Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Interned Presentation

Version 010210-2-LB


POLAND, Arizona



By Loren Bykerk


Map by Neal Du Shane



This tailing dump would have been from both the mining operation as well as the tunneling project. The tunnel was originally a gold mine. Later it was extended to Walker for the purpose of transporting ore to the smelters, probably those at Mayer and/or Humboldt. Most of the ore from Walker was already milled and was most likely from the Sheldon Mine. 


They processed the ore in a stamp mill by the mine and mixed it with water into a slurry and piped it down to the filter plant through a wooden pipe. After the water was extracted at the filter plant, they loaded it onto the narrow gauge ore cars, transported it through the tunnel to the railroad at Poland for shipment to a smelter in Humboldt or Mayer.


I've attached a picture of a mine and mill located somewhere near Poland. The photograph was probably taken by my grandmother with her Brownie No. 2 camera. 


There is a book that was written in 1967 by Alvina N. Potter called "The Many Lives of the Lynx" and is about Walker.  In it, she has several references to a Poland Mill, as well as other Poland and "Big Bug" people and places. The other picture is one of the Poland end of the tunnel that appeared in the Prescott newspaper back in 1984. I still have the newspaper around somewhere(?).


“Mill & Mine Poland way”


I reviewed my mother's short autobiography to refresh my memory regarding her mentions of Big Bug.  She actually refers to Big Bug Creek several times but to Big Bug only once and that was to compare it to Walker.  She stated her disappointment that Walker was not large the city she had imagined it was, and that it was not unlike Big Bug.  In order to have made that comparison, the place she had just moved from would have had tall pine trees and a cooler climate similar to Walker and not like the area closer to Poland Junction. My grandparents lived at Poland from 1926 until they moved to Walker in 1936. My mother was age six when they first moved there. 


By 1926, I suspect the town of Big Bug had already been abandoned and she was probably not even aware it ever existed. Even Poland had been abandoned by the time they moved there. (Seems like my grandfather, Bill Pritchett, always got there too late for the good stuff.)


Photo shows my grandparents, William (Bill) Ferris Pritchett, Ina Laurie and my uncle Worth Everett as they were leaving Bill's blacksmith shop that was located in the 1500 block of East Van Buren in Phoenix, to head to the hills in search of gold.  The picture was taken sometime in 1918, prior to my great uncle John Lester's death in November of that year. John is standing on the left.


I suspect my mother probably referred to the whole Poland area as Big Bug because of its relation to Big Bug Creek and Big Bug Mesa.

Map by Neal Du Shane


Now, after seeing pictures posted on your website as well as others posted, I'm convinced that the town-site of Big Bug is the one near the coordinates that you gave me.  Poland is located in a canyon and is high enough in elevation to support the growth of pine trees.  Also, I do not remember ever seeing any foundations at Poland.

I have only been to Poland four times, and only once was with my mother about 35 years ago. Much has changed since then and I doubt that I could even locate where their homestead was. Just as with all mining towns, I'm sure there were burials but I'm not knowledgeable of their location(s). 

I've attached three photographs of what I believe to be the same truck over a period of perhaps 10 years.

My mother said they first went to Quartzsite and Buckhorn, but settled at a mine north of Wickenburg that my mother knew as the Vulcan Mine. This is where they were living when my mother was born in 1919. They moved from there in 1926 to Poland. 

“Poland Move 1926”


It's difficult to tell for certain, but the truck on the far left looks to me to be the same truck. This picture was taken at the Kaywood Ranch that was located (I believe) somewhere along the Poland road. The men were said to Bill's moving crew.


I don't have any pictures of the truck after their move to Walker in 1936, however there is one photograph taken in the late 30's or early 40's of the backyard of their residence in Walker where a wheel with wooden spokes can be seen amongst other clutter. I've wondered if it was a wheel off of that same truck?


“On our way to town – Wickenburg, Ariz

(Notice the cotton cording on the Model “T”s inside driver’s tire!)


In the above photo, my mother is on my grandmother's lap and it looks like Uncle Worth may be in the back with someone else.




For the record, the Vulcan was more properly known at the Blue Rock Mine, but also as the Genung Spring Moly Mine and the Blue Rock Vein.  It is located at N34 01’ 20” by W112 34’ 35”.  It was primarily a lead and molybdenum mine, with lesser quantities of copper, gold and silver. This mine is less than one mile SE of the Camp B Mine, below Buckhorn Road. Allan Hall APCRP Certified Coordinator.


Editors Note: Based on the reported population at Poland during the peak of the mining activity of eight hundred people there is the possibility of eighty individual graves or a long lost cemetery with eighty graves. APCRP is currently researching this Pioneer Cemetery at Poland.


All Photographs courtesy Loren Bykerk.


Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Interned Presentation

Version 010210-2-LB


WebMaster: Neal Du Shane




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