Kane County, UT. Photo Loren Webb
(Kane County, UT) - Using a map he had obtained from Mexico, Freddie Crystal believed he could find Aztec treasure in Johnson Canyon, East of Kanab, in Kane County, Utah. In 1920, Crystal started poking around the rugged slopes of the White Mountains in Johnson Canyon, with the hope of discovering the hiding place of what he said was Montezuma's Treasure. According to Author George Thompson, in his book, "Some Dreams Die" Crystal's map described a place where ancient Petro glyphs would point the way to a canyon with four branches surrounded by four mountains, one each on the east, west, north and south. In the center was another mountain where the treasure was apparently hidden. Everything on the map was found in Johnson Canyon, and White Mountain fit the description of the Treasure Mountain perfectly, Thompson wrote. With the help of almost every man from the surrounding towns, Crystal started his search. A tent city of treasure hunters sprung up in Johnson Canyon as everyone hurried to help find the treasure. Just as the map revealed, ancient hand cut steps were discovered leading up the mountain face. A man-made shaft was found, almost concealed with closely fit granite blocks cemented into place. To add to the mystery, the cement blocks were made of find sand found many miles away in New Mexico. When the granite wall was dug away, a 14 foot tunnel was discovered, but 60 feet from the surface another granite wall was located, it was removed and a maze of tunnels and shafts were found, along with some deadly booby traps. Huge, delicately balanced boulders would fall without warning. Man-made cement floors and side tunnels blocked by hard granite walls severely slowed the search. After two years of searching, nothing was found and disappointment set in. People went back to their daily routines and Crystal disappeared. But while it lasted, the search for Montezuma's Treasure captivated the local townspeople.