There are many reasons why people choose to move to Arizona today. The mild winters, safety from most natural disasters, and a lower cost of living than California continue to draw people to Arizona from all over the country and the world.
As we look back on 100 years of statehood, it's important to remember the reasons why people came here in the first place. One of the most common reasons was simply: gold.
The search for the soft, yellow metal has lured countless numbers of people to search every corner of the state. The evidence of this gold-lust can still be found today in the form of mines, holes, shafts, and adits.
One such mine is located right here in North Phoenix! At 16th street just south of Deer Valley Road the remains of the Union Mine are hidden against the hillside.
The mine is a 75-foot deep vertical shaft that was worked in 1881. According to the website MinDat.org, the mineralization here was a 3.5 foot wide vein of gold! Today, the shaft is surrounded by a fence and numerous warning signs.
Walking around near the mine, I found numerous rusted bolts, old cans, and other artifacts in the area. This seems like an excellent place to go with a metal detector. Who knows what treasures might lie just beneath the top soil!
According to the Arizona State Mine Inspector's office, there are tens of thousands of mines in Maricopa County alone. Many of them have been filled in or fenced off in the interest of public safety. These mines are very dangerous and you should never enter any abandoned mine, even if it looks safe.
I write about them today because they are a reminder of Arizona's early days when treasure-seekers headed out to seek their fortunes, and a reason why people decided to settle here generations ago.