The Harquahala Mountains are the highest mountain range in southwestern Arizona, United States and are located southwest of the towns of Aguila and Wenden. The name originated from the Yavapai 'ʼHakhe:la", which means "running water".
Harquahala Peak Observatory was built in 1920 by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to measure and record solar activity. Although deserted now, from 1920-1925 a hardy group of scientists lived and worked atop the highest mountain in southwestern Arizona (5,681 foot elevation). How these individuals lived, worked, and relaxed up on this peak, struggling with its seclusion and weather, represents an enlivened story of dedicated scientific pursuit and American inventiveness.
The "Nellie E Saloon" (DESERT BAR) is situated in the Buckskin Mountains, in Parker, Arizona, on land that was an old mining camp. The camp was located on the portion of land that is now the parking lot. When Ken acquired the land in 1975, there was nothing left of the old mining camp. With the land and a liquor license from an old business on leased river land, Ken decided to give the "bar in the desert" idea a try. In 1983, Ken opened for business in the temporary three-sided structure which is across from the outdoor restroom's. He operated there for the next five years, until the current saloon was constructed. The name "Nellie E" originates from the old mining claim. They used to mine copper and then take it to the smelter and get gold. When Ken opened the bar, he hauled water in a 50-gallon tank loaded on the back of his truck. Then he purchased an old fire truck, which he used to haul water. In 1989, he started using a well in the canyon as his water source. In the summer of 1997, Ken drilled a new well on the north side of the saloon that operates on solar power, with the pump set at 360 feet. The fire truck in the parking lot was acquired from Scott Winter in March of The fire truck was used by Scott's father in the development of "Bluewater Lagoon" The "Nellie E" was completed in 1988. The inside of the saloon is unique in many ways. It has windows that are old glass refrigerator doors, the bar stools are made of steel and they sway from side to side. The top of the bar is brass and the ceiling is made of stamped tin purchased from a factory in Missouri. The saloon is powered by solar energy and is stored in batteries and run through inverters. Built in 1991, the covered walk bridge was the next big project. It was dedicated in October of that same year. The church was started in 1993, completed in 1996 and dedicated in October. The church is made of solid steel and the walls and ceiling are made of the same stamped tin used inside the bar and the roof is made of copper. The names inscribed on the plaques in the church are people who donated money to help build the church. The church is a unique place and great photo spot. There are no services held in the church and all religions are welcome. Across from the saloon is an outside bar, cooking area and stage. The tall structures you see on the property including Ken's house, located across from the parking lot, are "cooling towers". They work similar to an evaporative (swamp) cooler, except they don't have a fan. When you wet the pads on top, cool air falls and you get a nice cool airflow.