Welcome to Ponderosa Park
Prescott's Special Place in the Pines
An Annotated History
Ponderosa Park Subdivision
(Development of the Frederich Barth Homestead)
September, 1994 (Revised August 1997) Prepared by Ed T. Nesdill
The first European contact in what is now Arizona is believed to be by the Spanish explorer,
Coronado, in 1541. Another Spanish explorer, Espajo, has been credited to be the first European
in what is now known as Yavapai County in 15811. About 300 years later, in 1848, travel across
northern Arizona and southern Arizona was frequent with traffic to California because of the
gold rush and the end of the Mexican War. The ceding of the Arizona territory north of the Gila
River by Mexico and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 brought all of present Arizona into the
United States with Statehood coming 59 years later in 1912.
In 1861 Capt. Joseph R. Walker, of Tennessee and California, organized an expedition party to
explore the area that lay between the known travel routes across the territory. Eighteen men left
Kernville, California and headed towards the Little Colorado with the San Francisco Mountains
near Flagstaff as their landmark. Failing to find gold they continued eastward and reorganized
the party in Colorado in 1862. With 34 men they set out to the south and then west along the
Butterfield trail to the Hassyampa River and then northward into the Prescott area. Their journals
tell us that they set up a base camp when "they reached the wooded areas along the
Oolkilsipava (Hassayampa)" early in 1863. There are different accounts as to exactly where this
base camp was with one version locating it in the area between Indian Creek and Groom Creek
as they join the Hassayampa (just one mile south of Ponderosa Park) and another locates this
camp at the Potato Patch nearer the headwaters of the Hassayampa. The original journals are
available in the County Recorder's Office with copies available in the Prescott Library.
After the discovery of gold on Lynx Creek they held a "Mineral Meeting" on May 10, 1863 and
drew up their rules and regulations for staking out claims. Some of the provisions of those
resolutions included extra claims for the original prospectors and a number of other provisions
that certainly would be illegal today. As an example; one article states: "no Mexican shall have
the right to buy, take up or pre-empt a claim on this river or in this District for the term of six
months, to date from the first day of June, 1863". This was later amended to read "Resolved that
Asiatics and Senoranians be excluded from working in this District". These exclusions were no
doubt prompted by the sentiments of the general public as a result of the recent war with Mexico
and their experience with California's anti-alien laws. There had been considerable strife and
violence in California during this period and it had even caused international repercussions with
Japan. They also identified their resolutions as taking place in the "Territory of Arizona or New
Mexico" since they were not sure as to the exact locations of the boundaries and the Civil War
was in progress.
The Peeples Party (A. H. Peeples including Pauline Weaver) was organized in late 1863 after
hearing of the gold strike. It entered Arizona in early 1864 by way of Yuma and discovered Rich
Hill on their way to the "Walker Diggings". By early 1864 the town of Prescott was founded and
Governor Goodwin's party had arrived and a military post was established at Fort Whipple (then
in Chino Valley). A printing press also arrived and began publication of the Arizona Miner.
Very little is known of Frederich Barth. From the archives of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the
Great Registers of Yavapai County we do know that he was born in 1832 in Germany (Prussia)
and that he was naturalized in Pennsylvania in 1859. He was known to be in the Prescott area
from 1876 to 1884 but no records of marriage or family have been found. On January 26, 1884 he
sold the Howard Claim to Chas B. Rush and from that we assume that he was engaged in mining
and/or prospecting. On December 13, 1884 he was granted Homestead Certificate No. 82,
Application No. 200 signed by Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States. This Homestead
was for 160 acres and designated: The west half of the southeast quarter and the east half of the
southwest quarter of Section 29, Range 2 West, Township 13 North. This is the property that now
comprises Ponderosa Park. (See attached copy of the Homestead Certificate.)
Barth was 52 years old when he obtained the homestead. There was a great demand for
foodstuffs and other supplies during these early days of Prescott and freighting was a
considerable industry. It is assumed that Barth was using his land for cattle raising and ranching
with ready nearby markets from the military and miners. However, there is no further record of
Barth from 1884 onward. He disappears from the "Great Registers" and no reference can be
found of him in newspapers or County Records. There are a number of other Barths in the area
with some in Flagstaff and a Sol Barth who was quite famous from New Mexico to all parts of
Arizona. No connection or association has been found between Frederich Barth and the others.
