Crown King, Arizona
|Crown King, Arizona|
Crown King Saloon
|Named for||Crowned King Mine|
|Elevation||5,771 ft (1,759 m)|
|Time zone||MST (no DST) (UTC-7)|
|Post Office opened||July 29, 1888|
|Post Office closed||May 15, 1954|
Crown King is an unincorporated community in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, located at an elevation of 5,771 feet (1,759 m). Crown King has a ZIP Code of 86343; in 2000, the population of the 86343 ZCTA was 133. The site of a former gold mining town, Crown King is 28 miles west of Interstate 17 on Senator Highway, high in the Bradshaw Mountains. The community is named after the Crowned King mine, but the name was shortened to Crown King in 1888. Horsethief Basin Lake resides 6.5 miles southeast of Crown King on Crown King Rd/Forest 259 Rd.
An estimated US$2,000,000 in gold was taken from the Crowned King Mine alone; the mines have been closed since the 1950s and for the past half-century tourism has been the only reliable source of income in the area. This is true despite the fact that the unpaved, mountainous access roads are rocky, rough and slow to drive. Crown King is not all that many miles from the edge of Phoenix as the crow flies, but the roads in make it a remote little town in a cool mountaintop forest.
The first recorded gold claim in Crown King was "Buckeye" and was filed by Rod McKinnon on July 1, 1875. Over the next 40 years, more than 15 mines or claims were made in the area. At its height, the town had 500 buildings, including several company stores and boarding houses, two Chinese restaurants and a post office. The town was electrified by 1897 and had one telephone at that time.
While an active mining town, Crown King was served by the Bradshaw Mountain Railroad. Rail service to the area began in 1904 upon completion of "Murphy's Impossible Railroad" — a series of switchbacks and trestles that ascended the mountain terrain between Cleator and Crown King.
Crown King was the terminus (1904–1926) of the railroad, built by Frank M. Murphy to serve the mines of the southern Bradshaw Mountains. However, these mines were never very productive, and the BMRR was a financial failure. The line was abandoned in 1926. Much of the road to Crown King uses the old railroad bed.
Of the buildings still standing and in use in Crown King, the Crown King Saloon has maintained its place as the center of activity in town. The Saloon was originally constructed and operated in the nearby mining town of Oro Belle (now also a ghost town). In 1910, It was disassembled and brought to Crown King piece by piece after the mine at Oro Belle had played out. The building was home to a brothel and bar in both towns and now serves the public as a hotel, cafe, and bar.
The red one-room schoolhouse was built in 1917 and still serves a small number of K-8 students. High school students typically leave town to attend class 14 miles away in Mayer.
The post office was established on July 29, 1888, and was discontinued on May 15, 1954. It has since reopened inside the Crown King General Store.
- Varney, Philip (April 2005). "Yavapai Ghosts". In Stieve, Robert. Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps: A Travel Guide to History (10th ed.). Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona Highways Books. pp. 20–21. ISBN 1-932082-46-8.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Crown King
- John W. Sayre, 1985, Ghost Railroads of Central Arizona, Boulder, Colo.: Pruett, ISBN 0-87108-683-2
- Sherman, James E.; Barbara H. Sherman (1969). "Crown King". Ghost Towns of Arizona (First ed.). University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 0-8061-0843-6.
- Climate Summary for Crown King, Arizona
- Bruce M. Wilson, Crown King and the Southern Bradshaws: A Complete History, Mesa, Crown King Press, 1990, 104 pages. ISBN 0-9627573-0-6
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