Thursday, May 14, 2015

2015 Tucson: Kentucky Camp (5//14/2015)

Thursday, May 14, 2015 (continued)
From Patagonia, we continued on the AZ-82 highway through prime birdwatching territory, then headed north on AZ-83. We turned left on Gardner Canyon Road and right at a sign for Kentucky Camp to follow a dirt road for 5 miles. The road had been graded, but was full of ripples that could shake your teeth out if you were going too fast. It was a winding hilly road in the eastern side of the Coronado National Forest.
After parking, we had a 1/4 mile hike downhill to the "ghost town." Gold was discovered here in 1874, and separating the gold required water. Mining petered out when the distance to water sources became to great. James Stetson, a mining engineer, developed the idea of creating water reservoirs and piping the water to water cannons to shoot water at the hillsides to "mine" the gold.
Water cannon
The Santa Rita Water & Mining Company was formed, and in 1902 the headquarters and residences were built in Kentucky Camp. A 7-mile pipeline was built and operations began in 1905. Less than a year later, James Stetson "fell" out of a third story window of the Santa Rita Hotel in Tucson. The remaining partners gave up the operation in 1906, and Kentucky camp was abandoned. After the US Forest Service acquired the land in 1989, they restored the cabin that may have been Stetson's residence for rental.
James Stetson's cabin
Remains of a barn/carriage house
Gold processing building
You still needed water to separate the gold
Another cabin
Kentucky Camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
We headed back to AZ-83.
View from the hills near Kentucky Camp
The biggest tree we saw in Arizona,
probably a Platanus wrightii/Arizona Sycamore
Karen at the trunk of the Arizona Sycamore tree
We continued north on AZ-83 to I-10, and returned to Ginger's house to eat out leftover turkey cheese crisp for dinner. Ginger had baked cookies, and those that Buddy, the Australian Shepherd, did not steal, we enjoyed.

Next: Kartchner Caverns.

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