Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
Part of the wonderful Superstition Mountain Range is Weaver's Needle. It is about 1,000 feet tall and steeped in history galore.
Per the Wikipedia article on Weaver's Needle, "Weaver's Needle has played a significant role in the stories of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. The Needle's shadow reportedly indicates the location of a rich vein of gold, and many treasure hunters have searched for it."
Other sources tell us that Weaver's Needle "was named after Powell (Paulino) Weaver, a mountain man, guide, prospector and early Arizona pioneer. Weaver first visited the area in 1825 when the region was still part of Mexico."
See a fine article, "Lost Dutchman's Mine", at the Apache Junction Public Library web site for more information on the story of Weaver's Needle, gold and the surrounding area.
At the Superstition Mountain Museum/Lost Dutchman Museum a very interesting display was found on Maria Jones, a lady with a deep interest in gold. This story was related by Glenn McMinn, I photographed the story card, some of it follows here. Much of what follows is paraphrased from the story card at the museum.
Weaver's Needle and Maria's Ladder
... "Maria Jones was a black opera singer, who had a vision that Weaver's Needle had a core of gold. She hired some men to make a ladder so she could check it out". In December of 1949 Celeste Maria Jones filed a claim on Weaver's Needle. In February of 1956 Ed Piper filed a claim on Weaver's Needle, and thus began a feud that continued until October 1962 when Ed Piper died in Pinal County hospital. Even as late as January 1965, Celeste Maria Jones had a camp at Weaver's Needle, it is not known when she finally gave up her quest for the gold.
Glenn McMinn, was a teacher and wrestling coach at Apache Junction High School (1972 to 1998). Glenn tells of trying to climb the rope ladder that Maria had built. He attempted this in 1968. Since this time the rope has been removed, as it was dangerous. Date of Glenn's story is not clear to me. He does warn of the dangers of climbing the Needle, including a hive of bees that seem to be permanent residents near the top. He remarks that with Africanized bees of today, there would be no way to escape if they started an attack. And, no, Glenn did not make it to the top of Maria's ladder.
Weaver's Needle, full of mystery, unusual characters that tried to solve the mysteries, and maybe, still full of gold.
*My apologies for the quality of the photos, I never got that close to the Needle, Sony was working overtime. All 3 of these show the haze that has been hanging around while we were here in the area.