Although white men discovered copper, lead, and silver in the area in 1870's, it wasn't until Courtland became a boom town, in 1909, that Gleeson really bloomed.  The town was named for an Irishman, John Gleeson, who with his wife, had come to Arizona in the 1890's.  Gleeson turned to mining in Pearce, and he did some prospecting.  In 1896 he staked a copper claim near Turquoise.  The mine was a good producer, but water was in short supply, so the camp of Turquoise was moved closer to a more adequate source of water and re-named Gleeson, in honor of the claim locater.


The site of Turquoise was originally established by Indians who mined the gemstones in the area later to be called Turquoise Mountain.   Later, Tiffany & Company acquired the mines, and the camp of Turquoise was established in 1890.  The post office was open from 1890 to 1894.


John Gleeson later mined here and by 1900 the new post office opened under the name of Gleeson.


Several fires devoured Gleeson.  The most devastating of them burned twenty-eight buildings in June 1912.  But the town was rebuilt, and prospered, at least during the early years of the twentieth century.  An old newspaper clipping from the "Courtland Arizonan" newspaper dated June 8, 1912 describes the $100,000 fire.   "Deputy W. W. Cales, making his rounds before retiring for the night, noticed smoke coming from a warehouse owned by B. A. Taylor, and gave the alarm by firing five shots as he ran to the building.  The fire spread rapidly, taking every building in the block on both sides of the street.  Some people, in view of the rapidity with which the fire spread were confident that oil and matches had been used judiciously at various locations.


Like Courtland, Gleeson had all the amenities of a big city...even a Chinese restaurant, that was run by Yee Wee.


In 1938, Paramont Pictures filmed parts of the Zane Grey novel "Mark of the Avenger (The Mysterious Rider") here.


Today in Gleeson the remains of the school, hospital, Joe Bono's store, a variety store, the jail and a few other buildings (on private property) are all that can be seen of what remains of Gleeson.


The photo above is of John Gleeson. You can see more photos of Gleeson on the Old Photos of Gleeson page.




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