Chloride is a ghost town in Arizona that sprang up when silver was discovered in Mohave County. It was quite a boom town, and very rich ores were pulled from the rock for many years after the initial discovery.
Unlike many of the old Arizona ghost towns, Chloride is not abandoned and according to the last statistics, there are still approximately 350 folks living there.
Potential prospectors can still get the opportunity to search for minerals in the surrounding hills, and perhaps even do some metal detecting for coins and relics in the abandoned ruins.
The town was primarily used for mining silver in the 1840’s, but in later years other metals including gold, lead, zinc, and turquoise were also found. Let’s take a look at some of the early history of this town.
Early Days in Chloride
The town of Chloride was founded in 1863, but mining was not really widespread until the 1870s after a treaty was signed with the local Indians that made the area safer for miners. Even after the treaty, this was still a rough territory during that time.
In the beginning of the 19th century, the town’s population continued to grow with a population nearing 5,000.
Miners were chasing after silver ores in Siver Hill just outside of town, and additional rich veins were being found in the Cerbat Mountains east of town as well. Mines were established in Tennessee Wash and the drainages that flow west from Cherum Peak.
A Real Boom Town
With the establishment of stage lines and eventually a railroad, Chloride really started to take off. They supplied the mines for many decades.
A Halt to Mining Hurts the Town
The major mines all closed around 1944 and the reason to this is greatly due to the start of the 2nd World War. As the population grew smaller between 1920 and the late 1940’s, everything just came to a halt and the city seized to be a potential gem.
The Santa Fe Railroad station was also the only rail road that went through the city and since most of the buildings and houses were built from wood, they were burned down and destroyed by fires. There still, however, a few buildings left for you to see on your tour. These include the old Santa Fe Railroad Station, the 2-room jail and the pool hall, which has now been converted into the local post office.
The post office is the oldest continuously operating post office in the State of Arizona.
Visiting Chloride Today
Today this town is home to around 350 inhabitants and they generally consist of retired and semi-retired individuals. Artist and musicians have also found the quiet and the relaxed atmosphere a s a great place for doing art and writing.
There are a few shops that sell some old memorabilia, but the town generally has flexible merchant hours and people only really stay open when tourists are visiting.
Mock Gunfights are also held in the main street of the city on every 1st and 3rd Saturday to keep the tourists entertained. If you are looking to prospect in and around the town, the several abandoned mines can be a great place to start.
The town is a perfect place to get a good break away from the city and there are also a few rumors about the people in the city. Many visitors claim that they are not really people, but merely characters just fulfilling a role in the small town.
Also Read: The King Tut & Gold Basin Mining Area
Prospecting in the Hills around Chloride
While the town itself might not be riddled in golden treasures, the surrounding mines are still full of small and unfound treasures. Minerals like silver, gold, turquoise, and copper can be found in the abandoned mines and these can certainly keep you busy for a very long time.
Just keep in mind that old mines are very dangerous. Don’t go into the old shafts without proper training. Many people have died from cave-ins and poisonous gases by entering old mines.
Actually extracting precious metals from the ores can be challenging. You will need to research the mining methods that the old timers used and see if recovering metals from the ores is doable without specialized equipment. Generally, silver mining is not profitable for the small-scale miner, and time is better spent finding gold or precious stones.