Creating a mining district in the Bradshaw Mountains could generate international interest in mining history, mine tours, movie production, and conservation and preservation efforts.
So say a number of people who met this past week at the Creekside Lodge in Mayer to find out how much interest there is in establishing the Humboldt Mining District. Dewey-Humboldt resident Jerry Brady moderated the Jan. 4 discussion and provided some historical facts on the area.
Brady said a mining district is similar to a business association, and any revenue goes right back into the district; scholarship awards for history-related projects could be one way to use the money. The district would be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Joe Walker and Pauline Weaver formed one of the first mining districts in this area of the Arizona Territory in 1863, Brady said, adding that at one point, Yavapai County was known as the mineral treasury of the world.
Several other speakers expressed their interest, listing a variety of reasons. Kevin Leonard, president of the Dewey-Humboldt Historic Museum, said he runs mine tours for D-HHS members and the public, and he hopes to establish a business dedicated to historical tourism. He also owns three mining claims, spends time packing into the Bradshaws on horse and mule, and has written of his experiences investigating old mines and Indian ruins.
The most recent mine tour on Dec. 27 to the Cleator area attracted about 40-50 people with 16 4-wheel drive vehicles, Leonard said.
Humboldt resident Chris Berry has experience in the movie and entertainment business. He said he has received calls from people about finding locations for movie productions in the area, including Robert Redford's and Kevin Costner's "people."
Dave Pizer, owner of the Creekside Lodge, said he has noticed the interest in Old West history by German tourists. A mining district could help identify the best areas for tours, which would lead to an increase in local lodging and restaurant businesses.
Owen Wildman owns the Coffee Gram, and said mines are his hobby. He owns several mining claims and would like to see the formation of a mining district to help work with local forest service agencies and Bureau of Land Management personnel.
Several people in the audience, which numbered nearly 20, came because of their interest in mining history. Phil Casdorph of Paulden said he was a hard rock miner years ago. His interest is specific - underground lighting used between 1865 and 1910. Charlie Freeman, without being too precise as to location, said he works a mine near the outskirts of Humboldt.
Brady said this meeting was the first step in forming a mining district that includes collecting ideas for boundaries, comments and concerns from the public, establishing a ground service provider plan, and a second public meeting in about 30 days.
"Then we would vote to establish an organizing committee to serve for six months," he said. The committee would write the bylaws and file for non-profit status.
Brady said it costs about $200 to file a mining claim in Arizona. One of services the mining district would provide is to help individuals with the paperwork involved in the filing.
For more information, call Kevin Leonard at 713-2769.