The base of the Superstition Mountains are less than fifteen minutes from my house – on the other side of the mountains are 160 thousand acres of wilderness. Apache Junction is the end of the road, or so they say.
Mexican may have prospected the Superstition Mountains as early as 1795, and prior to 1892, the mountains were referred to as the Salt River Mountains.
The first westerners arrived in the early 1820’s, in search of animal pelts and gold. And there was “gold in them thar hills”… with several gold rushes in the decades that followed. Arizona became a territory of the United States in 1863, and between the 1840’s and 1870’s, many prospectors came digging in hopes of the big strike. That first big strike did not happen until a large vein was found in Goldfield (not too far from my house) in 1887. That vein was quickly depleted.
In the 1890’s, more veins were discovered in the outlying areas. By the turn of the 20th century, the veins were scraped clean, and the environs became ghost towns.
Along with the prospectors came the cattle ranchers, and any area that was not fit for mining became grazing ground. In 1911, Arizona became the first territory to give women the right to vote.
Arizona was trying to gain statehood, and President Taft proclaimed that AZ would never be a state as long as they promoted women’s suffrage. The state revoked the right of women to vote to appease Taft, and as soon as it attained statehood, drafted a new law giving back the right to vote to women.
There are many ways to accomplish something, and Arizona has always seemed to figure out a way to finagle their way. Today that attitude of independence still reigns supreme.