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Journal Entries for 2014-01 RV Quartzsite MOE
Summary: We drove to Swansea.

Wednesday, January 22nd: We left Parker in the late morning. We arrived in Quartzsite and followed the MOE signs into the campsite. We were eating lunch when Dick & Connie, Dan & Jan arrived. Then the rest of the group came back from their errands. Jim & Jeannie didn't make it because of Jim's health issues, but their friends and neighbors, Keith and Bev, were there. Doug & Nancy and Steve & Wendy were the other campers in the group. Later that evening, Charles drove up, too.

We had cocktails and got acquainted or reacquainted around the campfire. We had dinner and finally went to bed.

Thursday, January 23rd: We got up and got ready for our 9:00am departure on a run to Swansea. Prospectors began working the area in 1862. Results were slow until 1886, when three miners struck a silver-lead ore on the Ruby Silver claim. Soon the silver ran out leaving only a "worthless" copper deposit. John W. Johnson eventually sold his mining claims in 1904 to the Signal Group. The new owners found the key to fully developing the copper mine lay with the Arizona & California Railroad's new line from Wickenburg to Parker. T.J. Carrigan, one of the new owners, built a blast furnace smelter, power plant, water system and dug more mine shafts. By 1909, with a population of about 500 people, the town blossomed to include saloons, a general store, post office and even a moving picture house. By May of 1910, the furnaces began producing the first copper at a rate of 50 tons a day. Unfortunately, Mitchell, who invested heavily above ground and not enough in the mines, was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1911. After bankruptcy was declared, the mine had several false starts until 1915, when Ernest C. Lane became the manager and successfully ran the mine for a number of different owners. New adobe houses were built for company families and worker cottages were built near the store. The photo was taken sometime after 1918. The mine fell victim to the Great Depression and a declining copper market, and never boomed again. The last milling was report in 1944.

Dick & Connie led the group, followed by Keith & Bev, us, Charles and then Dan & Jan as tail gunners. Charles had gone into town for gas and I guess there was some misunderstanding as to the meeting place. But, Dan went off to find him and when he got back we were on our way.

We headed towards Bouse on a paved road. We stopped briefly at a rest area in Bouse and then continued on to Swansea. The road turned to dirt just outside of Bouse. We went 20 miles or so and then reached a junction. Dick went to check it out. Keith & Bev were in a 2WD Ford 150 truck and didn't want to go any further. We would have taken the easier road, but they decided to go back to camp. They stopped for lunch in Bouse on the way back. We went on and took the "shortcut".

The shortcut to Swansea was a lot of fun. That's why we got the Jeep!! It was narrow with brush on the sides and a few rocky areas with some sandy dry washes. But it was a pretty easy run. A section of this road was near the railroad's grade, which was complete in 1910. We could see evidence of trestle crossings. Another section was the historic wagon road that brought the earliest prospectors to Swansea.

We arrived at the deserted mining town of Swansea and stopped here for lunch.

001-MOE sign & camp, Quartzsite.JPG

007-Map to Swansea.JPG

033-Shortcut to Swansea.JPG

051-Swansea mine tailings.JPG

055-Lunch at Swansea.JPG
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