Hometown Tales Podcast

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Apache Junction, AZ - Lost Dutchman Mine

Somewhere in the Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix is a lost gold mine. Somewhere is gold that had been hidden by Apaches after they massacred a family of Mexican gold miners: the Peraltas. Or was it Jesuit gold hidden in the 1700s? Is there any gold at all? As the legends go, Jacob Waltz “the Dutchman” was a simple laborer from Germany who moved to the Salt River Valley in 1868. A common laborer in those days did not have enough leisure time to prospect for gold. Yet, when Waltz died on Sunday morning October 21, 1891 of pneumonia, a box containing gold ore was found beneath his deathbed. Waltz died without telling anyone the whereabouts of his gold mine.

The greatest enigma of the Lost Dutchman Mine is that each facet of this tale is shrouded in riddles, tricks, lies, skepticism and even murder. It is impossible to sift the truth from the legend. Since 1891, hundreds have claimed to have found the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. All lies! No one has found anything. Until 1952.

1952 is when tourists discovered the infamous Peralta Stone tablet maps in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. Then in 1954, another tourist supposedly found another stone tablet, which is now known as the Witch Map.

Now it gets bizarre. Several stone tablets have been found: The Witch Map; a witch wears a sharp pointed hat pointing to the numbers 1,2,3 & 4, as well as several lines of misspelled Spanish, The Horse Map features a horse, odd symbols and more misspelled lines; and the Heart Map, strangest of all this map is actually in two pieces: a heart shaped rock fits in the center to complete the map. All elaborately carved in stone. Created by Waltz? The Peralta Family? The Jesuits? Apaches?

The lost gold of the Dutchman has still not been discovered. But many would-be treasure hunters still continue to venture out on a hot summer day … get lost … die a dreadful death by dehydration … and end up perpetuating the myth of the lost Dutchman min3