sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hackberry

On the road to the White Wolf Mine, you will pass through the (almost ghost) town of Hackberry. Today Hackberry has a post office, which serves 68 residential mailboxes with the zip code of 86411.


Hackberry, Arizona Territory (1879)

Context and Precedence

Hackberry dates back to 1864 when prospectors set up a mining camp on the east side of the Peacock Mountains. After having discovered rich deposits of silver, the Hackberry Silver Mine was soon established, named for a large Hackberry tree growing near a spring adjacent to the mine. Before long, the valuable ore warranted a five stamp mill, which quickly doubled its capacity. Reportedly, this rich vein was about 400 feet in width and large amounts of silver were taken from the mine.

Hackberry general store and gas station (above and below)
as it appeared yesterday.
Today it is part of the Road Less Traveled, which is how you get to the White Wolf Mine on Arizona's Mogollon Rim.

The only way that these businesses stay open is when the infrequent travelers stop and buy something. It's important to stop even though you are rushing from Point A to Point B with oh-so-important things to do.


(There is nothing to purchase at the White Wolf mine. Going there and screwing with the old miner will buy you nothing but trouble. The best case you can hope for is having scripture read over your cooling corpse before you are rolled into a shallow grave in Boot Hill**.)
Back to Hackberry...

Expanding your self-guided tour of the area in your high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle means that you will discover things previously discovered and then forgotten. Such is the nature of the road less traveled.

The general store has been around since 1992 and was established Hackberry became "gentrified". Hackberry is not all that far from Oatman. If you follow this blog, you'll recall Olive Oatman's ordeal and the city named for her. (here)

If you're going into the Mojave Desert from Hackberry, the sign warns that you have 300 miles of desert ahead of you...


There are a lot of mines in the area. It's one of those things where you proceed at your own risk. However, shoring that worked 150 years ago is likely to be less stable today and you could find yourself buried under a mountain if you don't exercise extreme caution. As for me, taking a photo is exploration enough.

Then there is the matter of art - which some would say is where you find it. I am not an 'art philosopher' like our fellow blogger, Juliette/Jules, so I stick to the capture of a moment for its own sake and leave the philosophizing to either a Sunday Sermonette or just to your own interpretation.

Sometimes it's art, and sometimes it's just a rusty water tank on a hardscrabble farm that wasn't able to make it to the extent that the owner might have hoped.

There's always hope in the future, though, because the windmill is a new one, perched on an older tower, pumping water for the livestock.

One thing that the desert never has too much of is wind. Don't get on a global warming/cooling rant here. It's just wind.



** The most notable use of the name "Boot Hill" is at the Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona. 31°43′11.6″N 110°04′13.6″W Formerly called the "Tombstone Cemetery", the plot features the graves of Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury; the three men who were killed during the gunfight at the O. K. Corral. 

30 comments:

  1. Places like that are definitely worth exploring! ALWAYS! You never know what you may find...

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    Replies
    1. Most people are too busy to explore. But in the exploration one finds hidden rewards. There is more to life than increasing its speed.

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  2. Nearly as famous is the Boot Hill in Dodge City Kansas. Among it denizens is a cowboy named George Hoyt, allegedly Wyatt Earp's first kill.

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    1. I should have mentioned the Dodge City boot hill as well.

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  3. Replies
    1. While there is not a lot of standing water in the desert, there is a lot of water. There is a LOT of sweet water in Death Valley, for example. The soil is too poor to grow much but there's no lack of water. The Mojave Road, moved from watering hole to watering hole - first for the Indians, then for the Army, then for settlers who all moved across the desert from the Colorado River to the Los Angeles basin.

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  4. I don't think I could ever be a miner. I get claustrophobic if the water gets over my knees. I can't imagine having tons of rock over my head.
    I did indeed enjoy the pictures though.

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    1. It takes a really "special" person (like short bus special) to be a hard rock miner in the Old West.

      Don't fret.

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  5. Nice 1930 Ford Model A coupe. Rather than waste your time spiffing up a Doge Power Wagon, grab that unit and slap some paint, upholstery and new tires on it, rebuild the engine, squirt a little grease on it here and there, and you have yourself a nifty set of wheels to tool around the Mongollon Rim in.

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    1. How challenging is an engine rebuild?

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    2. Depends on your level of mechanics. Hubby used to rebuild engines all the time when he was quite a bit younger. I helped him one time with our Dodge van, way back when. If you know of a reputable engine shop, I don't think it would even cost that much - relatively speaking. I would say around $500, but since we haven't had one done in decades, I expect I am probably a bit off in price.

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    3. I know literally nothing about a Model A engine, but given their early nature, I wonder how available replacement parts would be.

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    4. I'm sure the Cubans have some parts ;)

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    5. Actually I've heard that nearly every part of the Model A is available. This is one source. I imagine there are others.

      http://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/model-a-parts

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    6. Because of the enormous production numbers back in the day, both Ford Model A's and Model T's have widely available parts, to include all the stuff you need to rebuild the engines. The rod and main bearings were poured while molten into forms on the block and rods, so these would have to be done at any number of machine shops that specialize in babbit bearings. Lots of times, the existing bearings can be adjusted by removing shims on the caps, or if they are missing the shims, people have been known to shave the caps to get the proper clearances.

      All in all, not too bad. Or you can just buy a short block for around $4K and be done with it. They are all over the place.

      Or, Plan B, just buy a nicely restored A and forget that old piece of shit. 1930 coupes can be had in great condition for around $15K. Convertible two-seaters (roadsters) around $25K for a sweet looking unit.

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    7. If I am ever in the market, I know who to go to, Fredd.

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  6. Interesting territory and a nice bit of art philosophy to boot. Now I want to break free of this small rural haven and go exploring.

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    1. If you prospect diligently enough, you might find some place to mine...

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  7. That place is Total Art in situ. I can say this with utter confidence as resident art philosopher. I love it.

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    1. We do rely on you for art philosophy both in Texas and in American ghost towns.

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  8. I'd rather explore Hackberry than the land of the NORKs.

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    1. The land of Norks is fine if you can call down artillery on the area you plan to walk through to "prep" the area. Or aircraft can lay down napalm. Either way.

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    2. That's your territory not mine. I'd rather stick to a vacay in the Bahamas.

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    3. I'm headed to Great Britain this summer. Who would have thought that I'd need to think about artillery prep before crossing Westminster Bridge?

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    4. Have a safe trip when you go. God bless.

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  9. Interesting place, love the windmill, so much can be learned on the road less traveled.
    Always strikes me as different that there are few to no trees in the ol mining town photos. Guess the cut them for fire wood..
    Wondering if they treated their buildings with used motor oil & kerosene or diesel like the ol timers did around here.

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    1. Some of that wood has been seasoned with something, but whenever that happened, it was long ago, possibly to keep ants and termites from eating the structure? I've found wood treated with creosote.

      A lot of those mining areas were stripped of trees and remain treeless. In places such as Oatman, Hackberry and Nelson (will post tomorrow), there weren't many trees in the area of the mines. The big Hackberry tree at the City of Hackberry was an exception. A lot of the wood - pine and cottonwood, was soft and not ideal for shoring...and yes, they used it. Now, 200 years later, the mines are increasingly dangerous.

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  10. I love your Arizona travel logs, but where's the picture of the Hackberry Tree?

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    1. I think that it ended up as shoring for a mine.

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