Vulture Mine Ghost Town School

Vulture Mine Ghost Town School and playground is a reminder of times past.

The Vulture Mine began in 1863 when Henry Wickenburg, a prospector from California’s gold rush discovered a quartz outcropping containing gold. To support the men and their families the small mining town of Vulture City developed. The town once had a population of several thousand citizens with such amenities as a brothel, mess hall, post office and school. 

In 1942 during World War II a number of gold mines were completely shut down. One of the reasons gold mines were shut down was the fact the mines were regarded as ‘non-essential’ as they did not produce minerals that were of use to war.

As a result, the government put its focus on producing copper, iron and other metals in order to boost the production of equipment for the war. These were “essential metals,” important for the production of ships, tanks, airplanes and bullets. Since Vulture Mine was not in this category it was closed and the town was abandoned.


We visited Vulture Mine Ghost Town in spring of 2010 and captured the photograph below.


Fast forward to 2019. Vulture Mine Ghost Town has now been split into a modern working mine and Vulture City. The new owners of Vulture City are restoring the town with many different exciting projects.

Vulture Mine School was built at the far north east part of town so it is now on the other side of the current mining claim. So the school now finds itself alone on BLM land. Since the mining company has constructed large dirt burms around the property blocking the old road for privacy, finding the school is a more of a challenge.

On our latest visit, the Vulture Mine school is still standing but time is taking a toll on the building and the desert has overtaken the seesaw. However the slide and the swings are still there.

Vulture Mine School Playground

As you can see in the photograph above the swings are in good shape, and the ground under them is clear of any plants. So are the ghosts of the children that attended this school still going out to play?

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