Courtland Ghost Town


Courtland is truly 100% ghost town. There are no more residents of the town itself, although several ranches span the area where Courtland once stood. The last resident of Courtland was Eugene Yoakem, who died in 1974, having lived there continuously since the age of 32 way back in 1908. (He was born in 1876, and his grave can be found in the Gleeson cemetery.) The town of Courtland was named after Courtland Young, one of the two brothers who owned the Great Western Copper Mining Company. The Youngs were a huge force in the creation of the town, but they were not the only ones. Courtland was definitely not a “company town.” There was never a store, hotel, boarding house, or other entity in town that was owned by the mining companies. That made Courtland fairly unique in the area, since most other mining towns (such as Morenci and Bisbee) were much more dependent on their mining companies. Though its heyday was brief, Courtland was a booming town with great promise which drew in thousands of residents anxious to make their fortune (or at least their living) there.

Founded in 1909, Courtland was divided into four sections, strung out along the road from Gleeson to Pearce. The Young brothers, who hailed from Clinton Iowa, owned the land on both sides of the road from the intersection of Courtland Road north to the sharp turn at the top of the hill. If you start from the Gleeson side and travel north, the sloping valley on your left is the remains of the “Great Western Townsite,” which was divided up into streets and lots and sold piecemeal to settlers and shop-keepers. The big rock building whose ruins are on the left (by the gate) are all that remains of the “Big Rock Store”…named and built by John Rock, who kept the largest mercantile business in Courtland. On the right, just above the Big Rock Store, you will see the remains of the twin buildings that were the offices of the Great Western Copper Company. Just up the hill a little further on the same side, the remnants of the mine superintendent’s house. Traveling further up the road, you’ll see a large foundation in the middle of the shallow valley to your left. That was the electrical power generating plant, which had two oil-burning boilers. The south Courtland spur of the El Paso and Southwestern (EP&SW) railroad ran its tracks along the middle of that shallow valley.