GHOST TOWN NOMADS – EPISODE 2 – THE ARIZONA LOOP
AIR DATE: January 26, 2018 @ 9:00 PM EST
SHOW HOST: John and Laura Hebard – Hebard’s Travels.
Ghost Town Nomads Season 1 – Episode 2 takes the show into Tombstone, Gleeson, Courtland and Pearce Arizona.
Gleeson, AZ – Gleeson was originally settled in the 1870’s as a town called Turquoise. This due to its minerals mined by native Americans. Some years later copper was discovered by local minor John Gleeson and a new town was established near the location of what was known as the town of Turquoise. Gleeson become the primary location of all residents, economic activity and mining operations.
The town at one time had more than 500 residents, most of whom worked in or around the copper mining operations. The copper mined was significant and highly profitable due to high demand created by World War 1. The mines began to dry up in the 1930’s, however, and the Post Office closed in 1939.
Gleeson never recovered and while a handful of residents remain to this day, the town is widely considered an abandoned ghost town.
Courtland, AZ – Like Gleeson, Courtland also existed primarily as a copper mining town. And while Gleeson thrived longer, Courtland was a much larger operation. At one point there were more than 2,000 residents living and working in Courtland.
A massive copper rush began in Courtland in 1908 and 1909. Four large mining companies came in and a railroad was built into town to serve what was believed to be a mother lode of copper hidden in the surrounding mountains. The miners were so certain of long term riches that a Chamber of Commerce was established and five miles of water mains were constructed to deliver water throughout Courtland.
The boom only lasted for ten years, however, because in 1917 it was discovered that the copper wasn’t as plentiful as originally thought. A mass exodus occurred and Courtland became an abandoned ghost town.
Pearce, AZ – While the entire area here has some kind of connection to Tombstone, Pearce may have the most significant. Tombstone resident and hard rock miner James Pearce had moved to the area to build a ranch and one day accidentally discovered a rock rich in both gold and silver. The discovery occurred in 1894 and almost immediately started a boom with heaps of Tombstone residents flocking to the town to work the mine.
A railroad was built into Pearce and the town population ballooned to 1,500. By 1897 the town was operating like one depicted in modern day outlaw western films. It had rough and rowdy cowboy activities and even played host of the headquarters of the notorious Alvord-Stiles gang.
The mine eventually collapsed and shut down in 1904. But unlike Gleeson and Courtland, Pearce continued to thrive through other business activities. It wasn’t until the great depression of the 1930s that Pearce really began to be abandoned. And while there are still a few residents in Pearce today, what was once Pearce is largely left untouched and scorching in the Arizona sun, abandoned and mostly forgotten.