Arizona December 29, 2016
The Abandoned Town In Arizona That Most People Stay Far, Far Away From
Finding abandoned places in Arizona isn’t difficult. Ghost towns, derelict buildings, and forgotten mining shafts are everywhere so it’s a rare spot to find one almost erased from memory. In such cases, it’s typically the distance that separates a well-known ghost town from one history forgot. This is one such town.
It’s probably accurate to say that the ruins of Swansea are located right in the middle of nowhere.
Found in La Paz County, just a couple of miles away from the Bill Williams River, the town sits about 30 miles from Parker or 109 miles from Wickenburg. Unless you hike, there are only two ways to get here.
That doesn’t sound too far until you consider the quality of the roads that lead you to the town.
Areas of the asphalt are in questionable condition, some parts can get washed out by rain, most areas are narrow, and a good chunk of it amounts to some rather rough dirt roads. A trip here can take one to three hours one way, depending on how you drive.
That said, unless you’re a local or someone who loves seeking abandoned places, you’ve probably never even heard of Swansea.
That’s okay! Let’s go through a quick rundown of the town.
Swansea was settled in 1909 as a small mining and smelting town.
The name for the town has its origins in international copper ore smelting. Swansea in the United Kingdom’s South Wales was the final destination for the copper ore mined in this part of Arizona for a short time period. Once the post office was established and a smelter installed, the town changed its name from Signal to Swansea.
A couple of different mining companies were established here and the railroad helped to slightly boost Swansea’s population to a few hundred at its peak. It had a small number of commercial buildings—like restaurants, a saloon, theatre, and barbershops—but the town never grew to the same size as more well-known mining towns.
The good times didn’t last for long.
The first company to operate in the town only lasted another three years before closing shop. Another was set up in 1914 and they enjoyed ten years of production, including providing materials during World War I, but the mines were eventually closed for good.
By 1937, the town was abandoned completely.
Mines were shut down, people moved on, and eventually the buildings began to succumb to natural weathering and vandalism.
If you’ve ever seen the 1971 film
The Day of the Wolves, then you might recognize parts of Swansea in the film.
The film was a crime thriller about a group of men taking over an entire town and it’s pretty rare to find these days. However, the training scenes were filmed in Swansea and will show you just how run down the town became within a few decades.
These days, the town has gone mostly forgotten.
The Bureau of Land Management has taken over the area, restoring what’s left of the buildings, covering old mine shafts, and installing plaques detailing the history of the area.
If you want to see more of this town, you can check out this short video from the YouTuber Totally Trailer.
Information about visiting Swansea can be found on the
Bureau of Land Management website.
Want to read about another abandoned place in Arizona? You’ll be intrigued by a little town once dedicated to Christmas year-round, which you can read in
Decades Ago, This Abandoned Arizona Town Used To Be A Christmas Destination.