Several different things contributed to the short lived prosperity of the original town [Portal]. The Savage Mine in Round Valley of which Jim Reay was superintendent was employing several miners and some of the men in building a small smelter, which by the way never did go into operation as it was built before the mine was developed, or should we way over developed? Anyway when all was said and done there was no ore to smelt so the whole works was shut down, the machinery sold and moved away. Jim Reay moved onto his homestead down at the mouth of Cave Creek and started farming and raising cattle and horses.
The Virtue Mining Company with Ed Epley as superintendent was employing several miners driving the long tunnel into the limestone mountain Northwest of town. That work was all done without benefit of machinery. They used single and double jacks (four and eight lb. hammers) with hand turned steel drills. This operation lasted longer than the Savage did but the results were the same. No Ore.
Filing Homestead claims on Government land was just getting underway in this part of the country at that time. Fred Finnicum homesteaded the place which now belongs to the Toles sisters; Hugh Rowe's claim was on the north side of the lane just to the west of town; Powers and McCord filed claims on most of the land lying between the Ranger Station and the Post Office, and a widow whose name is not remembered homesteaded the land covering the little seep spring on the mountain side about two miles directly west of town. She married old Walt Finnicum while holding down her claim but they didn't stay hitched very long. The main part of the AVA Ranch
[Now owned by Ted Troller] was homesteaded several years later by an ex Forest Ranger by the name of Billy Stewart. There were a good many other homesteaders or Nesters as they were commonly called located further down in the valley who did most of their trading in Portal. Considerable trade came from people traveling between Paradise and Rodeo up to the time when Paradise went on the rocks for the same reason the two aforementioned mines did. No pay dirt.
A lot of wood was being cut and shipped to Douglas, Bisbee and Tucson, Frank Kelsey had a big bunch of Mexican wood cutters camped about where the John Hands dam is now. Powers and McCord and some others were also in the business, the wood was hauled to Rodeo with wagons and shipped from there on the Railroad.
Portal never did die completely, as the old town died out a few buildings were built on the new site and now as we have told you before the same thing is happening again. The only new construction that has been done for the past several years has been further up the creek. Wonder if it will take the name with it this time? If not we suggest that the new town be called Jack Maloney, Arizona.