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Highland Pine Properties

Highland Pines Properties came into existence out of a series of ‘quit claim’ deeds, deriving from the controversial 1920 patenting of land at the site of U.S. Mineral Survey 2424. The subdivisions of Highland Pines where then cut from the projected conjectural lottings within the purported lode claims, as delineated on the plat map of Mineral Survey 2424, from 1907. The superimposed Yavapai County positioning of the lode claims by name were likely assumed after a dependent resurvey of the entire township in the 1930’s, referred to as the Kinsey plat, was ordered by presidential executive order. This resurvey was supposed to finish or correct the township plat of 1871, but it failed to account for the graft(s) within, which do not appear to have been questioned, and thus not investigated as to their validity of private title.

The plat map(s) of record, tie the lots of Highland Pines to nearby section corners of the public land survey system, which appear as the corner to sections 28, 27, 33 & 34 at township 14 north, range 3 west, Gila Salt River Meridian, although none existed at the time in 1907. There exists a discrepancy of the M.S. 2424 mining claim’s platted relation to the section corners between the 1871 plat and the 1936 plat. An inaccurate placement, and overall representation of the purported “initial site“, which was not in conformity to the rules of construction to begin with, has been carried forward to present day

A initial play on the spread of a fictitious, or at best unfinished skeletal township survey from 1871, by a known Benson Syndicate surveyor Solomon Foreman, under the contract system and approval of John Wasson, who was the Surveyor General of the Arizona Territory, set the stage for the concerted theoretical lode claim platting of the Derby Mining Company’s various relocated lode claims. All of the Highland Pines inception land matters derive from the time period of planning for the future control of water for Prescott, Arizona, and after J.J. Fisher had reportedly scouted the land of this area with the brother of Binger Hermann, Commissioner of the General Land Office, and created mineral survey 2424 among several other plats in the area. A variation between the Spenazuma swindle and Looters of the Public Domain, has effectively created the controversial land site, known presently as Highland Pines in Prescott, Arizona.

Although the Arizona Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the Department of the Interior, has administratively cancelled several other fictional lode mining claim plats in Arizona, for similar issues, Mineral Survey 2424 remains as the controlling survey of record for title to the lots within the subdivided community Yavapi County plats A through K of Highland Pines and what appears to be connecting metes & bounds parcels. Despite the obvious controversies present in their own official records that purportedly comprise the very substance of the separation between private and public lands, all is lying within the Prescott National Forest reserve.

Highland Pines is generally situated about two miles to the south on scenic Skyline Drive from Iron Springs Road, at elevations above 6,000 feet (1,800 m) on the Sierra Prieta divide between Skull Valley and Prescott, and between the mountain of antiquity ‘Granite Mountain’ (ancient summer home of the Yavapai-Apache) to the north and West Spruce & Porter Mountain on the south. This unique position affords panoramic views over Prescott & Thumb Butte Mountain to the east and a vista of nearly one hundred miles to the west from the highest locations. 

The company Highland Pine Properties, Inc. was incorporated in Arizona in the mid-1950s by president J. Earl Wilson “The Brains”, vice-president Elmer J. Winternheimer “The Bucks” and Jean C. Wilson, who are also former residents of Highland Pines. Joe D. Yancey was the acting secretary for the company. The company was located at 9810 N. 5th Ave Phoenix, Arizona, and made various subdivided plats and marketed property primarily for summer cottages that offered out of town buyers A Way of Life” through “A World of Recreation. Later sales promoted the area as “Your Own Private Retreat in the Heart of Nature’s Wonderland” to retiree’s building year-round homes.

Many of the sales were ultimately sold by word of mouth and financed by Highland Pine Properties Inc., which required only a “nominal amount of money as a down payment for a lot, usually about ten percent, the balance with easy monthly budget payments“. Initially, there were only sixty-five cabin homes completed, with home site prices at a mere $1495 for standard lots, and later increased to $1995 for the remaining offerings with “unparalleled views surrounded by the Prescott National Forest“. The company released Highland Pines in various phases beginning in 1957, and continuing into the 1970s.

The initial dream was for the community to have a clubhouse with full recreational facilities, but this never transpired. The historical home on present day North Skyline Drive acted as the original General Store for Highland Pines during the early 1960s. Not long after selling the lots, the communities water supply, which originally derived from an old nearby mining shaft, ran woefully inadequate. Ultimately, by the 1970s, Highland Pine began receiving water from a pipeline through the forest, from the City of Prescott.

J. Earl Wilson is mainly responsible for naming the initial roads in Highland Pines. Many of the names are taken from the land aspects, some even named after related Lode location notices, like Sunny Side Lane and Madizelle Drive. Promotional material by the Highland Pine Properties provided investors “A full chapter of Arizona’s gold mining history at your doorstep with the location and relics of the old ‘Derby Mine‘ being the focal point for the entire development.” Present day, the Highland Park/Highland Pines area is occupied by several hundred homes, with few remaining vacant lots.

Restrictions were initially placed by Highland Pines Properties which required new homes to be built with a minimum of 500 square feet, complementing the areas appearance regardless of size. The plan and the location on the individual lots was to be approved by the Highland Pine Development Corporation, with no city or trailer size lots provided. Electricity and water to the lot line, all planned and paid for by Highland Pine Properties, Inc., water supplied by the Highland Pine Water Company. The former restrictions are no longer in existence, and the Highland Pine Companies since defunct.