Some visualize living in a ghost town as a surreal, if not eerie, experience. Communities usually become close to abandonment if they do not have much economic activity. One such ghost town is Cascabel in Arizona.
Find your way to Cascabel
Location of Cascabel in the south eastern part of Arizona
Cascabel is situated in Cochise County, Arizona. It is located along the San Pedro River and does not have much going on. There are no schools, convenience stores, or gas stations. A single general store exists, and there is only one road through and away from Cascabel.
While the town does have a Community Center, most people live independently. They have instances of banding together, such as bake sales and donation drives. Fundraisers have brought the town of Cascabel together, something that allowed them to build the Center without government support.
Cascabel has a rich history. The first few explorers found the town around the 16th century, with greenery covering the area. Farming and fishing were typical for the Native Americans who owned the area. During the 19th century, foreigners began to settle in the area.
One of the most well-known families in the area is the Redfields, among the first few who settled in what would become Cascabel, alongside the Souzas, Bayless, Small houses, and Pools. An earthquake in the area caused changes in the geography, affecting river flow to the town. As a result, the population dwindled.
A post office was initially established in 1902, but it was defunct eleven years later. A man named Alex Herron wanted to rebuild a post office in 1916, although local authorities did not permit the use of the "Pool" name. Around this time, Herron met a Mexican who had killed a rattlesnake. Being told that the name of the rattler in Spanish was "Cascabel," this seemed an appropriate name of the town, and also became the official post office name.
Over the following decades, Cascabel struggled economically. The post office became defunct again in 1936, and farming and livestock did not prosper as much. Men who fought during World War II did not return to town, choosing to pursue college or work in other cities. Electric power came in the fifties, but the next few years saw several changes in the town area.
The government at least protected the surrounding San Pedro River. Currently, there are efforts to retain the sanctity of the area's environment. The development of telephones in the 90s did not stop these plans, and the river remains a stronghold for wildlife.
Every year in December, the community of Cascabel comes together for its annual arts and crafts festival. Due to the covid-19 pandemic the festival had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021. For current plans, see the community website.
Although a secluded part of Arizona, people who somehow find themselves dropping by Cascabel will find some fascinating tales to be heard from the residents. Some bizarre ones about love triangles, feuds, wild cows, and others. However, there are also dark tales such as murders and accidents. Some people also talk about a mountain lion.
Even if Cascabel is mostly a ghost town today, it boasts a rich and exciting history buoyed by the river and its people. The Center is one way that people bond, but they still hope that others will hear or witness these stories in the future. There are other ghost towns in the world and even in the state, but Cascabel Arizona brings something unique to the table.