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Legends in the Santa Catalina Mountains
By Robert Zucker
Legends of lost mines, lost cities and a lost mission in the Santa Catalina Mountains, southof Tucson, have been passed down by word of mouth for generations. The most famous legend, the Iron Door Mine, helped launch the early American hunt for gold in the 1860s.
A substantial amount of gold, and other minerals, has been extracted from the Catalina mountains over the last few centuries. The discoveries of early Spanish placer mining sites and ruins in the mountains only fueled speculation about those riches that may have been left behind. Since the first Americans arrival to Tucson, the folklore prompted many explorations into the mountains. Adventure seekers combed the mountains looking for lost Spanish treasures and digging for minerals.
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The Arizona gold rush brought early American prospectors, and investors, to the Santa Catalina’s after the 1840s California Gold Rush.
They heard stories about the lost treasures of Spaniards, the legend of the Iron Door Mine and of gold dripping from the Canyon of Gold the Cañada del Oro.
There were numerous strikes of gold and copper, but only a few claimed to find the Iron Door Mine. It was still enough for investors, including William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars towards massive mining ventures.
One factor stood in the way of these aspiring prospectors the Apache Indians who guarded the mountains and defended it with blood for hundreds of years.
After the Apaches were finally subdued, the hub of early American mining in the Catalina Mountains developed in four areas around the Santa Catalina Mountains: the Cañada del Oro, the town of Oracle, Marble Peak near Mt. Lemmon and along the southern base near La Ventaña.
Not far from these sites are the remains, and reports, of previous occupations.
"Treasures of the Santa Catalinas"
Now Available on amazon.com!
Published by BZB Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 91317
Tucson, Arizona 85752
Printed by CreateSpace, an Amazon.com Company.
Available from Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com and other retail outlets.
Printed in the United States of America.
Email author and publisher: [email protected]
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