The Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society is planning a birthday party for the town’s founder, Henry Wickenburg, to be held Nov. 18 at his historic home at 225 S. Washington St.

The party will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering refreshments and free tours of the home, according to Historical Society president Cindy Thrasher.

According to The Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society records, Wickenburg was born in Essen, Germany, in 1819 and eventually emigrated to New York with his family. He came to Arizona after working in a number of California mining camps during the gold rush in the early 1850s.

Wickenburg’s discovery of gold at the Vulture Mine is said to have occurred around October of 1863, and was one of the most important gold strikes in the Southwest according to historical documents from Arizona Mining Association.

By 1879 he applied for a land grant of 160 acres, which later became the town of Wickenburg. He served as justice of the peace and judge, was a census taker and was on the coroner’s panel.

In addition to the firm establishment of the town, Wickenburg was a member of the Seventh Territorial Legislature in 1873. There he served on the claims committee, roads and ferries committee and the mines committee. He was president of the mining district, an inspector for the schools and donated land for the first church in Wickenburg.

Wickenburg provided an easement to the railroad for future development. He helped to finance his partner Jack Swilling’s “ditch project”, which later became known as the Salt River Project. His foresight in that venture led to the development of the city of Phoenix.

The Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society purchased Wickenburg’s home in 2006 from the town of Wickenburg and began restorations through an Arizona State Parks heritage fund grant. The project received the Governor’s Award for Project of the Year.

For more information about Wickenburg and the historic home, contact Historical Society president Cindy Thrasher at (928) 684-5603.

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