Monday, April 22, 2013


Ruby is an old mining town located West of Nogales about 4 miles north of Mexico.  Ruby is pretty unique when it come to western boom towns because it is still in really excellent condition, it has been privately owned for most of its abandonment, and those owners have spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep it up.  In this case they have done a good job, though there is only so much that can be done against the desert itself.

There are various old vehicles strewn around the site.
As you are driving along the road there is just a little sign saying Ruby, until you look over and see a large sign telling you about the days they are open and the price to get in.  It is 12 dollars for anyone 12 and over.  All the money is used to help restore the town.  So it is worth the price, even if the money was not used to help restore the town, there are very few places that have this amount of buildings you have free access to.  There were only two areas that you were asked to stay away from, I building, the old warehouse, and the hill behind the town because it is caving in due to all of the mining.
A view from one of the hills towards the do not enter hill, and the while building that you can see part of on the right hand side of the photo is the one the that you are not allowed to enter.  This photo is of the mill, assayers office, warehouse and mine shaft.
 When you first go onsite they ask you to pay the caretaker, there he makes you sign a release saying that if you get hurt on the site it is no fault of the owners, you are there of your own free will, I am including this information because it is important, this is a dangerous place, many of the buildings are barely being help up, and I was honestly shocked they are so willing to let people wander around so freely.  Also important to note is that you can drive on any of the established roads around the town.  It is quite a large area, and trying to walk it all would be quite difficult in one day.
The Caretakers home and the office, this is where you first check in, it located on top of one of the smaller hills that make up the site.

Another angle of the caretakers place and his dog, watch his dog when you go to the site, he is friendly and very willing to run in front of moving vehicles.

This is one of the houses along Town lake, which currently is nothing more than a mud puddle, the caretaker said with rain the lake fills up.

The mill...

This is what is left of a nine bad clinic and doctor's office.

This is one of two boarding houses, the other is the building you can see in the background of this photo, it is not real stable.

The back of the second boarding house.

The leaning outhouse.  This one is not to be used by the public, nor is the one by the school, however the one by the entrance and the one by the trailings are what the public has to use for potty breaks, I can now say I have used a real outhouse, which was something I never really wanted to be able to claim!

This was the last of three mercantiles, as well as the post office and a few other things.

This is a set of stairs by the trailings, it leads from one water tank to the next.

This is a view from the first house I pictured towards the smaller lake, Town Lake.

This is all that is left holding up the back wall and ceiling of of the same house from above.

A more modern kitchen in the mine supervisors house.


This is the door to the jail cell, you can enter the front room of the jail, but not this one as you can tell from the modern lock adorning this door!
This is the lower water tank, you can make out the stairs in the background.
One of the coolest things about Ruby is that there are lakes within and surrounding the town, three of the total, two which are easily accessed from the site, and one that is within a short hike.  The caretaker told us that the water was clean and safe to swim in, but after looking at it and noting the color, we were not comfortable with it, so we choose not to.  Also another thing to note is that because of the way the tailings were dumped the larger of the two town lakes has an amazing beach leading up to it, when you first drive up to it, it is liking wandering upon a sand dune in a very unexpected place.  We had a great picnic at the lakeside under a shade ramada, it was very peaceful!  After our picnic we walked along the lakeside and found tracks from coyote, javelina as well as some sort of larger bird. 
As you come down the road from the main part of town, suddenly in front of you, this is what you see.
After walking up the dune, off to the left this is the view that greets you, it was truly breathtaking.
Then when you get closer to the water you start to notice the coloration of the water, it was quite coppery, before I swam in it I would be curious to know what the metal content was of the water, before I eat any fish out of it as well. 
Lastly I saved my favorite which was the schoolhouse.  It was nicely preserved, there were still traces of the basketball court, as well as another old outhouse, this one with modern toilets, though they were broken, and at one point in the modern times they added another room and bathrooms that were almost inside.  Two of the rooms were open to walk through, one of which had been used for more modern teaching judging from the poster on the wall.  The other still had what i think was the original blackboard, as well as some interesting artifacts, all of which are original t the site according to the caretaker.  But best of all the slide was till standing, it was high, super high, but it is awesome, just a wow thing for me.

Modern posters in the third and newer classroom.

