Cerro Colorado, Arizona

Cerro Colorado, Arizona
Cerro Colorado, Arizona
—  Ghost Town  —
Cerro Colorado, Arizona is located in Arizona
Cerro Colorado, Arizona
Location in the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 31°39′32″N 111°16′21″W / 31.65889°N 111.2725°W / 31.65889; -111.2725Coordinates: 31°39′32″N 111°16′21″W / 31.65889°N 111.2725°W / 31.65889; -111.2725
Country United States
State Arizona
County Pima
Elevation[1] 3,668 ft (1,118 m)
Time zone MST (no DST) (UTC-7)
Post Office Opened: April 17, 1872
Post Office Closed: April 15, 1911

Cerro Colorado is a ghost town in southern Pima County, Arizona. It is located off Arivaca Road, near Arivaca, Arizona. The town is best known for the massacre of mining employees by Mexican outlaws and buried treasure.[2]


Cerro Colorado was established around 1855 by Charles D. Poston who owned the Sonora Exploring & Mining Company in Tubac, Arizona. The most prosperous mine in the area was the Heintzelman Mine, named after Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman who founded Fort Yuma, was the first president of the mining company, and grew famous during the American Civil War. The post office was established on April 17, 1879 and closed on April 15, 1911.

In 1861 fifteen Mexican and native American men were killed after being buried alive in their shaft when the roof caved in. The men were deep within the shaft so no rescue was possible or attempted, this frightened the Mexican employees who felt the mine was haunted so they left and went home to Sonora. Several German and American miners then became employed.

When the Civil War began, United States Army troops left the region to fight the rebels and the town became part of Confederate Arizona. Once again Cerro Colorado was surrounded by Apache land, leaving the settlement under constant threat. At about the same time in 1861, Charles Poston left the mine for business elsewhere, he left his brother John Poston in charge.[2]

Fort Cerro and the surrounding Cerro Colorado in 1864, by J. Ross Browne.

Cerro Colorado treasure

John Poston's grave in 2008.

When Charles Poston left Cerro Colorado the mining operations were constantly halted due to the Mexican employees who continually stole and took their plunder to Sonora. One day, Poston's foreman, known only as Juanito, was caught heading back to Sonora with a load of stolen silver bullion so Poston had him executed as an example to other thieving employees. The silver was never recovered and was reportedly buried by Juanito somewhere near the mine. Juanito's death only made the matter worse, within the next few nights, Mexicans stole "whatever they could" and took the property to Sonora where several Mexican outlaws heard the story of the buried treasure.

The oulaws immediately headed into Arizona for the mine. Once there they won the support of the Mexican employees and destroyed the mine in hopes of finding the silver. After failing to find it they tortured and murdered John Poston and two German miners. As of 2010 nobody has ever found the treasure. When the massacre was over, the outlaws left for Mexico and the mine was rebuilt. By 1864 a walled stone fort was erected on a nearby hill and a guard tower was constructed in the town plaza. A few adobe buildings remain along with the concrete grave of John Poston, and his tombstone.[2][3]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cerro Colorado Mine
  2. ^ a b c Sherman, James E; Barbara H. Sherman (1969). Ghost Towns of Arizona. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-0843-6. 
  3. ^ http://www.pbase.com/image/53533982

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cerro Colorado — is Spanish for red mountain/hill. It can refer to several places: North America Cerro Colorado, Arizona, a ghost town in Arizona, USA Cerro Colorado Mountains, a mountain range in Arizona, USA Cerro Colorado, Tijuana, a borough in Baja California …   Wikipedia

  • Cerro Colorado Mountains — from across Altar valley, 1959 The Cerro Colorado Mountains are a low mountain range in Pima County, Arizona, USA. The highest point of the range is at the Colorado Benchmark (5,319 feet (1,621 m)), at …   Wikipedia

  • Arizona Territory — For the Confederate territory, see Arizona Territory (Confederate States of America). Territory of Arizona Organized incorporated territory of the United States …   Wikipedia

  • List of localities in Arizona — A * Aguila, Arizona * Ajo, Arizona (town, unincorporated) * Alpine, Arizona * Apache Junction, Arizona (city) * Arivaca, Arizona (town, unincorporated) * Arizona City, Arizona * Ash Fork, Arizona (town, unincorporated) * Avondale, Arizona B *… …   Wikipedia

  • Tucson, Arizona — Tucson redirects here. For other uses, see Tucson (disambiguation). Tucson   City   From upper left: Downtown Tucson Skyline, Pima County Courthouse, Old Main, Un …   Wikipedia

  • List of mountain ranges of Arizona — There are 194 named mountain ranges in Arizona. The extra items listed may include::Mingus Mountain, the high, NW section of the Black Hills:Shiprock:Sierra Madre Occidental (of W continental Mexico) The list*Agua Caliente Mountains ndash;Yuma… …   Wikipedia

  • Cochise County, Arizona — The art deco county courthouse in Bisbee …   Wikipedia

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Pima County, Arizona — Location of Pima County in Arizona This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Pima County, Arizona. This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in… …   Wikipedia

  • Oro Valley, Arizona — Town of Oro Valley, Arizona   Town   View of Pusch Ridge in the Santa Catalina Mountains from Oro Valley. September 2004 …   Wikipedia

  • Silver mining in Arizona — was a powerful stimulus for exploration and prospecting in early Arizona. Cumulative silver production through 1981 totaled 490 million troy ounces (15 million kg). [Melissa Keane and A. E. Rogge (1992) Gold Silver Mining in Arizona, Arizona… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.