Kevin in his Jeep CJ, Robin and I in Broncitis, Neal on his quad and Gary on his quad. We left Lake Pleasant at 8 sharp and headed north along the Cow Creek Road. 

 

Between the Crown King Trail turnoff and the turnoff for the road to Tussock Spring, we stopped, at my request, to view the hilltop where a gorgeous home was very nearly completed in the 1970s by a Dr. Davidson and his wife Betty from Phoenix. Boasting 13 fireplaces, inlaid glass and rock work and beautiful woodwork, it was nearly finished and apparently a sight to behold when the doctor suddenly died. Betty never lived there and for many years the home was a favorite visiting spot for n'er-do-wells, who managed to completely trash it, as is the custom with most nice remote treasures in AZ.  It is now thankfully blocked from public access, except for some helicopter pilots who land their craft near the remains. We visited with "Tato", one of the caretakers of the ranch buildings at the bottom of the hill, today and heard about the home and their efforts to keep people from visiting it. Hopefully someday we'll get a chance to visit it. Neal, in typical fine form, pulled a lot of information out of this interesting woman in a very short time.

 

Dr. Davidson abandoned home. Photo courtesy Gary Grant

 

Onward and upward, after stopping to retrieve Gary's wallet in the middle of the trail, we soon found ourselves at Tussock Spring where interesting history took place back in 1922. 

 

http://www.apcrp.org/Tussock%20Spring/1_Tussock_Spring_MASTER_020110.htm

 

Neal Du Shane writes,

 

Betty Davidson still owns the ranch and lives in Phoenix. Mrs. Elston (Tato) who now lives with her husband Harold (Pee Wee) at the ranch as caretakers had a version of the account at Tussock Springs that was different than what research had uncovered. Local Urban Legend has it that Mr. McClure arrived home early from an extended absence to find Mrs. McClure and Mr. Bourne together. It so enraged Mr. McClure he shot and killed Mr. Bourne and during Mr. McClure’s fit of anger, he killed the Bourne/McClure baby with an ax. This act so enraged Mrs. McClure she shot and killed Mr. McClure. While this is an interesting and possible twist to the incident, it doesn’t follow the testimony of individuals in Wagner prior to the shootings as to the placement of the individuals. Mrs. McClure’s account of the incident leaves one to ponder what really happened that day. It is likely we may never know the actual facts of the double homicide.

 

Todd continues,

 

This was Robin's first visit to the area so we gave her the nickel tour and checked to make sure the stones we placed there in late 2009 were still there. They were and are undisturbed. 

 

Breathtaking views abound on the way to Lehman Mill

Photo courtesy Gary Grant

Looking southeast toward Phoenix some 50 miles distance

Photo courtesy Gary Grant

 

 

From here we motored northwest for several miles before turning south again, high on a ridge to the west of the Tussock Spring area. After dropping off the ridgeline, we soon came to the spot where Neal and Kevin said we needed to drop into the canyon near the alleged site of the mill. The road/trail we were on showed absolutely zero signs of traffic (so rare in the Bradshaw’s these days) - steep, rutted, and faint. Perfect! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail down into the canyon and in the canyon itself is narrow, off-camber, rocky, and steep at points. A CJ and an early Bronco can barely squeeze through - definitely not full-size territory. Robin and I kept busy batting away bushes from intruding into our windows. At one point, she asked, "Is this why you don't paint your truck?"  I laughed and nodded. After what was probably a little more than a mile, we came to an old corral and a windmill (not shot up in the fine AZ tradition). We knew we were close! Neal had been scouting ahead and led us to a small clearing where we all parked and started exploring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parking abounds at Lehman Mill. Photo Neal Du Shane

Lehman Mill Boiler, west side of creek. Photo Neal Du Shane

Cement structure on west side. Photo Neal Du Shane

Water holding structure. Photo Neal Du Shane

 

This area was across the creek to the west of the Lehman Mill site and had an old boiler and miscellaneous mining equipment scattered about. Logically it would indicate the Stamp Mill would be on this side as there is water from a well to supply the steam engine.

 

Lehman Mill,

Photo Neal Du Shane

Lehman Mill Boiler. Photo Neal Du Shane

Machinery.

Photo Neal Du Shane

Lehman Mill and structures. Photo Neal Du Shane

Lehman Mill.

Photo Todd Zuercher

Holding tanks.

Photo Neal Du Shane

Lehman Mill operation.

Photo Neal Du Shane

Lehman Mill Close-up.

Photo Neal Du Shane

Ore holding.

Photo Neal Du Shane

 

 

The head-frame/ore chute in the pictures is remarkably intact. We found several circular concrete cisterns/tanks nearby where chemicals or water were probably used in the processing of the ore. We also found some evidence also of buildings and dwellings nearby, along with the boiler seen in one picture. 

 

Where the ore came from or what it was exactly is a bit of a mystery as we know of no mines/shafts/prospects in the immediate area and there is no evidence of a road that ore would've been brought in on. Copperopolis is about a mile to the south but the old road connecting the two sites is in poor repair and impassable.

 

A neat place - not often visited.

 

I'm glad to have finally found it!

 

Thanks Kevin and Neal for organizing the trip.

 

Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Internet Presentation

Version 123011

 

WebMaster: Neal Du Shane

n.j.dushane@comcast.net

 

Copyright © 2012 Neal Du Shane
All rights reserved. Information contained within this website may be used
for personal family history purposes, but not for financial profit or gain.
All contents of this website are willed to the Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project (APCRP).

 

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