|This will be a two part post covering the towns of Bisbee and Tombstone. I hadn't planned to take as many pics as I did, but the architecture in this small mining town was just too good to pass up!
Bisbee is a historic old west town located 5,300 feet above sea level in Arizona's southeastern corner, two miles from the Mexican border & about 30 miles from Tombstone. It is the county seat of Cochise County. The community was founded in 1880 and named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, a financial backer of the Copper Queen Mine. Built by Arizona's copper boom, it rose from a desolate Mule Pass Gulch as mining began in 1877, to become the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco as the population hit 20,000 in the early 1900s.
The town was famous for miners who toiled in the underground mines for as little as $3.50 a day at the turn of the century and spent their earnings in the 50 saloons that lined Brewery Gulch. But it also was recognized as the most cultured town in the West, with live theater and the stately Copper Queen Hotel. The Copper Queen Hotel, built in 1902 by the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co., accommodated politicians, company executives and other distinguished visitors. Guests included "Black Jack" Pershing and a young Teddy Roosevelt.
By the time large-scale operations ended in 1975, Bisbee's mines had produced 7.7 billion pounds of copper, 355 million pounds of zinc, 324 million pounds of lead, 11 million pounds of manganese, 100 million ounces of silver and 2.7 million ounces of gold. Ninety-eight years of exploration and mining left more than 1,500 miles of tunnels and shafts in the Mule Mountains in and around Bisbee and the 1,000-foot-deep Lavender Pit on the city's edge.
After parking we found a shaded spot to enjoy our picnic lunch. When we were here in 2007, (wow, can't believe it's been that long ago!), we toured the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum which is located in a building that once housed the general offices of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co. The museum tells the story of Bisbee's rich and colorful past through exhibits on the city's mining history and samples of its famous ores. We then went to the Queen Mine (in 2007) and took the 1 hour+ tour and that was time well spent! We loved it. We were issued slickers, helmets and miner's headlamps for the trip down a narrow mine shaft on a narrow, multi-car train. The temperature underground is approx. 47 degrees year-round so we certainly needed the provided slickers! The Queen Mine was one of Bisbee's richest and operated from 1877 until 1975. I found a couple of the pics taken of us that day, and I must say, we haven't changed a bit, lol! A good time for sure.
We located a neat shop called Bisbee Olive Oil. We sampled nearly every bottle and ultimately purchased two bottles, a Sundried Tomato Parmesan Garlic and a Strawberry Peach for a nice fruity summer salad. Doesn't that sound delicious? We also purchased a bottle of Blue Cheese stuffed Green Olives! Sounds a bit strange, but we sampled them and they are delicious! Should make for an interesting addition to my Picante Clamato Bloody Mary's! We had to pass on the Brewery across the street as we were driving. Perhaps next time. After leaving the downtown area we explored several of the residential area streets. Oak Street was the best for sure! Took some interesting photos there, lol!
All too soon it was time to move on to Tombstone. So, I'll cover that next time. We appreciate you stopping by....Goodnight