By Aurora Ramos, Old Vail Middle School 8th Grade

Otto Schley came to Arizona with high hopes and a sparkle in his eye. In 1889 in Germany, there was a mass immigration.  Over 200,000 Germans came to America, and Otto was a part of it.

He didn’t come to what is now Vail, Arizona first. He went to New Jersey.  He got his start in business and mining. He was an entrepreneur, looking for partners and raising venture capitol. He must have decided to see the mining ventures for himself and came to Arizona Territory. 

Otto had a very optimistic personality, he saw a lot of potential in the flat desert land around Vail. He didn’t waste any time when he moved here, he got right to work. He was very busy selling supplies to miners in mining camps in the Santa Rita Mountains from his wagon.  He also had many mining claims himself. Otto looked for ways to invest into businesses and mining. Copper, silver, and even bat guano. Bat guano was used as a great fertilizer and soil conditioner. He put a lot of the profit from his mining and businesses into his new ideas.   

He met and married a woman named Evie Rae. She was a widow. In 1905 he took over the Vail Store, and became the Vail Postmaster. Otto served on the Vail School Board, he helped with voting, and was a Justice of the Peace. Everyone called him the mayor of Vail. Otto Schley was not successful in all of his investments, mining claims and ideas. But, he was optimistic and never gave up.

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