The Tiger Mine bears the distinction of being the first mine patented and recorded in Yavapai County. The patent was recorded on April 30, 1874, for the mine, 5 miles southwest of Crown King in the southern Bradshaw Mountains.

The discovery of the mine occurred in late 1870 after Hod Curry and Dud Moreland successfully extracted 2½ feet of silver ore from a 30-foot shaft they dug. As more development occurred in the area, including the discovery of a rich silver ledge, another strike yielded 500 pounds of silver ore averaging between 800 to 1,500 ounces of silver per ton.

With reports surfacing that the Tiger Mine was comparable to the Comstock, miners were lured en masse from Prescott to lay claims in the area, each claim 200 feet long and sold for up to $100 per foot. More than 150 miners worked the area, where mules were needed to haul the ore to Prescott.

Multiple houses along with an assay office were the earliest buildings erected. The Tiger Mining District was fully functioned by May of 1871 with more than 300 miners exploiting the findings.

The Tiger shaft soon reached 180 feet in depth. Multiple attempts by outside interests failed to entice the owners of the mine to sell, including one made at $150,000. The mine became a renowned silver producer in the Bradshaw Mountains, with ore shipped for processing to San Francisco and Virginia City, Nevada. It was serviced by the nearby town of Bradshaw City, officially established in 1874 after the opening of the post office. The town lasted a decade, reaching a population of 5,000, 35 miles south of Prescott on the northwest slope of Mount Wasson. It took 2½ days from Prescott to reach the mining camp by saddle train, due to the challenging topography.

F.E. Harrington was in charge of early production along with F.M. Murphy. One of the best-producing months credited to the Tiger Mine was October 1879, when it produced $29,000 worth of ore. Two months later, the mill shipped $40,000 worth of silver bars to San Francisco. That year the mine produced over one-half-million dollars with a $350,000 profit.

The mine was not without misfortune. A mining accident in August of 1879 cost the lives of several men when a 700-pound cable became unraveled, causing the hoist carrying miners working the third shift to drop to the bottom of the shaft.

Financial scandals and mismanagement also caused the mine to suffer that year. By the 1880s and ’90s, both Bradshaw City and the Tiger Mine fell into decline. Records of production for the Tiger mine from 1870 through 1934 include $700,000 of silver along with $50,000 in gold and $30,000 in copper.

Golden Crown Mining Co. purchased the mine in 1948, and 2,500 tons of ore composed of silver averaging $25 per ton was mined and shipped for processing to the Crown King Mill. The operation was short-lived, halting in April 1949. A decade later, Golden Crown Estates oversaw the property.

Other mines in the Tiger district encompassing several square miles include the Oro Belle and Gray Eagle veins renowned for their gold production. Located at an elevation of 5,400 feet on the south slope of Wasson Peak, this locality was worked in the early 1900s by George Harrington and his son, James R. “Rube” Harrington, and is credited with having produced $700,000 through 5,662 ounces of gold, 16,301 ounces of silver and 23,830 pounds of copper. The Oro Belle included a series of eight tunnels including one that ran 1,000 feet. The Gray Eagle encompassed a 600-foot shaft located a quarter-mile north of the mill. During its operation it claimed 1 ounce of gold and 2 ounces of silver per ton.

William Ascarza is an archivist, historian and author of seven books available for purchase online and at select bookstores. These include his latest, “In Search of Fortunes: A Look at the History of Arizona Mining,” available through M.T. Publishing Co. at tucne.ws/7ka . His other books are “Chiricahua Mountains: History and Nature,” “Southeastern Arizona Mining Towns,” “Zenith on the Horizon: An Encyclopedic Look at the Tucson Mountains from A to Z,” “Tucson Mountains,” “Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum” with Peggy Larson and “Sentinel to the North: Exploring the Tortolita Mountains.” Email Ascarza at Mining@tucson.com