In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
La Paz County, Arizona
The photo below came from Linda Darland. Also she notified us that the building burned on July 10th. 2011. This photo is the same building but at an earlier date when it was called Sheffler's Cafe. It was recently named the Salome Cafe / Don's Cactus Bar. This was a great lunch stop for travelers.
Today it's called the Cactus Bar. There is a bar and restaurant in the one building. This is a historic stop that was a must see if you're near Salome or if you're going to explore the area around the town. There is a lot to see. Even today the furnishings are from an earlier period. More comfortable than most eateries. The food is good and the prices are more than reasonable.
There were display cases everywhere you look with a lot of history and interesting finds on display. Everything from rocks to ore samples to artifacts. Even an old jukebox.
Charles Pratt and Dick Wick Hall and his brother Earnest established the town in 1905. Dick Wick Hall was famous for his pet frog. Mrs. Salome Pratt is the one who danced in the desert and gave the town it's name and logo "Where she danced".
Just south of town right off of Rt. 60 is a big boulder that is covered with petroglyphs. Some of the markings look to be Spanish in origin. This area was traversed by a lot of Indians back in the late 1800's. George Campbell's grandfather used to deal with them in the town store. More on this can be found HERE George Campbell was Norma Reynold's husband. Norma is still a resident of Salome.
The picture in the upper left of this photo is a picture of Dick Wick Hall who made the town famous. Other old photos adorn the walls in the restaurant.
The town of Salome is in the beautiful Mc Mullen Valley, between the Harquahala and Harcuvar Mountain Ranges on Hwy 60 between Wickenburg and Quartzsite.
Just northwest of town at the edge of the mountains is an old prison that housed prisoners back in the old days. This site is little known and is very interesting. Here's Norma's cousin guiding us to the prison location.
This is the same area where it's believed the Indians got the gold that they used to trade for goods at the store in town. See this PAGE on the site for more on Lost Indian Gold.
The small cave above was for housing the prisoners and inside they made a concrete bed for them to sleep. They were chained up so they couldn't escape. A lot of the big eye bolts are now missing, but a few remain. Maybe, they used prisoners in the quarry just to the southeast of the cave?
Outside the "prison" cave are big boulders the size of small houses. Many of these boulders have eye bolts inserted in them. Linda has informed us that this was all part of a quarry. Granite from this quarry was thought to be used in the West Wing Addition of Arizona's Capitol in 1939. Now whether or not this was a prison at one time is still open to debate or until someone shows us documented proof one way or the other. Maybe they used prisoners in quarry.
Really neat rock formations abound here and the area is full of caves, most of which don't go very far. They are only caves in the sense that the rock piles left voids between them.
There are more (we were assured by our guide) but this one in the center of the picture is one of the biggest and longest caves in the area. It had many passage ways that for the most part were easy to navigate.
Here is one section of the cave above. In places you had to stoop down to get through, but for the most part it was like what is shown here. There were many different passage ways and we went though most of them. You need a flashlight to get into the inner reaches of the cave.
Going southeast from Salome you'll get to the Harquahala Mountains. To get to this area you have to find Harquahala Rd. running south out of the town of Salome. It is a gravel road that is kept in great shape and is passable by any type of vehicle. If you want to get back to the old Harquahala Mine then you'll need a vehicle with high ground clearance and preferably a 4x4. Here's one of the old mine buildings along the way.
The newer Harquahala Mine (shown here) is just southwest of the old mine that made the area famous. In case you didn't know, the original finders found slabs of gold between the rock crevices as thick as the palm of your hand. Of course this started a mining boom in the area and there are hundreds of mines in this area now.
Talking to the old time miners in the area (mostly George Campbell and his brother) we found out that the graves marked here are from a really big mining disaster that happened at the Harguahala Mine sometime in the late 1800's There are more graves than just the few shown here. These had to be restored by an organization in Salome over the years because of vandals.
Whenever you're in an area that's new to you don't hesitate to stop and talk to the locals. That's how we ran into Norma's cousin or nephew when he guided us to the old prison. George Campbell is another example, he gave us a lot of info about the area. He has since passed away. Also be careful, some of the mines in the above area are still active and with the price of gold so high, they won't tolerate trespassers!
Have fun -------
Interactive map of Salome, Tank Pass, Salome Prison, and the Harquahala Mines
All of the above is from before the fire on July 10th. 2011 and is no longer there. We'll leave this up as memorandum of what used to be. Shame, it will be missed.
Linda Darland has informed us that this was a quarry site and that this spot was at one time an abode for a goat hearder.