Saturday, March 20, 2021

Exploring south/southwest of Ajo, the Ajo Historical Museum and the New Cornelia Mine Pit Overlook

 The morning was spent checking out campsites located on BLM land to the south and southwest of the town of Ajo, with Scenic Loop Road being the main access road from Darby Wells Road.  

Lots of campers and sites spotted and catalogued for possible future use.  Kept following trails that led closer to Ajo Peak and ended up a bit further west than I intended to be, and so, ended up negotiating FR1833F which proved not bad but with one highly technical spot.

Mariko handled the spot just fine of course, so no drama to report.  It was basically a steep drop into an old creek bed, with a steep incline climbing out of it on the other side.  Add it some deep ruts, a couple of boulders and it was all very "interesting".

Views of Ajo Peak

FR1833F eventually ended up in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and I emerged out of a "Administrative Use Only" road.  Oopsie.  I made my way out of the NWR and back into the town limits of Ajo, eventually making my way to the museum, which opened at 12PM.  

I got to the museum sometime after 1230 I think, it's located within what used to be an old Catholic church.  The museum is run by the Ajo Historical Society and has no entry fees, though of course they do accept donations.

The exhibits are arranged by category in small alcoves along the area where the pews of the church were once located, leading one to the altar area eventually.

Tools from a blacksmith shop

The Militaria alcove and in the center, something for Martha
to reminisce about:

The Cowboy Section

Statuette of a Buffalo Soldier

Among the many old time memorabilia, the following two amused me.  Boy it sure didn't pay to play cards at school, back in the day:

And this set of rules, pre-NEA of course:

Mining being a bit part of the area's history, it apparently had been going on way before white settlers showed up, even before the Spaniards showed up....Native Americans apparently mined a red ore in the area. 

You know the big open pit mine Ajo is known for?  Apparently, it's all that's left of what used to be a mountain!  See note:

All these years, I thought the town was named Ajo for the Spanish word for Garlic, well, I was wrong:

After the museum I drove over to the nearby Pit Mine Overlook for a quick shot of the pit.  I was still trying to wrap my head around the concept that this big hole in the ground used to be a mountain!

The mine shut down in 1985 I think

The mine back in 1949

A view of Camelback Mountain, with the cross on top
and the museum buildings in the left foreground

Rest of the afternoon was spent at camp, doing minor chores and maintenance.  It was another warm day, with a high of 82's supposed to be "much colder" tomorrow according to the weather guessers with a high of only 72 degrees!


Oz said...

Looks like a very interesting place. That is an area I need to visit.

CCjon said...

Fascinating history of the Ajo mine. Thanks for talking about it.

redlegsrides said...

Doesn't look like much when just riding through Oz, but yeah, worth some time.

redlegsrides said...

You're welcome CCjon....I just repeated what the museum shows.

RichardM said...

I remember stopping and taking a picture of that open pit mine back in the mid-70s. It was still in operation with huge ore trucks on the roads.

redlegsrides said...

I've seen those big ore trucks! It was at a gold mine in Colorado, they were huge! Apparently they got 1 oz of gold out of every truck load after processing.