Saturday, 26 February 2011

Ghost town & Petroglyphs

Tuesday was the day we decided we’d finally get around to hiking along the San Pedro to the remains of Charleston. Charleston was once a prosperous town and home to most of the workers who daily crossed the river to work in the mills in Millville.

We took the Sierra Vista road out of Tombstone, our original intention was to park by the river, but we found a parking lot complete with trail signs and information boards.

One of the things one information board told us was that the only remnants of Charleston are a few adobe walls mostly hidden under mesquite and that the army used it as a bombing range in the 1940’s. The same board also advised that the BLM actively discourage people from trying to find Charleston but it doesn’t say why. It was a lovely sunny day and we didn't want to battle through mesquite, so we opted to visit Millville and petroglyphs instead.

It’s hard to imagine but this ruin

Was once a magnificent house, full of the latest furnishings, where people gathered to enjoy magnificent parties and dinners, the picture is from the information board.

This is all that remains of one of the mills in Millville.

Working in the mills was a dangerous business, especially for those who worked in one of the best paying jobs with mercury. During the processing they breathed in vaporised mercury which caused among other things, loss of control, uncontrollable shaking, bone loss, fits of rage and death. There is still no cure for mercury poisoning.

One of the reasons there are so few remains in most ghost towns is the simple fact that the lumber and nails used to build the miners simple homes was expensive, so when the mines died, people dismantled their homes, carted them away and rebuilt them in the next boom town.

After looking around the remains we followed the trail down to the petroglyphs. Archaeologists spend time studying rock art but no-one is exactly sure of their meaning.

As we retraced our steps across the wash we noticed something further down,

it turned out to be the remains of a car that had been washed away, moral of that story is don’t ever try to drive through a wash if it has running water in it.

Have fun, we are!

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