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Real Estate

by Katherine Carlson

A forgotten Arizona ghost town.

The town of Gleeson is one of several stops along the Ghost Town Trail, a dusty road that winds through the Arizona desert. Unlike Tombstone, which now enjoys a bustling tourist business thanks to its campy take on Old West history, Gleeson and its neighbor, Courtland, remain largely untouched.

Native Americans had long mined the Dragoon Mountains for decorative turquoise. When white settlers arrived in the 1870s, they found copper, lead, and silver as well. The camp enjoyed a lucrative trade until gold was discovered at the Commonwealth claim. By 1894, the mines and the post office had shut down, and the site was abandoned.

In 1900, an Irish miner named John Gleeson prospected the area and filed claims for a series of mines. The town site was moved from the hills down onto the flats to be closer to a more reliable water supply, and reopened its post office, this time calling itself Gleeson.

Prosperity continued through World War I as the demand for Copper grew. But when prices dropped after the war, production slowed and the mines were eventually shut down. Gleeson’s post office closed its doors for the last time in 1939.

Abandoned mines

Gleeson Jail

Gleeson School

School Interior

Gleeson Hospital

View from the hospital window

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Articles in this Issue

The Twins, by Suzanne Montagne
The Moved, by Rebecca Peters-Golden
Hedy Lamarr, by David Wallace
The Place This Is, by Abby Sher
Broken, by Michael Chorost
Real Estate, by Katherine Carlson
Public Works, by Peter Joseph
Acoustics, by Michael Segell
September 2006


Katherine Carlson lives in Brooklyn. Before visiting Gleeson, she had never been west of the Mississippi. She completely lost it when she saw her first cactus.

Where loss is found.

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