The Dutchman’s Window Arch

In a gulch in the Superstition Mountains, the location of which is described by certain landmarks, there is a two-room house in the mouth of a cave on the left side of the slope near the gulch. Just across gulch, about 200 yards, is a tunnel, covered up and concealed in the bushes. Here is the mine, the richest in the world, according to Dutch Jacob. Some distance above the tunnel on the side of the mountain is a shaft or incline that is not so steep but can climb down. The shaft goes right down in the midst of a rich gold ledge where it can be picked off in big flakes of almost pure gold.

This is one of the main clues to the Lost Dutchman Mine given to us by reporter/ prospector P.C. Bicknell and published in the Mesa Free Press on Nov. 9, 1894.

Another key clue left to us from that era allegedly by the Dutchman is the one about an arch or window rock in the mountains. The Dutchman stated: The setting sun shines through a window rock or arch in the mountains and illuminates the mine shaft and makes the golden ore shine.
Well, in order for that clue to work there must be (1) a window or arch high enough on a mountain side to shine upon the mine below it; (2) the sun must be setting in the west and must be able to shine upon an open shaft or the glittering ore dumps surrounding the mine opening; and (3) the mine must be located in an area where gold has been found. This is a difficult task as we shall see. Many people did not understand the meaning of this clue and what bearing it had on locating the Dutchman’s Mine. However, I now believe I have located an arch that may fit this confusing clue.

Several people over the years have stated that they have located just such a window rock or window arch on the side of a mountain. But after following up on all these tales of window arches, I have found no such evidence of an old gold mine sitting below the western setting sun. I have followed up on most of these stories to see if there was any evidence that could support such a story.

From Arizona Daily Sun,
March 27, 1985.

From Arizona Daily Sun,
March 27, 1985.

From left are Rick Gwynne Charles Shaefer and Jack San Felice at Hensley Arch near Ward’s old cabin site in 2000. (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson.)

One of these finds include the story of the “Hensley Find,” which is an actual large window arch that would allow the setting sun to shine through it. The story was published by Bob Ward in the Arizona Daily Sun on March 27, 1985. Don Hensley, a resident of the area for several years, had stated that he had found the mysterious arch. Mr. Ward included a photo of the arch, which was actually located not far from the site of Bob Ward’s old cabin, off Peralta Road, now demolished and removed from the area. However, the arch is still there and can be visited as it is not too difficult to locate. But there is no gold mine on the other side of the arch. I have visited this site many times and have not located any nearby gold mine.

Dutchman’s Triangle Arch- courtesy Steve Bowser 2017

Another site I have located, however, yields a much more interesting situation. For this window arch is huge, and the setting sun could shine on an old mine where gold was located in the past century. I found this arch while searching in an area a few years ago for where I believed that Dutchman could be located and wrote about this location in my book, “Lost El Dorado of Jacob Waltz.” I did not mention this connection in the book as I thought the mine of the Dutchman was on the other side of the mountain and did not know gold had been found in the location below the window arch, which does indeed have an old mine below the arch.

Dutchman’s Triangle Arch- courtesy Steve Bowser 2017

Coincidentally, this old mine is located not far from what I believe is the Dutchman’s route and Soldier’s route through the mountains.

Recently my friends Steve Bowser and Jack Carlson, along with Wally Farak, decided to climb the mountainside where this arch was located and found out just how large this window arch really is. Steve climbed up to the arch and had his photo taken while he was sitting in the arch.
The sun can shine through this huge window arch and can shine on this old mine.

Steve Bowser inside Dutchman’s Arch in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Wally Farak.)

The sun shines on this old mine via the arch 2017-courtesy Steve Bowser

The situation is believable and presents an interesting dilemma. Could there be some truth to the old Dutchman’s story? What if he really located more than one gold mine in the mountains? Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. Perhaps there is still some gold in that old mine, but first you have to solve that mystery of just where this old arch is located. The hunt is worth the effort and you will see some great scenery as well as passing by several clues to the Lost Dutchman Mine if you pay close attention, such as the Soldiers Trail, Soldiers Needle to the South, Old Horse Trail, Weavers Needle in the Gunsight, etc.

You see, any interested reader could read my book and then follow the clues and search for the arch for it is not hard to see. But you must have the right mountain to search and the area where I located the trail to the Dutchman. On my trail to the Dutchman there are many mountains nearby and more than one window arch. I am leaving the reader with a little mystery to solve and have left a path to follow if one wants to have a great hike along with viewing some great sights. Good hunting.


Jack San Felice

Editor’s note: Jack San Felice has been a guest writer for the Apache Junction Independent for 18 years now. He is the author of Lost El Dorado of Jacob Waltz, Superstition Cowboys, When Silver Was King and numerous short stories of the Superstition Mountains. He has been a part-time instructor at the Superstition Mountain Campus of the Central Arizona Community College for years.

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