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An image from the programLost Dutchman Mine
The legend of the Lost DutchmaN's Mine has drawn people from all over the world in search of gold and fame. Is it true? Is there a secret gold mine buried in the Superstition Mountains? Many have spent their lives looking for the mine, and some have died trying. Arizona Stories profiles former Arizona Attorney General Bob Corbin and others who have spent years trying to find the mysterious site.


Read the complete transcript

Voice:
But it's in there. There's no doubt in my mind it's in there.

Narrator:
No doubt Bob Corbin believes gold is hidden in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. That's why the former attorney general has journeyed into this wilderness hundreds of times over the past 50 years.

Bob Corbin:
The reporters when I was attorney general, they asked me why I liked to go in there so much. I told them, "that's the only place I can go where you can't get to me."

Narrator:
Gold has been found here, but its source has been in dispute from the beginning. It all started in the late 1800s when a German prospector named Jacob Waltz emerged from the Superstitions with gold ore. That created quite a stir in Phoenix. Before he died in 1891, he supposedly left clues to the location of his mine.

Ron Feldman:
He also, when he died, had 24 pounds of very, very rich gold ore underneath his bed in a candle box.

Learn more

Arizona State Parks - Southern Region
Directions, history, general information.

Legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine
The story of the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Mine.

Superstition Mountains Museum
Exhibit for Lost Dutchman's Mine

The Los Dutchman Mine "History of a Mystery"
History of the mine, history of Jacob Waltz, suggested reading, related websites.

Visitor Information:

The Superstition Mountains Museum is located 3.5 miles northeast of Apache Junction at 4087 N. Apache Trail.

The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phone 480-983-4888.
Questions can be sent to info@superstitionmountainmuseum.org

Suggested Reading:

The Bible on the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine and Jacob Waltz: A Pioneer History of the Gold Rush (Prospecting and Treasure Hunting) by Helen Corbin

The Lost Dutchman Mine of Jacob Waltz, Part I: The Golden Dream by Thomas E. Glover

The Lost Dutchman Mine; The Fabulous Story of the Seven-Decade Search for the Hidden Treasure in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona by Sims Ely

Quest for the Dutchman's Gold: The 100-Year Mystery: The Facts, Myths and Legends of the Lost Dutchman's Mine and the Superstition Mountains by Robert Sikorsky

Hikers Guide to the Superstition Wilderness: With History and Legends of Arizona's Lost Dutchman Gold Mine (Hiking & Biking) (Paperback)
by Jack Carlson, Jack C. Carlson, and Elizabeth Stewart

Narrator:
The legend of the Lost Dutchman mine was born. The Lost Dutchman mine was brought to popular attention by the 1949 film Lust for Gold, starring Glenn Ford as Jacob Waltz. But it wasn't the movie that brought Bob Corbin to Arizona. It was the legend of the mine.

Bob Corbin:
Well, I was a Hoosier back in Indiana, and I was going to Indiana University, and one of the things we had to do was write a theme on a subject. And I picked lost mines. And in reading and researching, one of them was the Lost Dutchman mine, and from that point on, I was hooked. Ron Feldman: The Lost Dutchman mine is the Holy Grail, the great granddaddy of all lost mine stories.

Narrator:
Ron Feldman operates the OK Corral in Apache Junction. He's also spent decades in the mountains on a quest for gold. Ron Feldman: I've spent 37 years of my life looking for it, but people from all over the United States come looking for the Lost Dutchman mine. All over the world, actually. I've had people coming out for the last 35 years, the same people coming to hunt this thing, and now their children and grandchildren come out and hunt this thing.

Narrator:
Organized treks have been made into the Superstitions at least as early as 1934. One year, the Dons of Phoenix, an organization preserving local culture, welcomed over 2,000 guests. They arrived in busloads. Over the years, visitors have been entertained with Dutchman lore and the opportunity to pan for gold. The day culminated with a re-creation of Jacob Waltz's story.

Narrator:
Near the west face of the Superstitions, on the streets of Goldfield, tourists soak up the old west atmosphere, trying to grasp what it might really have been like 100 years ago. This site marks the spot of the original gold-mining town.

Bob Schoose:
We revived it over the last 20 years. We've been fixing it up and opened it up for tourism and stuff like that. A lot of people just love the history.

Narrator:
Maybe they love to feel a little heat from gold fever down in the Goldfield Mine. Around Goldfield are several abandoned mines, like the Queen here, filled with water, its secrets safe. The secret of the Lost Dutchman's mine, over a century old, also remains safe. But that doesn't deter those who seek it.

Bob Schoose:
He said that his mine was two miles back from the face. Well, what does he mean by back? Did he mean back into the Superstitions where you're right at the foot of Weaver's Needle two miles back, or out this way two miles back? It's little things like that that screw people up for 100 years.

Ron Feldman:
What I learned real quickly is -- well, actually, it wasn't too quick; it took me 25 years to learn where the Dutchman wasn't.

Bob Corbin:
Since I've been looking since 1957 for it, I've come up with a lot of -- a lot of clues, but there's no question, a lot of people say there's no gold in those mountains, and there is.

Narrator:
The Superstitions have an air of mystery about them, a whisper of danger. There have been over 100 documented deaths in this wilderness.

Bob Schoose:
A lot of people have died looking for the mine. You know, it's real easy. It's a harsh environment. You go out there without the right equipment, supplies, and water, and it's pretty easy to get dead in a hurry. Some of them have been shot, killed over a piece of dirt that they thought was the -- they had the location, and they didn't want anybody else around.

Bob Corbin:
I think it's an obsession. People go in there. Some people go in with the idea they're going to find it. And it gets a hold of them, and it destroys their lives.

Narrator:
All the more reason to pack a bit of perspective along with the pick and axe on a trek into the Superstitions. This land is beautiful on its own without what may be a fool's promise of hidden riches, but that fact doesn't deter the most ardent of seekers. They leave only to return.

Bob Corbin:
There's something about those mountains that -- they're very rough, and there's just something about them intriguing. But you can't go in there with the thought you're going to find it because 99 out of a multi-million times, you're not going to.