(Modern Flagstaff, Arizona is a staging area for visitors to the Grand Canyon.)
Scenic Southwestern City
One of the more scenic Southwestern cities you'll ever come across is Flagstaff, Arizona. Situated amid the mountainous terrain of the northern part of the state and about an hour's drive away from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff has undergone tremendous growth in the past decade or two.
This untrammeled growth and popularity among those seeking retirement or a getaway from the huge urban "rat races" has had both positive, and not so beneficial impacts. But that's grist for another time and another story entirely. After all, we're here to talk about lost treasure.
Herman Wolfe's Trading Post
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
Herman Wolfe was a businessman of German extraction who operated a profitable trading post for 30 years along the Little Colorado River near Flagstaff. From 1869 until his demise around 1899, Wolfe bought and sold goods at a tidy profit, eventually becoming very wealthy...and much of that wealth took the form of silver and gold coin.
However, wealth can be ephemeral at times and Herman Wolfe worried constantly about having his life savings taken from him at the point of a gun. His worries were not unfounded. Many would-be desperadoes of the day "worked" Flagstaff area banks, stores, and stages at the time, leaving a legacy of hold-ups, robberies, petty thefts, and general misery behind them.
Wolfe Caches His Gold and Silver
Unwilling to risk his gold and silver to local banks or other repositories like floor safes, Wolfe began caching his "excess" gold and silver in glass jars (Mason or Kerr type fruit jars, that is) and in sturdy metal buckets with lids. These he buried in various locations along old fence lines on his property as well as other locations he could memorize or map out easily.
(Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River near Flagstaff.)
It's estimated that Herman Wolfe buried between $300,000-$350,000 (face value) in gold and silver coin of various denominations from the U.S. as well as Mexico near his trading post on the Little Colorado. In today's numismatic market it's possible that many of these coins could have values much greater than their face value, so this cache may very well total in the millions.
Two Finds Bolster the Cache's Validity
To bolster the validity of the legend of Herman Wolfe's cache we have only to research back to 1901, when a small jar containing 20 gold coins was "accidentally" unearthed near Wolfe's old trading post. Then, in 1918, another erstwhile treasure seeker dug up a corroded metal bucket filled to the brim with Mexican silver, most of which were 1 peso coins.Strapworks.com - any strap, any length, any color!
This second find near the old trading post triggered a short-lived "gold rush" that drew many local citizens including ranchers, store owners, cowboys, and even housewives to the site. There they turned over the surrounding earth with picks, shovels, and spades like a pack of frenzied gophers. All to no avail....
"Meat on Its Bones"
Just imagine what an experienced treasure hunter with a good metal detector could have done back then. Or now, for that matter.
This is one treasure cache tale that has some real "meat on its bones." Are you hungry enough to search for it?
Good hunting my friends.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Treasure Hunting Questions and Answers: Part 2"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com