AZentertain: Arizona Gold Rush: Old Hat Mining

The start of the gold rush of the 1880s at Old Hat

By Robert Zucker

The first mining district set up in the Santa Catalinas from early wildcat claims became known as the Old Hat mining district.

"In the late 1870's and early 1880's many locations were made in the Old Hat Mining District so called because an old hat was found on the discovery location in the area.4 This original location, also known as Old Hat, was made by Louie Depew and W. E. Guild in 1878. Although in an early day it was described as the most promising mine of the district, it never was developed beyond the prospect stage. Of the hundreds of claims that were recorded in this district during the first few years of its existence, only a few were sufficiently developed to deserve mention. The American Flag Mine was the first on which extensive work was done. It was located in the late 1870's by Issac Lorrine, a Frenchman. By 1880 there were enough people at the mine to warrant a post office, December 28th of that year the office was opened under the name American Flag with Peter H. Loss as the first postmaster. By 1881 there were forty men working in the mine for the Richardson Mining Company of New York which had purchased the property early in that year. 10 After that time little more was heard of the mine. The man who opened it became discouraged and started a cattle ranch."

"Mrs. Lalie C.Dodge, Letter to Dr. Frank Lockwood of Tucson, San Francisco, California , Sep. 23, 1919; Arizona Blade and the Florence Tribune, Florence,Arizona, Nov. 14, 1903. This paper tells a different story which does not seem very probable. It states that there were a number of "tar heels" from North Carolina settling in this area. They all wore large white hats which soon became very old; thus the district became known as Old Hat." 1

Continue reading about the History of the Old Hat Mining District

1. The History of the Lower San Pedro Valley in Arizona by Bernard W. Muffley, 1938. A Thesis submitted to the faculty of the Departmentof History in partial fulfillment of the requirem ents forthedegreeof Master of Arts in the Graduate College University of Arizona, p. 24-25

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Treasures of the Santa CatalinasThis information is found in the comprehensive book on the legends and history of the Catalina Mountains– "Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains." Read more pages and download a free PDF sample of the book.

Old Hat Mining District Index

History of the Old Hat Mining District

Campo Bonito, Arizona

Campo Bonito is one of the major mining areas in the Old Hat mining district. Most of these mines were owned at one time by Buffalo Bill Cody.

The Southern Belle Mine

One of the mines in Campo Bonito owned by Cody, near Campo Bonito is the Southern Belle gold mine.

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Camp Bonito Buffalo Billl Cody

Photo: The Camp Bonito remains of the fireplace at the mess hall, near the old Cody-Dwyer mine south of Oracle in the Catalina Mountains. Photo by Robert Zucker. © BZB 2010.