Booma | The Mine with the Iron Door

The Mine with the Iron Door

Harold Bell Wright

Trail through the Canyon del Oro with the Reef of Rock in the distance.


The story in Harold Bell Wright's The Mine with the Iron Door (1923) takes place almost entirely within the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north of Tucson, an area that Wright became familiar with during his visit to the area in 1915 and his subsequent residence in and just outside of Tucson.

While the story focuses on the adventures of a couple old miners who scratch out a living in the mountains while jointly raising their adopted daughter Marta Hillgrove into a strong, young woman, the book also serves as a time capsule with fleeting glimpses of the city and surrounding mountains and desert as they were in the early 20th century.

The novel is just one part of Wright's legacy in Tucson, however. As the first American author to sell a million copies of a book and earn a million dollars from his writing, he had considerable influence on the desert town he briefly made his home, and as evidenced by his dedication in The Mine with the Iron Door--"To My friends in the Old Pueblo Tucson"--the town left an impression on him as well.

To learn more about the locations that appear in the book, use the navigation buttons above, click the markers on the map, or select locations from the table of contents.

The locations for this book are divided into three groups. The primary locations, which here only include two locations, are where significant events from the story take place. Secondary locations are places that are mentioned but do not include significant action. "The Chase" refers to primary events that are part of a multiple chapter section near the end of the narrative where several of the main characters travel across the desert.

Read more about the mapping of this book:

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Created by David Herring.

This project was originally published in March 2016.