Fri, Feb. 28

1928: CAMP VERDE; Salt Mines in Arizona, August 3.


"Central Arizona miners and Apache Indians alike secured very necessary salt from the canyons of Salt river, a score of miles beyond the mouth of Cherry creek. For ages, the seepage of springs 100 or more feet above the river, had left on the rocks a coating of salt, gathered by Apaches of many tribal subdivisions. It was into this region in 1878, came a party of salt 'miners,' led by the noted King Woolsey and Beverly Cox, both of Phoenix. For about two years Cox was leader of a dozen workmen. He packed cement over the mountains and built evaporation basins to secure quicker action. The product had ready sale on the ground at 10 to 12 cents a pound, to be packed on muleback at large additional cost, to the silver mills at McMillen and in Richmond Basin near Globe, for use in the chlorination process then popular in the extraction of silver."

"Cox still is an honored resident of Phoenix, with very vivid memories of his experiences. 'Our main trouble was Indians,' he recently told. 'We did not distinguish as to the tribes but we often had from 50 to 100 camped around, scraping salt from the rocks, and all of them resentful of our presence there. Finally, in the spring of 1880, we got a very definite hunch from a squaw that a big war party was on the way. We quit just in time. The last man who rode over the ridge looked back to see a band of hostiles filing down to the salt pits. This same band continued onward into Tonto basin." ...

"There are big salt springs in the canyon of Carrizo creek, one of the upper tributaries of Salt river and one that supplies a third of the saline flow that has given the river its name. Back in 1904, this region was surveyed by Sheldon K. Baker, now a Phoenix engineer, then an attache of the United States geological survey. His report was notably complete."

"Suggestion was made by him that the flow of the salt springs of about three second feet, be conveyed into a nearby valley, there to be impounded for deposition of its solid mineral matter. The salinity added now is not much of a factor, since creation of the Roosevelt reservoir, though it was marked when the summer flow of Salt river, of only a few thousand miners' inches, was carried direct to the canals of the valleys below. The district is so rough that the proposed saving of salt would have slight net value."

"Of the many Arizona deposits of 'salts' possibly the most important is one in the Verde valley, near Camp Verde, where sodium sulphate is mined and washed, for shipment to the coast. The material is used in the making of rough papers and of glass, with its largest market in Sweden and Finland, to which it is afforded cheap water transportation from San Pedro harbor. Pioneer cattlemen often mined this stuff and mistakenly would leave it on their ranges, where it did their stock more harm than good. It carries only about 5 per cent sodium chloride, which now is being separated at Camp Verde, and there sold for stock needs. The deposit is owned by the State of Arizona and is under lease."

"Only a few miles above Roosevelt dam, on the eastern side of Tonto Ceek valley, is a 'lick' that stretches for seveal miles along Salt creek. The writer has seen hundreds of cattle there licking the banks of the long arroyo. But the stream itself was one that rarely flowed and hence there was little erosion of its terrain. Most of the deposit now is under the waters of Roosevelt lake, probably silt cemented."

"James H. McClintock in Arizona Mining Journal." (Verde Copper News; Jerome; Friday, August 3, 1928; page 8, column 1-2.)

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