Pioneer Village Saloon and Telephone Museum

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Electricity and mechanical items can be irresistible to intelligent spirits.



The long, rectangular rustic looking wooden structure in the front of the Pioneer Living History Village. It sits next to the reconstructed Mercantile that is perpendicular to the right side of the Telephone Museum structure.

The Telephone Museum shares the same building with the Pioneer Saloon. There is no wall between the two. A visitor can walk from the saloon into the museum. I took the tour of the Telephone Museum with a tour guide though the different exhibits of the progress of the telephone and other gadgets that developed along with the telephone. I found it fascinating. There are a lot of detailed exhibits and the guide told me information about the history of the phone; the different steps that it took for the telephone to evolve. They have very detailed exhibits; many old phones, and paraphernalia from many sources. Radio phones that the armed forces have used, and other phone-based technology that made a difference through the years. Yes indeed, it is a well-researched, well presented Telephone Museum.

The tour is well worth it. Also on display, and was of interest to me was the switchboard from the Indian School and the large mechanical display that showed the mechanical steps of an older model phone from making a call to having the bell ring. They are very enticing for the living, and apparently attract a spirit or two.

The Pioneer Saloon is the authentic reconstruction of the “Road To Ruin Saloon”. They did a terrific job recreating this Gila Point watering hole, a structure right out the 1880’s, including a colorful sign.It has a large sign on the top of the roof that states, WHIS, with a picture of a key, with the words printed below:THE ROAD TO RUIN.

The inside is beautifully authentic late 19th century saloon that feels like the visitor just went through a time warp. AS you walk in the door, the pride and centerpiece of this exhibit is the absolutely gorgeous Mahogany bar that stands along the west wall does take the breath away. It has long been the cherished centerpiece of several Saloon owners as it gives any place it rests an aura of beauty and an upscale feel. Most of the bar, including the counter top, backdrop and cabinet make a wonderful display. The Mirrors on the bar each weigh about two tons each and about 1 and quarter inch thick.

A few items were replaced or lost along the way:The railing is a piece of narrow gauge rail from Crown King, AZ.. The Stirrup and lights were added on later I the bar’s usage, and the towel racks that would have been on the front of the bar were removed. the matching cabinet to the cabinet on display is missing. The bar originally had two matching cabinets.There are stools down the length of the bar and a table or two. This historical display looks like the bartender and customers went outside for a minute.

Around the inside, there are pictures taken from the era, pictures of the 1880s Saloon, the Salvation Army era when they owned this building, as well as the travels of the Mahogany Bar, built to last for many years of use.




The Pioneer Saloon exhibit is the reconstruction of the Saloon, called WHIS (picture of a key under WHIS), then “Road to Ruin” that served drinks and alcohol to the folks of Gila Bend during the 1880s’. Around the turn-of-the-century, the Saloon became the property of the Salvation Army branch in Phoenix. The name was changed to “The Road to Heaven”, and became the first facility of the Salvation Army in Phoenix. This was part of the effort of Captain Marion Evans to “close the door on sin”, and the consequences of heartbreak caused by alcoholism. Shining the light of the Lord on people drowning their sorrows by drinking gave them a better way to deal with problems, through belief in a loving God.

At some point, the Salvation Army moved to a bigger and better building. The Saloon building may have had another life as a bar, a store, or became apart of another building.

It also could’ve burned to the ground; a fate that happened to many wooden frontier buildings.

The beautiful Mahogany bar that takes the breath away was built in Dubuque, Iowa by the Brunswick Balke Collender Company. After it was finished, it was sent to New York City, loaded into a cargo ship and too a boat ride around South America to San Francisco Bay. It was loaded onto a wagon, pulled by twenty mule teams to Virginia City, Nevada . It stayed there; its new home for the silver mine boom. When the boom was over in a few years, the population of Virginia City decreased to 300 residents.

No longer needed, this bar was sold again to a Saloon in Jerome during the 1880s. While in Jerome, people carried it out of the bar twice to avoid the two fires. On the side nearest the entry door, the visitor can see fire damage. In 1900, this bar was sold to Joseph Mayer. It was moved to the city of Mayer, AZ, about 40 miles north of the Pioneer Museum.

The bar stayed in Mayer until the Pioneer Museum bought it in 1963, still in excellent condition. Joseph Mayer must of put it in a place where it was well taken care of.



Antiques and/or items, furniture that have a lot of memories to people while alive, can attach themselves to these things and just travel where their favorite item goes. A spirit from the past could have attached to the bar or something brought into the Pioneer Saloon. Electricity and mechanical items can be irresistible to intelligent spirits.

A Spirit who may be attached to one of the items in the telephone Museum or the Saloon display likes to play. Spirits from other structures in the Pioneer Living History Village may be drawn to the Pioneer Saloon or the fun exhibits in the Telephone Museum.

A saloon would be an environmental trigger for people living or in spirit form.



Telephone Museum

A spirit perhaps attached to one of the items on display in this museum or the Saloon likes to activate the ringing telephone mechanical display. This spirit also likes to pull out the connection points from the Indian School switchboard. A medium saw a spirit aura near the corner where both spectral attractions were on display

Spirit of a Cowboy

In the Pioneer Saloon he has been seen standing on the end of the bar farthest from the end of the bar nearest the door. He has been seen in the Northwest corner of the room by the end of the bar on the north side. A spectral aura was seen here as well in the corner.



Probably so!

It may be spirit or spirits who came along with the exhibits, or spirits from the other haunted structures like to visit the Pioneer Saloon and play with the interactive exhibits.

The staff of the Telephone Museum have had personal experiences as well as visitors to the building.

I couldn’t find any hard evidence made public.







This reconstructed Saloon can be found on the end of the row of three replica buildings, put together in the style of the eras represented in this Living History Village. The reconstructed Mercantile Store, where you buy tickets, drinks, souvenirs, etc. It shares a wall with the long rectangular telephone museum, that opens up on the inside to the small Saloon.


  • Interviews with the staff.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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