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  • Writer's pictureTheresa Franks, Proprietor, The Shady Victorian

Old Congress Gold Mine...President McKinley's 1901 Visit

This excessively rare photograph of the once booming Congress Gold Mine, circa 1901, was probably photographed at the time of President McKinley's visit to Arizona on May 7, 1901. Sadly, four months later, on September 6, 1901, President McKinley would be assassinated in New York. He died on September 14, 1901 from his wounds. Though the people in the car are unidentified, it is possible that it could be President McKinley and the First Lady, Mrs. McKinley. The photograph was produced by Thomas Bate, a photographer active in the Prescott area in the early 1900s, and is part of The Shady Victorian's collection of historical photographs.

Congress Gold Mine, circa 1901. ©2020 The Shady Victorian

Congress Gold Mine was considered one of the richest and most productive Gold Mines in Arizona.

President McKinley did not take the take the contemplated trip to the bottom of the 3,000-foot shaft in the Congress mine, though the greater number of the members of the party occupied seats in the decorated ore cars and were dropped into the earth. The President contented himself with walking through the eighty-stamp mill [a mill machine that pounds material] and into a tunnel a hundred yards or more. At the end of one of the drifts he found a party of miners carrying an American flag. 'I have seen the flag in many places," observed the President, "but they were usually elevated spots. This is the first time I have ever heard of it being carried hundreds of feet underground.'
At the cyanide works was witnessed the pouring of a bar of gold bullion weighing 1,221 ounces. Mrs. McKinley was presented with a small gold bar as a sourvenir of the visit, and each lady of the party was the recipient of a gold nugget. --The Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1901

One can only imagine when driving through what is now Congress Junction, what it might have been like to live and work in this once thriving and booming mining town.

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