Arizona is Home to an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know About

Arizona is renowned for its natural marvels, including the Grand Canyon and the Sonoran Desert. Yet, it boasts a compelling history of mining and settlement, leaving behind numerous ghost towns. While some, like Tombstone or Jerome, are popular tourist attractions, others remain more obscure and hidden. Chloride, once the largest silver mining town in the Cerbat Mountains, falls into the latter category.

The Ascent and Descent of Chloride

Established in 1863, Chloride emerged when prospectors unearthed silver ore in the nearby hills. Swiftly transforming into a thriving mining hub, the town boasted over 75 operational mines. By the 1920s, Chloride reached its zenith with a population of approximately 5,000. During this period, it featured a post office, school, newspaper, hotel, bank, saloons, stores, and restaurants. Known for its lawlessness, the town witnessed common occurrences of gunfights, robberies, and murders.

However, Chloride’s prosperity waned as the silver market collapsed in the 1930s, leading to the gradual closure of mines. The population plummeted, and many structures were either abandoned or demolished. By the 1950s, Chloride had transformed into a ghost town, housing only a few hundred residents.

The Renaissance of Chloride

In the 1960s, Chloride began to attract artists, hippies, and retirees drawn to its scenic locale and quirky charm. Old structures were restored, and new ones constructed using recycled materials and vibrant decorations. The town cultivated a cultural scene with art galleries, festivals, and live music. The Chloride Murals, a series of large-scale paintings depicting the town’s history and legends, became a notable attraction. Created by local artist Roy Purcell in 1966, these murals have been expanded and maintained by subsequent artists.

Today, Chloride stands as a living ghost town with approximately 350 residents. It is not a conventional tourist destination but rather a haven for those seeking a quiet and authentic Old West experience. Visitors can explore historic buildings like the Jim Fritz Museum, Chloride Post Office, and Cyanide Springs Trading Post, or revel in the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and desert. Chloride offers diverse activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, and even ghost hunting. The town hosts various events throughout the year, including Chloride Days, the Fourth of July Parade, and the Christmas Tree Lighting.

Arizona’s Hidden Jewel

Chloride stands out as one of Arizona’s oldest and most unique ghost towns, yet it remains relatively unknown. This hidden gem provides a glimpse into the past while showcasing a vibrant and creative present. Chloride, a town that defied the odds to survive and thrive, deserves to be discovered and appreciated by a broader audience.

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