Silver King, Arizona

Silver King Mine 1879
Silver King Mine 1879

Silver King History

The Silver King Mine was first discovered in 1873, at a time when conflicts with the Apache indians were frequent and few people dared prospecting or settling the area. General George Stoneman (later governor of California), setup a camp near the site of frequent Apache raids, and ordered the construction of a road into the Pinal Mountains.

The road became known as the Stoneman Grade. Sullivan, one of the men working on the road made the discovery of the Silver King vein, but he kept the find a secret and soon after went to work on a nearby ranch. Sullivan would often talk of his discovery, and show off ore samples he collected, but he never revealed the location of the vein.

Silver King Mill ca. 1880s
Silver King Mill ca. 1880s

Eventually Sullivan disappeared, and in 1875 Mason, the owner of the ranch that Sullivan worked on, took it upon himself to form a party of prospectors to search for Sullivan's discovery. They finally located the vein in March of 1875, but lost one of their party to Apaches during the expedition. The party resupplied and returned soon after, staking the first claim on what would be the Silver King mine, part of the Pioneer mining district.

Silver King was both the richest silver mine in Arizona and the site of a frontier mining camp. The town was at an extremely isolated location at this time, and development of the town and mine were slow. Not much is known about life in the camp, but it is said that there were two hotels, and of course numerous saloons. Silver King's post office operated between 1877 and 1912.

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