Way Out West Photography, LLC.: Blog https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/blog en-us Way Out West Photography [email protected] (Way Out West Photography, LLC.) Sat, 02 Sep 2023 00:31:00 GMT Sat, 02 Sep 2023 00:31:00 GMT https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u355324651-o193486139-50.jpg Way Out West Photography, LLC.: Blog https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/blog 120 80 One Man’s Treasure – Gold King Mine https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/blog/2015/6/goldkingmine

Donald E. Robertson

January 4, 1943 - October 17, 2016 


One Man’s Treasure – Gold King Mine

Bobbi Jane Tucker  (Published in Fribtuer Gazette 2011)  www,WayOutWestPhotos.com

If you are fascinated by old cars, old parts, old machines and how things work then you need to take a trip.  If you are a photographer then I will share my secret spot with you.  Gold King Mine.   The old saying “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, truly describes the owner, Don Robertson.   The location of the Gold King Mine was originally the community of Haynes, a suburb of Jerome in 1890. There is actually a mine here. They missed the copper boom, they did discover gold. Now it’s one of the most unique living museums you will ever visit.

When you visit you may see Don, Mike and others actually working on different projects.  The 1914 sawmill still fills lumber orders both for commercial grade and artisans handcrafting furniture. The sawmill is powered by a 1943 submarine diesel engine!

Don might hop on his 1942 Harley and stir up some dust for you.  He may start up his daily driver, a 1939 Studebaker Coupe which is also a favorite resting spot for his Chihuahua.    The Studebaker has been converted for camping.   Don has set up the trunk with sleeping quarters. By taking out the back seat it allows for six feet of sleeping of space.  Don says, “There’s enough room for me, my dog and my skinny girlfriend!”

You can mosey among the parts and cars but also visit buildings showcasing how it was “back then”.  Blacksmith, Dentist, General Store are just a few.   The clapboard house on the hill is an original building from 1890 Haynes. It was primarily a boarding house but did serve a time as a bordello.  Most of the cars have been updated with signs telling a little more about their history.   You can even pan for gold while you are there. 

I met my first Guinea Hen here and captured one of my all time favorite photos.  The Guinea posed in front of a red Studebaker grill resulting in a stunning photograph.   There are chickens, goats and a donkey named Pedro.  Pedro will ring bells when you walk by to get your attention and treats. 

The greatest treasure on this hill is the proprietor, Don Robertson. Don blends in with his surroundings with the look of a gold mine prospector, but isn’t that who is he is?  “This was what I was meant to do,” says Robertson. “I was put on this earth to save this beautiful old machinery. This is the stuff that America was built with there’s no reason for it to be tossed aside or forgotten. I only collect stuff that’s rare, that you can’t find anywhere else. People tell me all the time I could sell everything and get rich. But I’m already rich. This is what I want my fortune to be. What good is having money in the stock market or real estate? There’s no fun in that. I get to play with my fortune every day. I’m living my dream.”   

Take a day trip to see all the forgotten treasures. Be sure to tell Don hi!   You will leave with a new appreciation for what you once considered junk. 

Gold King Mine and Ghost Town opens at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. in winter) and closes at 5 p.m. every day except Christmas. Admission charged. It is located on the Perkinsville Rd. one mile north of Jerome. Follow the signs starting at the road next to the Jerome Fire Station. 928-634-0053




Don with my Pug Georgie   

1949 Ford F-3 One Ton Pickup1949 Ford F-3 One Ton PickupGold King Mine
1949 Ford F-3 One Ton Pickup
6-Cylinder Flathead, 4-Speed Transmission, 7.50x17 Tires
Used Every Day

This photograph is available for purchase as Fine Art Aluminyzed Photograph. Varies Size - Contact Bobbi Jane for sizes & pricing (Can be shipped to you at no additional cost)

Note: Aluminyzed photographs are high quality, image are infused into aluminum sheets for prints that are water, scratch, and UV resistant. Only recycled aluminum is used, sourcing USA made materials.




