Pearce was founded in 1893, when Jimmy Pearce found gold on top of the hill where he'd bought a ranch. There are some who say that James Price (from the Price Ranch across the valley) actually found the rock and gave it to Pearce. Another story says that it was Jimmy's son John who found the first rock, intending to throw it at an uncooperative cow he was herding. Whatever the true story, it was Jimmy who had it assayed, and who filed the claims for the Commonwealth group of mines, which in its heyday (1896) produced more gold than any other mine at the time. Pearce sold the mine in 1896 for $250,000 although his wife stipulated that the contract give her a lifetime franchise to run a boarding house there.
The mine caved in and flooded in 1904, opening sporadically again after that, and ceasing operation entirely in 1933. After that, the town steadily declined so that in the 1960's there were only 12 residents. The nearby town of Sunsites began in 1961, and the post office moved there in the late 60's (still officially titled the "Pearce-Sunsites Post Office"). The "Old Store" is original, having gone through many owners since P. B. Soto opened it in 1896. The Catholic Church (Our Lady of Victory) was built in 1893, and was still being maintained and cleaned in 1961. It was always a "mission church," however, and never formally became a separate parish, nor had a resident priest.
Driving into Pearce now, you can stop at the Old Store and peer inside. Tours are still available, but only by appointment. Contact Patricia (the potter) for details. Pearce has an annual festival around Thanksgiving each year, and it is an eclectic gathering of craftsmakers and merchants from all around, quite a draw with cars parked everywhere during the festival. The Old Pearce Pottery store and the Cactus Emporium still do a fair bit of business with people looking for genuine and unique gifts and other items.