Tucked in the northwest corner of the Sonoran Desert, east of the Colorado River, the Great Arizona Outback is a little-known refuge where the frontier has yet to close. Since the 1880s, independent, rugged individualists including Wyatt Earp have come to find peace and solitude in the pristine desert. Gold mines at Harquahala brought adventurers, miners, and thieves. Dick Wick Hall, founder and “Sage of Salome,” gave the region its mythic aura. The 20th century brought successive generations of dreamers, schemers, and industrious settlers in search of health, wealth, or simply a new beginning. Mid-century Route 60 tourists in search of gas, food, and lodging supported the indomitable residents in their eccentric little enclaves. The Smithsonian Observatory above Wenden, secret World War II tank testing grounds near Bouse, brothels, slot machines, and a world-class bird aviary provided memorable diversions to travelers on the main road between Phoenix and Los Angeles.
About the Author
The Great Arizona Outback Rumor and Innuendo Historical Society was founded by documentarians Sharon Rubin (painter/photographer) and E. W. Kutner (writer). The archival images in this collection were generously provided by the membership, including multigenerational families whose spirit reflects the inspiration of their intrepid forbearers.
Table of Contents
1 The Magnetic Pull of Gold 11
2 The Mythmaker Envisions a Desert Paradise 23
3 Wenden Ores, the Universe Soars, and a Diva's Encores 35
4 Vicars, Vice, and Visionaries 49
5 Prescription for Prosperity 63
6 Cash Flows and the Community Grows 77
7 Let the Good Times Roll 93
8 Times of Transition 105
9 The Great Arizona Outback Rumor and Innuendo Historical Society Rescues the Past 119