Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pinal Pioneer Desert Graveyard

Pinal was an old silver mining town just west of Superior, Arizona about 45 minutes drive east of Mesa. Founded in 1875 following a silver strike, it was abandoned in 1888 when the mine played out. There may be a few foundations left from the old town, which I haven't found, but the old graveyard is still there. ( See blog of June 12, 2010, “ Superior, Arizona.”) It is not demarcated by a fence or any entrance marker or any apparent regular layout. Graves are scattered in the hills.

The graveyard is reached by taking a Forest Service road north off US 60, directly across from the entrance to the Superior airport, about 1 mile west of Superior. You have to wind around in the hills 1-2 miles, generally staying to the left. Some other folks have put directions on the internet, which may be better than mine. Four wheel drive isn't necessary, but high clearance is recommended.

The graves are old, sometimes outlined with rocks, sometimes with rocks piled on top. Some have crosses made with what appears to be re-bar, some with wooden crosses. There are a few genuine headstones and one elaborate grave outlined with vertical pipes. Apparently no burials have taken place since 1916.

Many of the graves have small decorations, mainly artificial flowers.

The photo below shows a few scattered graves looking south with Picket Post Mountain in the background. The grave in the foreground is one of the few with a headstone. I believe it is from 1885.

The next photo shows an old grave overgrown with desert grass and weeds with a re-bar cross and artificial flower.

The grave below has a white wooden cross, what appears to be a momento and an artificial flower. Rocks are piled on top of the grave.

Another photo looking south towards Picket Post Mountain. I believe I can count at least six graves in this photo.

Re-bar cross with decoration.

Below is a wooden cross with a rock outlined grave.

In this photo there are three re-bar crosses close together with a fourth in the top left background.

I believe this grouping contains at least six graves. It is probably a family group.

Below is the middle portion of this group. As you can see there are toy animal and dinosaur figures,a stuffed animal and other toys. The metal marker reads "Charlie Harkey 1900-1914, Nellie Harkey 1907-08, and Reuben Harkey 1911-1911."

Below is the grave with the vertical pipes.

Finally, here is a grave with a white wooden cross and rocks piled on top.


  1. Mattie Blaylock Earp, one of Wyatt's common law wives is buried here someplace. Her grave marker was removed about two years ago.

  2. That'd be «memento»: something by which someone or something is remembered. Something evocative of a memory or memories. «Momento» is a little bit of time in Madrid.