Entertainment Magazine: Books

"Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains"

“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.” [1]

By Robert Zucker

One of the greatest treasures in the world– the Santa Catalina Mountains– is hidden in Tucson’s own back yard. More than their beauty, these mountains hold deep secrets and some amazing mysteries.

The famous legend of the Iron Door Mine, a forgotten mission and a lost city somewhere in the Catalinas, has lured prospectors and treasure hunters for hundreds of years. The discoveries of early Spanish placer mining sites, stone ruins, and stories of the mountains only fueled speculation about the riches still left behind. Common knowledge among the locals eventually gained legendary status. Even more surprising was the abundance in gold, silver, and copper etched into the mountains.

These stories became embedded in Arizona’s early history and were spun into some sensational legends and featured in numerous literary and film adventures.

How did these legends evolve? Are there buried treasures still to be uncovered? Digging though written accounts that haven’t seen the light of day for hundreds of years as well as through the dirt in the mountains has revealed some of the secrets about the Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson, and of Arizona that one probably has never heard.

The folklore about the lost mines and the rich mineral samples collected from the mountains prompted many adventure seekers to risk their lives to prospect the hills and canyons. As they hunted for lost Spanish treasures, they found gold dripping from the Cañada del Oro– the Canyon of Gold. One obstacle that often stood in the way of those aspiring pioneer prospectors was the Apache Indians who guarded the mountains and defended them with blood for hundreds of years.

Once the hostilities were subdued, mining operations sprung up all around the Catalinas. Multi-millions of dollars worth of gold, silver and copper were extracted. Investors, including William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, committed hundreds of thousands of dollars towards massive mining ventures.

Over the last century thousands of men labored in the mountains, established small communities from their campsites, and extracted millions in valuable ore.

This book is a collection of legends, memoirs, and historical events that present a more encompassing story of the hunt for gold– and adventure– in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Comprehensive footnotes are provided for research follow up and more detailed insight.

Explore the Santa Catalinas– both their beauty and history. Then, discover how the legends may have evolved from history.

Learn the stories that lured countless prospectors to riches and failures. Many have taken their secrets to their graves. Yet, some of those secrets can still be revealed.

The Santa Catalina Mountains are not as serene as one might think.


[1] Napoleon Hill, American author who lived from 1883-1970. Best selling author of Think and Grow Rich. (1970). Aboce graphic drawn by Robert Zucker, at Mt. Lemmon, circa 1973.


"Treasures of the Santa Catalinas" is presented in three parts– each brings into focus how the mysteries and history played a role in the hunt for gold in the mountains.

The first portion, The Legendary Sites of the Santa Catalina Mountains, explores several locations. These are the infamous places, which have been connected with the legends.

The second section, The Legends of the Santa Catalinas, reveals the stories entwined with those locations– the Iron Door mine, the lost city and lost mission. The stories are examined within the historical events that occurred at the time and how they influenced the rush for gold.

The final section, The Arizona Gold Rush, details the successes and failures of prospecting and mining gold, silver and copper minerals in the Catalina mountains.

These sections bring the once forgotten story of the Santa Catalina Mountains to life again.


"Treasure's of the Santa Catalina Mountains"
Published by BZB Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 91317
Tucson, Arizona 85752

ISBN-13: 978-1-939050-05-2
ISBN-10: 1-939050-05-7

Printed by CreateSpace, an Amazon.com Company. Available for sale from Amazon.com, CreateSpace eStore and other retail outlets. Printed in the United States of America. © 2014.


"Treasures" now available at amazon!

The detailed history and legends of the Catalinas is told in a 400-page paperback. Buy "Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains" online for a discount at amazon.com, at CreateSpace eStore, or locally in Tucson at the Oracle Inn, Buzz Café and other locations to be announced. Kindle: Treasures of the Santa Catalina MountainsEmail the author.



Cody Stone, gold and silver in quartzNow Available
Authentic Cody Stone of the Santa Catalinas

Gold & Silver in Quartz

The Santa Catalina Mountains are the only authentic source of Cody Stone - from Buffalo Bill Cody's own mines near Oracle - with certification from the Flint Carter Collection. Call Flint Carter at 520-289-4566 Email: [email protected]


Robert Zucker has published several Tucson, Arizona-based tabloid newspapers– Youth Alternatives, Youth Awareness Press, Tucson Teen, The Magazine and Entertainment Magazine.

All rights are reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher.
Permission is granted to use quotes and cite references to the contents in this book with proper credit noted: “Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains,” © 2015 Robert E. Zucker.”


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