SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Old West town of Tortilla Flat attracts tourists from all over the world

Nestled between Apache Junction and Apache Lake lies Tortilla Flat, an authentic remainder of an old west town....

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 2:50 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 2:50 PM

Nestled between Apache Junction and Apache Lake lies Tortilla Flat, an authentic remainder of an old west town.

With a population of six, the town has transformed from what was once a rest stop, to now a big tourist attraction.

Established as a 19th century cattle stop, the area was used for workers during the construction of the Roosevelt Dam.

Since then, it has grown into an Old West attraction for travelers.

The Tortilla Flat General Manager, Matt Vanslyke, says the town's history draws people in from across the world.

"Just in the last week I have met people from Brazil, Germany and Switzerland," Vanslyke said.

The town has faced fire and flood, but the history of the town still stands firm.

People like Theodore Roosevelt, Barbara Streisand and Don Johnson have traveled through here, and the in-depth history of the town helped mold the unique name it is known by today.

"At one point in time people were coming through, dropped off their cattle, started drinking and got a little inebriated. When they came back through, there were some heavy rains, and the town got flooded," said Vansklye. "Because they were drunk, they forgot to get their provisions. They forgot their food, so the only thing they had left was flour. They would climb up the hill, find a nice rock, take their flour, and they made tortillas to eat so they could survive. Hence, Tortilla Flat."

Today, you can experience some of the history of the town by walking down the boardwalk and grabbing a bite to eat at Superstition Saloon.

The first thing you notice when you walk in is the wallpaper that has been made from thousands of dollar bills taped to the walls.

Julie Snodgrass, the owner of Tortilla Flat, said this is a tradition that has stood the test of time.

"A long time ago miners would go out, and when they came back into town once a week, they would want a beer," Snodgrass said. "A lot of times they would put their dollar on the wall because if they happened to lose their money out in the field, they had their dollar on the wall to buy a beer. From then on, the customers just started doing that over the years."

A fire back in the 1980s forced the restaurant to restart its collection, but there's still a good chunk of change hanging up there.

"Right now there's over 80 countries of currency on our wall worth approximately $350,000, and its double layered, triple layered in places," Snodgrass said.

There is so much money on the walls that it extends down to the country store, where you can find the delicacy that has customers saying it is worth the drive.

"We're known for our prickly pear gelato, it's probably the only place in the state where you can find it," Vanslyke said.

The small store sells over 1,000 pounds of prickly pear gelato every year.

Though only made of a handful of ingredients, the recipe for the family's infamous prickly pear gelato is top-secret.

The small town is also now easier to visit, as the route 88/Apache trail just recieved an improved pavement that extends from milepost 203 to milepost 220.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Crater Lake
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 33°
Grants Pass
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 33°
Few Monday showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events