History

The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine (also known by similar names) is, according to legend, a rich gold mine hidden in the southwestern United States. The location is generally believed to be in the Superstition Mountains, near Apache Junction, east of Phoenix, Arizona. There have been many stories about how to find the mine, and each year people search for the mine. Some have died on the search.

The mine is named after German immigrant Jacob Waltz who purportedly discovered it in the 19th century and kept its location a secret. “Dutchman” was a common American term for a “German”

The Lost Dutchman’s is perhaps the most famous lost mine in American history. Arizona place-name expert Byrd Granger wrote, as of 1977, the Lost Dutchman’s story had been printed or cited at least six times more often than two other fairly well-known tales, the story of Captain Kidd’s lost treasure, and the story of the Lost Pegleg mine in California. People have been seeking the Lost Dutchman’s mine since at least 1892 while according to one estimate, 8,000 people annually made some effort to locate the Lost Dutchman’s mine. Former Arizona Attorney General Robert K. Corbin is among those who have looked for the mine.

Granger wrote that “fact and fiction blend in the tales”, but that there are three main elements to the story:

“They are, first, tales of the lost Apache gold or Dr. Thorne’s mine; second, tales about the Lost Dutchman’s; and, third, stories of the soldiers’ lost gold vein … the most complete version of the Lost Dutchman’s story incorporates all three legends”. Blair argued that there are kernels of truth at the heart of each of these three main stories, though the popular story is often badly garbled from the actual account. Other theories have materialized that speculate the mine is buried at the bottom of Apache or Roosevelt Lake.

In 1977, Granger identified 62 variants of the Lost Dutchman’s story – some of the variations are minor, but others are substantial, casting the story in a very different light from the other versions.

Lost Apache gold or Dr. Thorne’s story

In this story (actually two interconnected stories), members of the Apache tribe are said to have a very rich gold mine located in the Superstition Mountains. Famed Apache Geronimo is sometimes mentioned in relation to this story. In most variants of the story, the family of a man called Miguel Peralta discovered the mine and began mining the gold there, only to be attacked or massacred by Apaches in about 1850 in the supposed Peralta massacre. Years later, a man called Dr. Thorne treats an ailing or wounded Apache (often alleged to be a chieftain) and is rewarded with a trip to a rich gold mine. He is blindfolded and taken there by a circuitous route and is allowed to take as much gold ore as he can carry before again being escorted blindfolded from the site by the Apaches. Thorne is said to be either unwilling or unable to relocate the mine.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Dutchman%27s_Gold_Mine)