Chloride Arizona

Chloride Arizona is the oldest continuously inhabited Silver Mining town located in Mohave County, Arizona. The name derives its named from Silver Chloride (AgCl) which is found in abundance in the local Cerbet mountains.

1916 Chloride Main Street. Arizona.
1916 Chloride Main Street. Arizona.

Chloride’s modern history began in the late 19th century when prospectors, drawn by rumors of silver and other valuable minerals, began to explore the nearby hills and canyons. In 1863, a prospector named John Moss struck silver in the area, leading to a flurry of activity as more miners and settlers arrived. The first official post office was established in 1866, and Chloride was officially born.

Chloride experienced rapid growth during the late 1800s as mines produced substantial amounts of silver, lead, zinc, and other valuable minerals. The town’s population swelled. Businesses, saloons, and other establishments sprung up to cater to the needs of the growing community. At its peak, Chloride boasted a theater, several hotels, and a bustling main street.

Chloride Arizona and part of the Cerbat Range, looking easy from Silver Hill,  with Tennessee Avenue in the foreground - 1906- Photo U.S. Geological Survey
Chloride and part of the Cerbat Range, looking easy from Silver Hill, with Tennessee Avenue in the foreground. 1906 – Photo U.S. Geological Survey

However, like many mining towns of the era, Chloride’s prosperity was short-lived. Fluctuating metal prices, mine closures, and the depletion of easily accessible minerals led to a decline in the town’s fortunes. By the early 20th century, Chloride entered a period of decline. Much of its population began to dwindle as residents sought opportunities elsewhere.

Despite the challenges, some residents remained in Chloride, and the town managed to maintain a semblance of its former self. The 20th century saw the rise of tourism as visitors were drawn to Chloride’s picturesque desert landscapes, historical buildings, and remnants of its mining heritage. Efforts to preserve the town’s history led to the restoration of several historic structures, including the Monte Cristo Saloon. The saloon proudly claims to be Arizona’s oldest continuously operating bar.

Modern Relevance

In recent decades, Chloride has experienced a revival fueled by a mix of nostalgia, artistic expression, and a desire to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The town has attracted a diverse group of residents, including artists, retirees, and those seeking a slower pace of life.

One of Chloride’s most unique and captivating features is the open-air Chloride Murals project. In the early 1960s by local artist Roy Purcell, this project has transformed the town into a vibrant canvas. Murals depicting scenes from Chloride’s history, Native American culture, and the American West decorate the sides of buildings and rock formations.

Chloride Arizona Town Summary

NameChloride, Arizona
LocationMohave County, Arizona
Latitude, Longitude35.4047, -114.1812
Elevation4,022 ft (1,226 m)
Max Population2000

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