An old picnic table outside the backdoor of the school.

Outhouses with what was once modern toilets.

The second classroom.

An old piano left in the more modern locker/bath rooms.

The stalls from the modern, almost indoor bathrooms...

The slide, which is 20-25 feet tall, isn't it magnificent!! 

The smaller of the two chalkboards in the second classroom.
I did not include much history of the site because there is an awesome book you can buy from the caretaker there for 23 dollars, you can also get it on Amazon, though it is cheaper to buy it directly from the site itself, also when you visit the map you are given has some historical information, as does the information sheet.

This is one of the most amazing sites I have ever had the opportunity to visit, and since it is one of the few that you can legally explore I would recommend that you go and see it for yourself, just watch where you step and pay attention to caving in buildings, I guarantee it is worth the risk!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Gone but not forgotten

Hello everyone,

I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten you!  I know it has been over a month since I last posted and I am sorry for that, but life has been exceptionally hectic, there has been lots of sickness, some quite major, as well as the normal everyday hustle that we have with two kids.  I am hoping to get out in the next few weeks, I believe I have found a site I have yet to visit with in an hours drive, we will see, if not I am hoping to hit up Ruby!  So keep checking back and soon your perseverance  and patience will be rewarded.  And of course I would love it if you would come and visit us on Facebook and maybe share some of your own experiences and pictures of AZ's lost history!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Brucknow's Cabin

Hello everyone,

Today I am posting about what can happen when a site is either to public or not well protected, or perhaps both.  Brucknow's Cabin is a pretty well known site here in SE AZ, it is one of the bloodiest places in the state.  Something like 21 people have died/been murdered in around this property.  When we first went to it, there were 4-5 foot walls still standing.  About 5-6 years ago there were only maybe 2 foot walls left, the cabin itself was right off of the road.  It has since either been torn down or has just been completely reabsorbed into the ground, it was adobe brick.  I am in the process of researching to find out which if I can, but I have been quite sick (which is why January's post is a few days late), and have been unable to head out to do so.  It does look like whoever ended up with the property has renewed interest in the mine itself. 

Here are the pics I was able to get, and just as a disclaimer I do not promote trespassing on private property, please obey signs...

Some mining remnants left around the area.

This cleared place is where the cabin used to be, unless my memory is completely flawed, the road in the background used to run past the cabin and back to the mine area.

I will have to post the rest of the photos in another post, there are only another two from this trip, but for whatever reason Blogger will not let me load them here...

I know I have more photos of this site hanging around somewhere, as soon as I find them I will post them as well.  They will show the cabin when you could still locate what was left of it as well as the mine area, which I swear was not as built up as it is now...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fort Lowell

Fort Lowell is an old army outpost located in Tucson AZ, a lot of what is left is now a city park, and within the surrounding neighborhood.  In the park there are signs you can follow and a museum.  It is most definitely worth the visit if you love western history, military history, even Indian history, it covers so many things. 

Just as an FYI, the sign photos are larger so that they may be read easier...

Sign for the hospital.

This is a part of the hospital, it is one of the larger ruins in the park, and as you can see one of the more protected. 

You can see in the hospital there are adobe bricks being prepared for preservation work at the site.

This is what was once the main lane heading into and through the Fort.

This is the part of the museum, I believe it was once part of the officers quarters.

Another museum building, we have been going to this park for almost 10 years, and this was the first time that I found the museum open.  It is only open for one day a week, and is run entirely by volunteers, so if you are planning on going and come from out of the area I would call ahead to ensure that you get a chance to see the wonderful exhibits.  They also have a nice scavenger hunt for kids to play as they learn!

This is one of the buildings that is not located in the park, this one is right across the road from it, you can almost make out the fence around this structure, it is now being preserved, but when we first came to this park, there were still people living in this home, it is one of the coolest things about Tucson, how the past is still very active in the present and the future.

A close up of the above house.  Here you can see the repairs being done on the building!

The front of the museum!

The flagpole!

A better view of the entire hospital site.

I am hoping to get to go back to this park in the next few months so I can photograph the rest of the site as well as the rest of the signs.  We were here just to waste about 30 minutes one afternoon while we were between appointments, and I have yet to find any of the photographs I have taken previously, so when I make it back you guys will be the first to know!

Happy hunting!