Apache Junction is the home of the fabled Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. According to the legend, there is a gold mine worth $500 million dollars somewhere in the 160,000 acres of desert of the Superstition Mountains. Treasure hunters have spent years seeking this fortune despite the curse that has befallen many in the past.
In the 1840s members of the Peralta family found a gold in mine in the Superstition Mountains. They mined the gold and sold it in Mexico. During their last trip in 1848, all but one or two family members were killed by Apache Indians. The survivors moved on to Mexico. During the Gold Rush era of the 1870s, German immigrant Jacob Waltz (nickname The Dutchman) and his partner Jacob Weiser saved the life of a Peralta descendant in a card game in Mexico. To thank them, the relative disclosed the location of the gold mine to the two men and gave them temporary deeds so they could help him gather the gold. One day, Jacob Waltz left to get supplies and found Peralta and Weiser dead upon his return. Waltz packed what gold he could carry, left for Phoenix and never returned. Not wanting to die with the secret twenty years later, he described the location to his caretaker Julia Thomas. After his death, she tried to gather a team of treasure hunters but was unsuccessful. Instead she sold maps of the lost mine. The maps were based on the Peralta stones or Peralta Tesora Mappa that were handed down to each generation of the Peralta family. The stones were etched with symbols depicting the location of the mine. They are now displayed at the Arizona Museum of Natural History located in nearby Mesa, Arizona. Many gold seekers have searched for the lost mine and witnessed unforeseen events including untimely deaths. Apaches believe the treasure is protected by legendary “little people” living in the underground tunnels and caves or other creatures like Bigfoot, giants or the Abominable Sandman since it is in the desert. The History Channel even sent out a team recently to do an investigation and explore the area. Alas, the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine remains lost at this point in time. For more information about Apache Junction, go to www.apachejunction.com.