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Friday, February 8, 2013

Wild West Photo Friday: Pinal, Arizona, a lost boom town

I've been working on the maps for a book on Wyatt Earp and the Arizona War for Osprey Publishing. One place I couldn't put on the map with any exactitude was this town--Pinal, Arizona.

Pinal was established in the 1870s to mill the ore for the nearby Silver King mine. Pinal's post office opened in April 10, 1878. The mine was a rich one and the town quickly grew to about 2,000 residents. It even had its own newspaper called the Pinal Drill. The town benefited from its good location about halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, making it more accessible than some other mining towns.

The town had all the usual miners, prospectors, gamblers, and ladies of the evening. One of them was Mattie Blaylock, Wyatt Earp's common-law wife. In Tombstone, Wyatt had fallen in love with the beautiful actress Sadie Marcus and left her. The jilted Mattie moved to Pinal and --> went into a quick spiral of decline as a drug-addicted prostitute. She killed herself on July 3, 1888.

Unfortunately, silver prices slumped and by 1890 there were only ten people left in Pinal. The post office closed November 28, 1891. Now nothing remains of this old boom town. Even the exact location is in dispute. Imagine that--an entire town that nobody alive remembers. Probably there's nobody alive who even once met someone who remembers it. It's gone.

The top photo shows ore wagons from the Silver King mine at the Pinal mills, circa 1885. The bottom shot is a southeast view of the mill and town of Pinal, circa 1880.

For another shot of Pinal, check out my post on creative foraging in the Civil War. That blacksmith shop is in Pinal.

Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

1 comment:

  1. Would be worth searching for it. Scary to think it could just vanish over time.


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