History

Investigation: Silver King Ghost Town and Mine
Dates:
11.4.2010
Location: Near Superior, Arizona
Web resource: ghosttowns.com

Residing within the desolate central Arizona landscape is a slice of western days past: The Silver King Ghost Town and Mine. Almost stolen from a vintage western movie set, Silver King has everything a once industrious mining town could offer: A beautiful southwest countryside, decayed carcasses of homes and commercial structures, and an overwhelming sensation you are not alone as the warm wind brushes past your face and whistles through surrounding trees. The town beckons anyone curious to discover its residual energy 110 years after the area’s demise.

A modern ghost town
Photos courtesy of Jack San Felice from the book When Silver Was King

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The Silver King Ghost Town and Mine is an inactive silver mine located ten miles from Superior, Arizona in the United States. The richest silver mine in Arizona, it produced an estimated $42 million worth of silver ore between 1875 and 1900.

The mine is located on four patented claims in Comstock Wash, about 1 mile west of Kings Crown Peak and about 3 miles north of Superior, in sec. 24, T1S, R12E.

A successful silver mine, circa 1885.

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Discovery
The Silver King Mine traces its beginning to 1870, during the Apache Wars. General George Stoneman, desiring an easier access route to Apache strongholds, had ordered the construction of a road from Camp Picketpost into the Pinal Mountains. The road became known as the Stoneman Grade. A soldier named Sullivan, who was assigned to the construction, discovered some heavy black rocks that flattened when struck. Interested in the rock, he collected several samples but did not mention this to his fellow soldiers. After completing his term of service, Sullivan went to work on a ranch owned by Charles Mason. Sullivan routinely showed off the rocks, known as “nugget silver” to prospectors of the region, but never divulged the location of the discovery. After a time, Sullivan disappeared and was assumed to have been killed by Apache.

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Mason, joining with Benjamin W. Regan, William H. Long, Isaac Copeland, and another companion went searching for the location of Sullivan’s find. On March 21, 1875 the group was attacked by Apache and the unnamed companion was killed and buried near the summit of Stoneman Grade. Following the burial, one of the group’s mules strayed. Copeland was sent to find the wayward animal, locating it near the base of Stoneman Grade. Upon finding the mule, Copeland noticed an unusual rock outcropping and upon closer inspection saw markings that had been left by Sullivan. Sullivan’s find had been located.

Two hotels were constructed at Silver King with owners who had great dislike for the other. One day they had a shootout to see who would monopolize the hotel business in Silver King. Both were bad shots and missed each other but it is rumored that one was forced to take his meals standing up for the next few days.

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The Silver King (above) and Williams (below) hotels were constructed at Silver King with owners who had great dislike for each other. One day they had a shootout to see who would monopolize the hotel business in Silver King. Both were bad shots and missed each other but it is rumored that one was forced to take his meals standing up for the next few days.

Geology and mineralization
Mineralization is hosted in Pinal Schist and in Silver King Quartz Diorite. Veinlets are interlaced in quartz diorite porphyry and Pinal Schist. The orebody formerly cropped out at the top of a little hill about 75 feet high, composed of heavily-altered yellowish-brown to greenish-gray porphyry. Stromeyerite and highly argentiferous tetrahedrite with some acanthite were the most important ore minerals in the upper levels, and argentiferous sphalerite had become the principal ore mineral in the lower levels of the mine.

Two hotels were constructed at Silver King with owners who had great dislike for the other. One day they had a shootout to see who would monopolize the hotel business in Silver King. Both were bad shots and missed each other but it is rumored that one was forced to take his meals standing up for the next few days.

Wells Fargo agent, Larkin, assumes the position as he guards Silver King riches.

Operation
Following a highly favorable assayer report, the four surviving partners divided ownership of the find equally. Initially the mine’s ore was shipped directly to San Francisco for processing. Shortly thereafter, a smelting operation was set up several miles from the mine along the Arnett Creek. A mining camp, which grew into Pinal City, quickly formed at the processing site.

Two hotels were constructed at Silver King with owners who had great dislike for the other. One day they had a shootout to see who would monopolize the hotel business in Silver King. Both were bad shots and missed each other but it is rumored that one was forced to take his meals standing up for the next few days.

A grouping of residents from the town posing for the camera.

Initially operating the mine together, Copeland sold his interest to Mason in June 1876 with Long selling his interest several months later to Regan. Mason and Regan, who had spent US$80,000 to buy out their partner’s interests, later sold their interests to James M. Barney for US$250,000 and US$300,000 respectively.

The operations continued until 1888, when a combination of deteriorating ore quality and lower silver prices prompted the mine to close. Sporadic, small-scale mining continued into the 1980s. Recorded production: 5,943,157 oz. Ag with a period value of $6,526,094 (1875-1889); and 232,764 oz. Ag, period value of $252,674 (1918-1928).

Investigation 

Enter content about your trip and investigation

 

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Silver King property manager, Jack San Felice (left) treks through the land looking for evidence of spirit energy. The ghost town is located ten miles (an eighteen mile drive) from Superior, Arizona and receives no municipal supplied electricity or has cell phone towers on the land. Other than one electricity generator, it is home to no modern machinery or equipment.

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A remnant from a town that produced the highest yield of silver in Arizona history.

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A prime example of late 19th / early 20th century mechanical engineering.

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A beautiful Arizona sunset with oriignal vintage mining equipment in the foreground.

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This shack represents one of only a few remaining structures in the town.

The sdGH team would like to thank Jack San Felice for his hospitality as we investigated the historic Silver King Ghost Town and Mine and would like to introduce him to you. Not only is Mr. Felice the current property manager, but an accomplished author of several books detailing the wild history of the great southwest including the silver mine.

book1Superstition Cowboys by Jack San FeliceJack San Felice
Originally from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Jack San Felice retired as a Police Captain from a 30-year career in law enforcement. Jack has been an avid hiker, horseback rider, four-wheeler, and serious researcher of the Superstition Mountains and nearby areas for over fifteen years. He is the author of the When Silver Was King (about Arizona’s famous 1880s Silver King Mine, Lost El Dorado of Jacob Waltz (about Arizona’s famous Lost Dutchman Mine) Lore of the Superstitions; Treasure Trails of the Superstition; Squaw Peak- A Hikers Guide, and numerous short stories about the Superstition Mountains. His new book, Superstition Cowboys, is Treasure Trails of the Superstitions by Jack San Feliceabout the Cowboys of Arizona’s mysterious and rugged Superstition Mountains. Jack lives with his wife Winnie in Mesa, Arizona. They have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

book3Although Jack has had paranormal experiences since he was 9-years old, it wasn’t until 2009 that he became actively involved with a group of paranormal investigators called Arizona Ghost To Ghost. Jack was approached and asked to take some of them to the historic Silver King Mine to allow them to conduct paranormal research at the site of the old mine, and the Old Silver King Town site. Well, this sparked his interest and since then he has participated in numerous Lost El Dorado of Jacob Waltz by Jack San Felice“ghost hunting” or paranormal experiences. During 2010 he saw, as well as documented, some “otherworldly spirits” and paranormal experiences at the Old town of Florence, Arizona and at the Silver King Mine and the old Pinal City Historic cemetery. They included visual “entities” and lights that turned on in response to direct questions at the scene of a 1800s historic gunfight and an old 1800s jail where two holdup men were lynched, as well as voice recordings.

Books can be purchased here:book2
:: Amazon.com :: Jack San Felice direct

As Silver King landowner and author Jack San Felice makes his way through the town’s grounds, a possible dark mass appears on camera at the same time team electronic environmental equipment register readings and an EVP is recorded.

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