According to legend, there are fabulous riches in silver and gold to be found somewhere near the old Tumacacori mission in southern Arizona.
From 1508 to 1648 the mine belonged to Tumacacori. There is a tradition among the Indians living in the vicinity of the mission that the mine was discovered by them in the year 1508 and that it was being worked by them for its rich surface ores when the Spaniards landed their ships on the coast of Mexico in 1519, and that in 1540 Spaniards accompanying Coronado in quest of the golden treasures of the Seven Cities of Cibola, found the Indians in possession of the fabulously rich mine.
The Spaniards confiscated the mine and built a mission of their own near the Indian temple. The mine was called the Virgin Guadalupe after their patron saint.
The Indians called their village Tumacacori. The village and Indian temple were located about 25 miles northwest of the present ruins of the Tumacacori mission which was built in 1698 on the west bank of the Santa Cruz river. The lower mission is located near the San Cayetano mountain and is often referred to by the Indians as Tumacacori de San Cayetano, in order to distinguish it from the upper mission which was located on the southern slopes of the Cerrita mountains and in a very rich mining district.
The Lost Guadalupe has been sought persistently for many years in the vicinity of the lower mission by prospectors and adventurers who evidently were not aware of the fact that there were two Tumacacori missions.
Extensive ruins on the southern slopes of the Cerritas, and old cave workings in the vicinity indicate beyond a doubt that considerable mining operations were carried on there by the Indians and later by the Spaniards. Just why the mine was closed and abandoned in 1648 is unknown, but it is presumed to have been raided by the Indians in one of the numerous uprisings that occurred about then.
A considerable amount of treasure has, at different times, been found in and around the lower mission. This treasure consists of candlesticks, silver crosses, and considerable bullion which was supposed to have been left by the Franciscan fathers when they abandoned the mission in 1823 because of the Mexican revolution and the accompanying Indian raids.
However, the great treasure that has been so persistently sought by Mexicans and Americans alike for more than 100 years, is undoubtedly located in the vicinity of the upper and earlier mission, which according to tradition was built and destroyed sometime between the years 1540 and 1648. The mine is said to have been abandoned and the mountain peaks shot down over the mouth of the tunnel to conceal the rich ore and the vast treasure that had accumulated during the long years that the mine was worked by the Indians and later by the Spanish invaders.
Hopefully, somebody will soon discover the secrets to the Lost Guadalupe and reveal her vast treasure.