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I’m back folks! And I’m here with another two parter but this time it’s going to be all me on both. This is the one all our posts have been working towards: the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. For those of you who live elsewhere in the world, you should know this legend is like the lifeblood of this place. It’s one of those things that I don’t remember being told but I’ve just always known about. It’s so much part of the culture that museums and parks were named after it. So whether you think the story I’m about to tell you is real or not, the thing to remember is that a lot of people do. And a lot of people are willing to do crazy, crazy things because of that belief. So, here we go.

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So, we know mining in this part of Arizona was a thing since the 1700s. We also know that the region had a penchant for the occult thanks to the spiritualism of local tribes. Also, the mountain just looks stupid weird, right? Like it juts up and right out of the earth in a freaky way. But that aside, this is where German-born immigrant Jacob Waltz enters the story (“Dutchman” is kind of a misnomer by modern standards). He landed in New York earlier in the 19th century and after some business ventures, decided to make his way out west to chase gold, like everyone else. We have documentation that he became a citizen during this journey somewhere in the American south/midwest region.

That’s another thing too, this part of the story is factual. There was a real Jacob Waltz who owned land in this part of Arizona and claimed to have struck it rich. Whether his tales are to be believed is the another story.

So, Waltz gets to Arizona and begins working in mines. His prospecting didn’t lead to much real success and he bought a farm around the Phoenix area. The story goes that he bought land, once owned by the Peralta family, where he and his partner, Jacob Weiser, stumbled upon a rich deposit of gold. Two different versions of events exist for what happened next. In one tale, Waltz murders his partner for his share of the gold and to protect the location of the mine. In another, Weiser dies of natural causes, leaving Waltz as the only living person with knowledge of the gold. Either way you slice it, Waltz ends up solo on this gold venture.

So, for a couple years he’s mining, coming into town, bragging about it, and heading back out to do it all again. Naturally he gets followed a few times but to no avail as those who went after him into the desert never returned. Another point of historical fact is how Waltz died. In the 1890s there was massive flood in the valley and Waltz’s farm was among the many places it hit. As a result, he contracted pneumonia and died shortly thereafter.


Now, this is one of those stories where the pieces become more and more famous after the death of our protagonist in question. With the exception of the possibility of murdered gold snatchers, Waltz lived a fairly typical and even boring rags to riches story that many people hoped to have happen during their hunt for gold. It’s what came after his death that truly put this mine and all its treasure on the map–or, maybe not? Puns. Anyway, that’s the topic for my next update. See you then!

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