Crown King is an unincorporated community in Yavapai County,
Arizona, United States, located at an elevation of 5,771 feet. Crown
King has a ZIP Code of 86343. The site of a former gold mining town,
Crown King is 28 miles west of Interstate 17 on Senator Highway high
in the Bradshaw Mountains. The community is named after the Crowned
King mine, but the name was shortened to Crown King in 1888.
Horsethief Basin Lake resides 6.5 miles South-East of Crown King on
Crown King Rd/Forest 259 Rd.
While over $2,000,000 in gold was taken from the Crowned King Mine
alone, the mines have been closed since the 1950's and for the past
half-century tourism has been the only reliable source of income in
The first recorded gold claim in Crown
King was "Buckeye" and was filed by Rod McKinnon on July 1, 1875. Over
the next 40 years, more than 15 mines or claims were made in the area.
At its height, the town had 500 buildings, including several
company stores and boarding houses, two Chinese restaurants and a post
office. The town was electrified by 1897 and had one telephone at that
While an active mining town, Crown King was served by the Bradshaw
Mountain Railroad. Rail service to the area began in 1904 upon
completion of "Murphy's Impossible Railroad" — a series of switchbacks
and trestles that ascended the mountain terrain between Cleator and
Crown King was the terminus (1904 - 1926) of the railroad, built by
Frank M. Murphy to serve the mines of the southern Bradshaw Mountains.
However, these mines were never very productive, and the BMRR was a
financial failure. The line was abandoned in 1926. Much of the road to
Crown King uses the old railbed.
Of the buildings still standing and in use in Crown King, the Crown
King Restaurant and Saloon has become the center of activity in the
town. The building itself has an interesting history. It was
originally constructed in the nearby mining town of Oro Belle (now
also a ghost town) and having been brought to Crown King in 1910 in
pieces, on the backs of mules, when Oro Belle closed. The building was
home to a brothel and bar in both towns.
The red one-room schoolhouse was built in 1917 and still serves
seven K-8 students today.
The post office was established on July 29, 1888, and was
discontinued on May 15, 1954. It has since reopened inside the Crown
King General Store.