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History (September 16-25, 2011)

Reinhard Schmolze

Silent Witnesses

David Schaubert

Two Guns, an Arizona Ghost Town

Canyon Diablo, Coconino County, Arizona, USA

September 19, 2011, 20:04 UTC (1:04 pm local)

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© 2011 David Schaubert, All Rights Reserved.

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Caption

Two Guns Arizona, Ghost Town Extraordinaire

The modern history of Two Guns began 23,000 years ago when a meteor slammed into the Earth 7 miles away digging a mile-wide crater and killing all life within a hundred-mile radius.

As time passed, the area was settled by the Navajo and Apache tribes between 1000 and 1300 AD and became a chronic battleground. In 1878, at the present town site, below the Canyon Diablo rim, an opening into an extensive series of caverns formed by deep cracks in the ground caused by the meteor impact, became known as the "Apache Death Cave" after 42 Apache warriors were trapped and suffocated by a large fire set at the entrance by throwing down brush and trees from the rim 250' above.

The area saw much conflict during the pacification of the Apache and Navajo by the US Cavalry. A short but significant event also occurred when there was a run on harvesting the meteoric iron (high in platinum) left scattered on the surface from the nearby impact.

A series of trading posts were established above the canyon and with the coming of the National Old Trails Highway (soon to be known as US Route 66 in 1926) the town became a tourist trap complete with a menagerie, gas station, Apache Death Cave Tours, and trading post. As the path of route 66 was changed to the north, the town (and its tourist trappings), also relocated with it.

The town survived until the late 1960s when the latest incarnation of the trading post burned to the ground after renovations. The coming of Interstate 40 finished any real activity in the area and a KOA Campground built at the Two Guns Interstate 40 exit died out in the '80s.

An extensive history of the town was written in 1968 and has been published on the internet at the link below. Definitely an interesting read.

Today the town site is open to anyone to explore and the picturesque Route 66 concrete bridge built over the canyon in 1926 is still in use. The town has been reduced to foundations and standing stone walls (the primary building material used).

This panorama was taken from the back deck (and lid of the building's 12' deep cistern) of the 1920s trading post. To the right of the bridge is the original trading post and Apache Death Cave. Beyond the bridge is the ruins of the more recent phases of the town as it was relocated further north following the rerouting of Route 66.
More photographs and panoramas from Two Guns and Eastern Arizona http://www.6t6kix.com/pages/rt66/az_e.htm

History of Two Guns Arizona http://www.hkhinc.com/arizona/twoguns/richardson.htm

Russell Crowe & Two Guns http://www.zimbio.com/Russell+Crowe/articles/2LG7-Ah3-04/Two+Guns+featuring+Russell+Crowe

Location

USA-Canada / USA-Arizona

Lat: 35° 6' 54.92" N
Long: 111° 5' 44.25" W

Elevation: 1656

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

Equipment

Canon XTi (400D) DSLR, Sigma 8mm f3.5 fisheye lens, Velbon D-580 Tripod, Nodal Ninja 3 (NN3) Pano Head, Apple MacPro Dual/Quad 2.8GHz XEON, PTGui Pro 9.0.4, Photoshop CS5 Extended, CubicConverter 2.2.1

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