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Local Area Maps, Lesson 1

I found this site while I was surfing the Web and I think I must’ve explored every single link. One of the links, on the Wickenburg Info page, was labeled Wickenburg on the Map. When I clicked it, it took me to Expedia.com and displayed a portion of the Arizona map with Wickenburg near the center. Here’s a cropped version of it.

Area map

Well, I’ve been visiting the Wickenburg area for some time now, and maps like these really make me laugh. Look at all the towns they show: Flores, Matthie, Forepaugh….I think I ought to set site visitors straight about what these map points really represent.

The Railroad Stops

Let’s tackle Allah, Matthie, Forepaugh, Gladden, and Love first. These “towns” all have one thing in common: they’re on the railroad line that runs up Grand Avenue and heads west along SR 60.

There’s nothing to speak of at Allah or Matthie. They’re just points along the road to Los Angeles through Wickenburg from Phoenix.

Forepaugh is a small cluster of homes and tiny ranches. There’s an old dirt airstrip there that has some historical value: it was a training base for WW II glider pilots. Vandals destroyed the old barracks and most other buildings years ago. The only thing left is a dilapidated hangar that’s probably dangerous to go into. (I certainly wouldn’t step inside.) Vandals even made off with the old strip’s runway lights. The place is commonly used by radio controlled aircraft pilots and the gate is kept locked in a lame attempt to keep vandals out. (There isn’t much left to vandalize, though.)

Gladden is a trailer park. There’s a sign that you can see on the road as you drive through. It’s terribly named. I don’t think anyone would really be glad to live there.

There’s nothing at Love. I’m not even sure where that’s supposed to be. Just outside of Wenden?

There are more railroad “towns” on the line that runs from Wickenburg though Congress and up to Ash Fork: Piedmont, Hawkins, and Date. The road these points are on is unpaved yet maintained. But don’t drive on it when it’s raining — it gets very slick with snot-like reddish mud.

Mystery Towns & Ghost Towns

The map also shows a few mystery towns and ghost towns.

Cordes Lakes, just east of 93, north of Wickenburg is a real tease. It makes you think of Minnesota, land of a thousand lakes. But I don’t recall ever seeing any lakes in that location. Or ponds. There might be a few cattle tanks, though.

Glen Ilah, near Yarnell, is another mystery place. There are homes there, as well as a restaurant and a gas station with quickie mart. But most folks refer to that place as Yarnell. I don’t know the history of the name Glen Ilah, but I bet the Webmaster would love to hear from someone who did and could write about it.

Stanton is a ghost town which is currently owned by the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association. In the winter, the place is crammed with RVs and people panning/digging for gold. In the summer, the place is like a ghost town with an empty trailer park. There are some nicely preserved buildings there and the place is worth visiting. Be prepared to leave a few dollars for a donation and don’t even think about bringing a shovel or gold pan.

Constellation is a ghost town that has become invisible. I’ve tried many times to track this place down and the closest I come is the Monte Cristo Mine (which might not even be the original name). Constellation Road, which goes past Wickenburg’s rodeo grounds, was named for this townsite, so it must have been pretty big at one time. Now its part of the desert.

Walnut Grove, Wagoner, and Minnehaha are three points along the old Wagoner Road. There are plenty of ranches along that stretch of partly paved, partly dirt road, but nothing you’d call a town. Walnut Grove was the site of a damn that stored water for the Wickenburg area. The dam burst in the 1800s and killed a bunch of Chinese and other workers living downstream. (Why they were living downstream of a dam under construction is a mystery to me.) Supposedly, there are a few traces of the old dam along the river, but I’ve never been able to find them. Minnehaha is a small joke on all of us. Not only is there nothing there, but the road to get there is extremely difficult to travel.

The Point

The point of all this is that maps like the one on Expedia.com can lead outsiders to believe that there are plenty of small towns all around Wickenburg. Those of us who have spent some time here know better. Wickenburg is just about all there is around here. If you try to explore any of these places, be sure you pick up your picnic lunch here in town, because you won’t find another supermarket within 40 miles of town.

This is lesson 1. I’ll dig out some other maps for more map lessons in the future.

1 comment to Local Area Maps, Lesson 1

  • Sherry Slocombe

    There ARE remains of the Allah Depot, along the Hassayampa River – a stop on the ATSF RR running from Ash Fork to Phoenix. The remains are on property belonging to the Nature Conservancy – Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg. And the railroad signs announcing the approach to Allah are still there. As we all know, railroads rarely remove old railroad signs, and they use them to this day. (Castle Hot Springs signs still exist, as do those for West Beardsley and Lizard Acres in Sun City West.
    Just thought you might want to know that the site does still exist!