There is one indirect record from October 8, 1903. in the Recording of Deeds (Book 64, Page
151). At the request of Z. O. Brown (Zeba Oetux Brown) the Homestead Certificate was faithfully
copied into the records, for whatever reason, 19 years after it was issued. Z. O. Brown has a
story all of his own. The records are full of his buying and selling mining claims and town real
estate. We can only guess why he wanted the deed recorded except to clarify ownership of
certain areas in which he had an interest. In any event, tracing the disposition of the property
through Grantees and Grantors becomes an arduous task since lawyer's names appear acting
as agents and Sheriff's names acting in foreclosure can break the link between original owners
to current buyers. By starting at the other end you find that the property was so cut up and sold
off in pieces that it is also difficult to trace the lineage back to Barth.
We do know some of the names of the major landowners at the time of the Ponderosa Park
Subdivision was formed and a trace to fill the 40-year gap between 1900 and 1940 will be left for
some future historian. M. Adele and Lenord F. Albrecht bought property from Ben Smith on
August 15, 1941 and 1.64 acres from Western Exploration Ltd. on July 3, 1946. All these
transactions are for pieces of property of the original homestead. Another piece was obtained
from Ralph S. Hall (3/12/50) and the major part consisting of 120 acres was bought from Grace B.
and C. W. Poole (2/19/51)3. Additional pieces were bought in October of 1951. The Albrechts now
had title to just about the entire Ponderosa Park area. Right-of-way grants were issued for
Transmission lines from the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in 1954, 1956,
and 1959. In April, 1952 Albrecht was awarded a judgement and decree against the Benedictine
Mining & Milling Co. and the Consolidated Maricopa Queen Oil Co. for non-payment of mortgage.
Title was reverted back to Albrecht although no record was found showing that he originally
sold property to these Companies.
PONDEROSA PARK SUBDIVISION
Records show that the property was surveyed for tax purposes by the State in 1925 and
determined to be 160.11 acres. A Ponderosa Park Tract Unit 1 (listed as "unrecorded") was filed
with the County in 1954 and can be found in Book 104, Map 23. Ponderosa Park Unit No. 2 was
filed in 1961 (Book 104, Map 24), Unit No. 3 was filed in 1963 (Book 1204, Map 25) and Unit No. 4
was entered in 1967 (Book 104, Map 21). In the late 1950's a Mr. Rudger Smith (and Mrs. Grace
Smith) became involved and traded property in San Diego, CA to the Albrechts for the balance of
the unsold lots in Ponderosa Park. Rudger Smith is now deceased and Grace Smith currently
lives in the State of Washington. She owns (through trusts) the roads in Ponderosa Park in
which the main distribution system of the Ponderosa Park Domestic Water Improvement District
(PPDWID) is located. We also know that a Rudger Smith, Jr. exists and it is assumed that he is an
heir to the trust(s). As of this date, the PPDWID is in process of negotiating an agreement to
obtain clear title to the road right-of-ways with Mrs. Smith. The Water District also owns property
where wells are located and has use permits from the Forest Service for roads and the location
of their main storage tank to the east of the subdivision.
An original sales brochure for Ponderosa Park from the 60's is shown below. It is a tri-fold
brochure with information about Ponderosa Park, a view of the lots for sale then (listed as
between $2,000 and $3,000 per lot!), and on the front page a picture of a "model home."
Since the Ruth Mine is adjacent to Ponderosa Park on the South and that there seems to be
considerable misinformation as to Ponderosa Park originating out of the Ruth Mine property, a
little information on its status and history is presented here.
The original claim was patented in January, 1899 under Mineral Survey 1264. Earliest reports on
the Ruth Mine appear in the Prescott Journal Miner in 1911. This report states that work will
resume after some shutdown so we can assume that the mine was in operation prior to that time.
