Arizona is Home to an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know About

Arizona boasts numerous natural and cultural wonders, including some lesser-known and overlooked gems. Among these hidden treasures is Ruby, an abandoned mining town that flourished in Santa Cruz County near the Mexican border. As one of Arizona’s best-preserved ghost towns, Ruby provides a unique glimpse into the past, offering a blend of adventure and mystery. In this article, we will explore the history, decline, and present of Ruby, and unravel the reasons for its transformation into a ghost town.

The History of Ruby

Originally established in the late 1800s as Montana Camp, named after the nearby Montana Mine, Ruby experienced a thriving mining community. The mine yielded gold, silver, lead, zinc, and copper, attracting a wave of settlers who constructed homes, stores, saloons, and even a school. In 1909, the town was renamed Ruby in honor of Julius Andrews’ wife, the mine’s owner. By the 1930s, Ruby reached its zenith with a population of approximately 1,200, becoming the largest mining town in the county.

Despite its lively atmosphere, the town’s history was tainted by violence, with numerous murders, robberies, and raids, notably the unsolved Ruby Murders between 1920 and 1922. The town also faced challenges such as water scarcity, lack of electricity, and transportation issues, which hampered its development and prosperity.

The Decline of Ruby

The 1940s marked the beginning of Ruby’s decline, as depleted mines and plummeting mineral prices took their toll. Competition from other mining communities, combined with the impacts of the Great Depression and World War II, hastened Ruby’s demise. The last mine closed in 1940, the post office shuttered in 1941, and by the 1950s, the last residents had left. In 1954, the town changed hands, serving as a cattle ranch until 1975, when it was sold once more to a private owner who transformed it into a historical site and tourist attraction.

The Present of Ruby

Now preserved by the Ruby Mine Preservation Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding and restoring the town’s structures and artifacts, Ruby stands as a testament to its storied past. Open to visitors, the ghost town offers opportunities to explore ruins and relics while learning about its rich history. Activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and birdwatching abound, attracting enthusiasts seeking both adventure and historical insight.

Ruby’s reputation as a haunt for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts adds an extra layer of intrigue, with claims of strange phenomena like voices, footsteps, apparitions, and cold spots. Legends persist, suggesting the town may be haunted by the spirits of the Ruby Murder victims or concealing a hidden treasure buried by outlaws.

The Conclusion

Ruby, though a ghost town, transcends its abandoned façade. It narrates a tale of boom and bust, of a community intricately tied to the fortunes of mining. It invites visitors to discover its secrets and marvel at its resilience. It is a hidden gem in Arizona, waiting to be explored and appreciated.

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