Wickenburg is a town in the Sonoran Desert known for its rich western history. It is located sixty miles northwest of downtown Phoenix. When a gold strike on the Colorado River near Yuma was made in 1862, it spurred prospectors and minors to look for minerals throughout central Arizona.
Among the gold prospectors was a Californian named Henry Wickenburg. He discovered a quartz deposit rich in gold. He staked his claim and later sold it to Benjamin Phelps. Mr. Phelps represented a group of investors who created the Vulture Mining Company.
Ranchers and farmers discovered the fertile flood plain of the Hassayampa River and settled in the area. Together with Henry Wickenburg and the miners, they helped found the community of Wickenburg in 1863. The Town of Wickenburg was incorporated in 1909.
The Vulture Mine was in operation from 1863 to 1942. It was the most productive gold mine in Arizona history. 340,00 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver were extracted from the mine during its operation. Vulture Mine has self-guided tours of the remaining buildings and mine site. Guided tour groups are sometimes scheduled. The Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce has guide details and trail information on Vulture Peak and other hiking destinations.
The Desert Caballeros Western Museum is one of the many interesting places to visit in Wickenburg. This museum is often referred to as Arizona’s most western museum. There are over 400 works of art. It is fun to walk through the turn of the century street complete with a saloon and general store. This is all inside the museum.
Take a walk down Frontier Street to see historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s, including the restored Santa Fe Depot. You may also pick up a map prepared by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce showing the location of historic buildings.