The Ruth was reported as a gold mine and was producing 40 tons a day worth $17 to $20 per ton
of gold and silver. (The value of gold at that time was approximately $20 per ounce.) A tunnel
was constructed at that time and extended 500 ft. to connect to surface shafts #1 and #2 at the
100 ft. level. The tunnel and tailings just to the south of the Ponderosa Park boundary is on a
separate claim and is believed to be a "Tunnel Site" or "Mill Site". The original patented load
claim is located to the south, up over the hill from this tunnel and/or mill site. It is privately owned
and is posted against trespassing.
A mill was planned to run on power brought in from Kingman. In 1912 the Mine was owned and
operated by J. R. Slack and J. I. Gardner but was listed as a Lead and Zinc producer.
As a side note, the Miner had an article next to the story on the Ruth Mine that reported a Mr.
Grahgam Reibling on June 4, 1912, driving an EMF automobile from Prescott to Phoenix, set a
new record for the 140-mile route in 9 hours and 20 minutes. It is believed that this route went
out through Iron Springs, Skull Valley and down to Wickenberg and was a graded wagon road at
During World War I (1914 to 1918), operations continued with shafts down to 300 ft. and a 3-shift
operation was in progress. The mill was shipping 35 tons a day of high grade lead-zinc
concentrates. In 1916, the mine was sold to a California syndicate and operated by W. S.
Welhelm. They had five trucks to haul the ore and they reported that road repair would begin at
once (4/21/1916). There are records in Sharlot Hall Museum that show production in 1928 and
intermittent activity in the 1930's. Records also show that the equipment located at the mine was
sold off in 1942 and 1943. This was when the mine was closed during World War II. The
equipment was sold by the owner, H. E. Ludwick, of 2525 Firestone Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
There is some evidence that the mine was operated for gold content before the war but further
investigation is needed. It is also appears that attempts to reopen the mine after the war were
made but flooding and rapidly escalating costs could not make it pay.
As another side note, in 1918, The United Chino Oil and Refining Co. claimed that there was
proven oil in Chino Valley and that there was only 300,000 shares left at 5 cents a share ($15,000
value). The shares could be purchased at their operating headquarters listed as "Lobby, Head
As reported in the Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology Bulletin No. 137, W.
Lindgren describes the Ruth Mine as a vein "occurring in Bradshaw Granite which, near the
walls, is schistose, soft, probably sericitized, and impregnated with tourmaline and pyrite. The
vein dips steeply eastward. It consists of coarse-grained milky quartz, with narrow seams of
pyrite, ankerite, and tourmaline. Pyrite, chalcopyrite, gelena, and sphalerite occur as irregular
bunches and streaks in the quartz."
The Silver Flake is another interesting mine located about two and a half miles from Ponderosa
Park by way of the Maripai Road or by a one-mile hike due east of the Park. Records go back to
1876 and it produced gold, silver, lead, zinc and other metals up to the early 1970's.
The Geology of the area is very interesting and complex. In summary, the Ponderosa Park area
is composed of Proterozoic (Precambrian) "Undifferentiated Granites and Schists."
Located between the Chaparral Shear Zone on the south and the Mesa Butte Shear Zone on the
north, there are light-colored granites (Aplite to Granidorite), Diorite, Gabbro, Gneisses, Schists,
Metasedimentary and Metavolcanic rocks. On one tributary to Indian Creek to the east, over 15
different types of granite and metamorphic rocks can be found. These rocks were
metamorphosed (altered by heat under tremendous pressure) about 1.75 to 1.8 billion years ago.
The rocks themselves are older; in the order of 2.0 billion years ago. Considerable detail of the
geology of the area is available in hard-to-find books by Waldemar Lingren and Charles
Bancroft as quoted in "The History on Mining in Yavapai County" by Homer R. Wood ca. 1937
"The Many Lives of Lynx" by Alvina N. Potter, 1964, Prescott, AZ.
Book 18, pg 544, Yavapai County Recorders Office, Book of Deeds.
Personal conversation with Ida Goddard Sept., 1994. Ida Goddard was a resident of Ponderosa
Park from 1959 to 1978 and worked in Real Estate Sales in the Park during that time.
"Arizona Lode Gold Mines and Gold Mining" by E. D. Wilson, L. B. Cunningham, and G. M. Butler.
Bulletin 137, Revised 1967, Publication of the Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral