Friday, February 12, 2010

A Day in the Old West

We first heard about Castle Dome City from Janna, when she asked if we’d read The Bayfield Bunch’s (Al and Kelly) account of their visit to this unique gem hidden away against the Kofa mountains between Quartzsite and Yuma.  When I looked at the pictures Al took, we agreed it was a day trip we wanted to do.

Yesterday, Ainslie and Beryl came by to pick the 4 of us up, and we were off to find the city.  Good thing Ainslie & Beryl have a very large truck, the 6 of us plus Emmi fit comfortably for the 65 mile ride south.  We found the turn-off from Highway 95 and headed east towards the mountains.  The road turned to gravel, but it was not too bad for our 8 or so mile ride to the museum, which is actually a whole little town, consisting of about 25 buildings that have been restored to represent the tiny, 1870’s era mining community of Castle Dome.

Allen and Stephanie Armstrong bought this property in 1994 after all mining (lead and silver) operations had long since stopped.  They began restoring it and have scoured the area to find all the items that are displayed.  Walking through the town is just like stepping back in time.  In this museum, there are no roped off, untouchable displays.  You can walk into a building and expect to see the original occupants carrying on their daily lives.  A cookbook sits open on a table, and I thumbed through to find good recipes.

In the Mercantile, wares are displayed in their glass case:

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You can step into the little church, sit on a pew and browse through the hymnals:

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Mike sure looked natural in this hotel lobby:

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There were an amazing number of pieces from all facets of daily life around the town, from mining tools to sewing machines, bottles to books.  Together, Jim and I took over 200 pictures!  We could have spent a lot more time exploring all the artifacts of days gone by in this fantastic setting, and just might find ourselves back here another day to explore more of this lovingly restored piece of history:

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Little Emmi was not so impressed with the whole idea.  No pets are allowed in the museum, so she was relegated to the truck, where she let her opinion be known!

Janna cut her visit short and went to keep Emmi company.  Jim and I joined her after our visit, and we started our impromptu picnic lunch.

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After everyone finished up their exploration of the Castle Dome Mining Museum and had their lunch, we piled back in the truck for our return journey.  We got stopped along the way at a road paving operation, and I got this picture of the desert, which turned very green after the rain a couple of days ago:

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We were soon back to our own little piece of the desert:

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And settled in for the night.  Another day with great friends and great adventure.

3 comments:

Jim and Dee said...

So much history in the most out of the way places. Thanks for a great post.

Joe and Sherri said...

Are you gettin to walk and enjoy the place you are staying at? I hear you are going constantly off to other areas?? I think I would just set there and stair at that beautiful scenery!!

THE BAYFIELD BUNCH said...

Glad you folks liked the Castle Dome Museum. We found it pretty fascinating as well. And the fact that you can walk right up & touch everything was really neat too. See you guys tomorrow.....Saturday:))