Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Goldfield: Between Fiction and Reality

Almost right across the highway from Lost Dutchman State Park, you will find Goldfield Ghost Town. It is a partly real and partly fabricated ghost town in the sense of a once booming town now empty. In fact, unlike ghost towns like Jerome and Bisbee, Goldfield isn't even a town at all anymore. The address of Goldfield Ghost Town is in Apache Junction because Goldfield is no longer an official town. The shrinking from booming gold mining town to nothing was that extreme. 

Today what you will find is this Old West town. The lines between history and tourism, between real and fabricated, are blurred. There are elements of the historic in the town, as compared to Old West towns that are completely modern constructions. What you get out of a visit will depend on you. There are the touristy, family-oriented activities like the shooting gallery and gold panning. There is a mini museum and a mine tour. 

There is also shopping. Among the different shops, there is a thick vein of Arizona merch, a happy find for tourists and even sometimes for us locals who may sometimes want some of it, too. While old time photography abounds in the Southwest, it's worth noting that the one at Goldfield gives a chance for more than just the bordello-styled photos (really, when did we start dressing up as prostitutes with our families for fun?). You'll also find Southwest jewelry and local photography.

My favorite shop by far is Siphon Draw Apothecary. There you'll find bath and body products made with natural ingredients, many of which are harvested locally. No artificial colorings in the soaps or bath bombs here. Besides the soap, there are also essential oils, salves, lip balms, mosquito repellant, and various other products for health and beauty. The popular creosote soap was out of stock when I was there, but I did pick up a small creosote salve. It comes with that distinctive, Arizona rain aroma (which, if you're unfamiliar, is from the water on the creosote trees). I picked up a couple of chocolate-related products, as well, so I might possibly do a review of those at some point.

Lunch at the Mammoth Steakhouse and Saloon had welcome live music. So even just visiting to have a casual lunch with live music and buy soap would be a nice venture. After all, if it's a museum you want (or a large selection of books for sale), that's the Superstition Mountain Museum. (You could always go to both, though, of course.) Goldfield Ghost Town is more of a recreation place--one still with excellent views of the Superstitions across the way. Oh, and their Church on the Mount functions as a real church with actual Sunday services--perhaps we ought to go visit some Sunday morn? 

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