Occupation: Senior VP for a development company
Residence: Pheonix, Ariozna
Date of Performance/Collection: 2022
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): N/A
(Notes-The informant will be referred to as MW and the interviewer as K)
Background info: MW is a father of 2 who grew up and now resides in Pheonix, Arizona. I was told this story over the phone.
K: So, what’s the uh title of the story? And how do you know it? Like who told it to you or where did you like hear it?
MW: It’s called The Lost dutchman’s mine, and I heard about it from uh…my parents and friends, I guess
K: It’s one of those things you just kind of always hear? Is it like a fireside story or…?
MW: Yeah, yeah. It’s definitely a fireside story, but not really like…scary, ya know? Just a story you hear around.
K: Ok cool, uh…whenever you’re ready to tell it, go-ahead
MW: So the story goes that uh…way back in the 1800s, like during gold rush time there was an uh…Dutch guy that came down to Arizona. One day he went into an uh…bar or something in the settlement with this huge *exaggerates voice here for emphasis* chunk of gold. Everyone asked him where it came from, and he uh refused to uh tell them outright. He only left one hint for people.
K: What was the hint?
MW: Oh uh…It was like…you could see the entrance of the mine from weaver’s needle which is a mountain in Arizona. It’s like an uh peak that looks like the eye of a needle
K: So, has anyone found it? Or has anyone gone like looking for it?
MW: Oh yeah! Loads have gone looking; I think like 2 or 3 people have even died from trying to find it, but no one has found it yet.
K: So, do people actually believe in it? Or is it more of a fun let’s go look kinda adventure?
MW: Like most stories, I guess there are always believers, most people uh…go hik8ing up in the mountains to try and find it in like..highschool or right before college though *laughter* I remember doing it with my friends when I was like 16 or 17.
K: Oh! So there’s a right of passage aspect to it?
MW: Sometimes yeah, definitely.
I really enjoyed hearing this story. It, at least from my perspective, did encompass the American dream in a sense. The idea of both the gold rush, which has long been held as a pinnacle of American determination and achievement, and the idea of adventure and finding a long-lost mine combine to form, as stated, a tale of the American dream in a sense. Another aspect I want to note is the coming of age part of the story. This story, at least according to the informant, dates back to his great-grandfather. That part of the story represents a lot of long-held more conservative beliefs. Arizona, for a very long time, has held conservative values. The informant noted that it was really only high school boys who went to try and find the mine as a coming of age process. Even later on in life, it was mainly men who attempted. The idea of a rugged mine full of riches hidden deep within the scorching mountains, and someone going to find it, is very traditionally masculine.