A Trip To The Ghost Town Of Ruby, AZ!by Jim Gressinger on Mar. 06, 2012, under Hiking, Local Adventures, Local Attractions, Old West, Pioneers, Scenic Back Roads, Southern Arizona Ghost Towns, Southern Arizona Wildlife, Things To Do With The Kidz, Wildflowers
As I mentioned yesterday, Ruby is about 12 miles from Arivaca. About half way there, the road goes from pavement to dirt. But it’s well-maintained and a standard sedan can easily travel on it (unless of course the area gets a hard rain). Again, do not rely on your GPS.
Ruby was a mining town in the early years of the last century. The mine produced gold, silver, zinc, and copper and was, for a time, highly profitable.
In the 1930′s, Ruby’s population was about 1,200, with 150 students attending the school. The Post Office was established in 1912, and general store owner, Julius Andrews, named the town after his wife.
In the early 1920′s, there were two double murders here. The mine closed in 1940 and, by the next year, the town was mostly abandoned.
When Ms. Karen & I first moved to Tucson, we enjoyed a lovely day trip to Ruby with friends, Dan & Wanda. Since then, Ruby has often been closed to the public. I, my film crew and entourage, went to Ruby last Saturday to do an on-camera interview with one of the partners who own this historical gem, Howard Frederick.
Howard is exceedingly knowledgeable about Ruby and the interview went very well. I should have it edited and posted in a week or two.
Michael is the caretaker at Ruby. If you go, be sure to check in with him. He will give you a site map and happily answer
Ruby is open to the public from Thursday-Sunday during daylight hours. Probably not by coincidence, the only good restaurant in the area, Sweet Peas Cafe’ in Arivaca, is open Thursday – Monday. Alternatively, take a picnic lunch and enjoy the picnic area on the sandy beach on the far side of the lake.
Historical information and maps are provided for self-guided tours and entrance fees are $12 per person over 12 years of age. The fees go to the non-profit foundation: Ruby Mines Restoration Project.
The Project is not trying to restore Ruby to its former “grandeur”. Simply raising money to help keep the building from deteriorating further.
Fishing in the pond is permitted, with no license required, for $18. The caretakers can be reached at 744-4471.
Pima Community College also conducts tours of Ruby. Details at (520)206-6579.
Also, you can order the book: Ruby, Arizona – Mining, Mayhem, and Murder, by Bob Ring. It’s authoritative and and a good read.
When you leave Ruby, you can return to I-19 by going back through Arivaca, or continuing south on Forest Service Road-39. It’s a pretty drive (unpaved for about 13 miles) with a couple of small lakes soon after you reach pavement. Watch out for hunters.
If you appreciate Arizona history in general, and ghost towns in particular, do visit Ruby. Highly recommended!