Vulture City was once a prosperous, bustling city located in the Arizona desert. The Vulture Mine was the basis of the city, providing wealth and employment to the residents of the city built around it. The mine’s closure ultimately led the city to become the abandoned ghost town it is now.
Finding the gold mine
In 1863, Henry Wickenburg discovered a quartz outcropping containing gold in the Arizona desert. A California gold rush prospector, he quickly established a mine in the area. Located in the Sonoran Desert, the site was ripe for mining and it ultimately became the largest producing gold mine in Arizona. It didn’t take long for a city to be established surrounding the mine.
Vulture City is built around the mine
Vulture City became home to several thousand people, with estimates around 5,000 residents.
The city had the amenities you would expect of a Wild West town. It had a brothel, a post office, a mess hall, and several saloons for workers to wet their whistles. Of course, the city was also home to an array office, which is where they would assess the quality of the gold and other minerals they were digging up from the mine.
The mine is said to have produced 340,000 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver during its operational years. Such wealth allowed for the ongoing expansion of the area and is credited with founding the town of Wickenburg just 14 miles away, named after the man who began it all.
The war effort halts all mining
After almost 80 years of prosperity, Vulture City would have its first ripple into decline during the Second World War. In 1942, the War Production Board ordered the immediate shutdown of Vulture Mine. They were doing this to all non-essential mines to ensure that all of the US’s resources were focused on the war effort.
The mine appealed the shutdown and reopened shortly afterward, but with a lot less vigor than it had before. Vulture Mine continued to operate for a few years following that, but it ultimately closed.
Vulture City becomes a ghost town
The closing of Vulture Mine sealed the fate of Vulture City. As the main point of business and employment, the closure led to residents deserting the city. The buildings that made up the city and the mine itself are still standing in today, but no one lives there. Instead, Vulture City has become a tourist attraction where visitors can catch a glimpse of life in the old Wild West.