Photo Montages I did after my first visit to Gold King Mine in 2010




[email protected] (Way Out West Photography, LLC.) https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/blog/2015/6/goldkingmine Mon, 08 Jun 2015 01:37:26 GMT
Vulture Mine - lost but not forgotten https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/blog/2012/2/vulture-mine  

Vulture Mine - lost but not forgotten

Bobbi Jane Tucker  (Photo Adventure 2010 ) www.WayOutWestPhotos.com

My secret back way to Tucson from Prescott goes across Vulture Mine Road, outside of Wickenburg.    So I have passed Vulture Mine several times, always saying I must stop in.    After talking to another photographer who has been there numerous times returning with stunning photos, I jumped in the car and went!   

Wikipedia.org gives a summary of this ghost town.   Vulture Mine was a gold mine and settlement in Maricopa County, Arizona. The mine began in 1863 and became the most productive gold mine in Arizona history. From 1863 to 1942, the mine produced 340,000 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver.  Historically, the mine attracted more than 5,000 people to the area, and is credited with founding the town of Wickenburg, Arizona.

My friend, Greg, and I went in mid-December.   The day was perfect reaching 77 degrees!   When we pulled into the parking lot we were greeted by the official host, a cat!   She jumped right in my car looking to see what kind of handouts there were.  Of course she got a french fry!    (The last stop before Vulture Mine is a Jack-in-Box & gas station!)     I have never seen such a friendly cat and she kept hopping back in the car as Greg & I unloaded our camera equipment.   Finally she lead us into the “Vulture Post” where you sign up for your self guided tour.    Ten-dollars each and a laminated map got us started on our adventure. 




We stumbled around outside the gift shop trying to figure out where to start when the caretaker told us to follow the “gold rocks”.  Sure enough large gold sprayed painted rocks marked the trail!   We passed the Glory Hole first where 7 men were buried alive along with their burros when the shaft collapsed in on them.     Next was the Assay building which has recently been fenced off.  Sadly, many of the buildings have completely collapsed or are beginning to fall down.    Several you can still walk through – but step carefully around pipes, nails and boards.  Watch your head too! 


Just behind the Assay building is the Hanging Tree.  This was the most fascinating part of the day for me.  The tree is an Ironwood and needless to say very old.  And still living with green leaves.  The tree was so twisted and gnarly that I have to say it was the spookiest tree I have ever seen.     18 men dangled from this tree from crimes of stealing gold and ore.

We stopped in some buildings we had skipped on the way up.   The Mess Hall still had a forgotten kitchen.  Folgers coffee glass jars.   A dish rack with dishes sitting by the sink.   And the amazing ice box that had a room to itself.    And of course the stove with the pots still sitting on top.We continued up the hill and through the dust as the noon sun got more intense.   When I walked into Ball Mill I was breathless not from the hike but the view.   Greg & I could spend hours just shooting in this building.    It wasn’t until we found the Power House that we knew we were in a photographer’s heaven.   The machinery and gears.  The light coming through the holes in the tin roof.  The windows wrapping around the building.   The reds, blacks and dust.    We finally pulled ourselves away and went back down the hill. 

When we returned to the Vulture Post, where we had started, the caretaker informed us of more buildings we could stop at on the way out.   Even though Greg & I were starving and ready for lunch we couldn’t pass them up.   There was an old school house with the slide and swings still outside.  The slide had since been wrapped up in an overgrown palo verde tree.    Inside was a forgotten piano that had been silent for way too long.    These building too were rich with wood and windows.    They stored the memories of a long forgotten past. Finally we packed up the cameras and headed out.  Lunch would be in Yarnell on the way back to Prescott.  

Updated 2023:  Vulture Mine has changed since these photos & blog in 2010.   See the website for current tours, events and even ghost tours.  https://www.vultureminetours.com/

[email protected] (Way Out West Photography, LLC.) arizona backroads bobbi jane vulture mine way out west https://www.wayoutwestphotography.com/blog/2012/2/vulture-mine Wed, 29 Feb 2012 18:11:06 GMT