Main Street, Bisbee
"An American Original"[ citation needed ]
Location of Bisbee in Cochise County, Arizona
|Incorporated||January 9, 1902|
|• Mayor||Jason Zulkowski|
|• Total||5.18 sq mi (13.41 km2)|
|• Land||5.18 sq mi (13.41 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||5,538 ft (1,688 m)|
|• Density||1,006.38/sq mi (388.53/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−07:00 (MST (no daylight saving time))|
|GNIS feature ID||1436|
|Website||City of Bisbee|
Bisbee is a city 92 miles (148 km) southeast of Tucson and 11 miles (18 km) north of the Mexican border. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 5,575.and the county seat of Cochise County in the southeast of Arizona, United States,
A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.
Cochise County is located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. The population was 131,346 at the 2010 census. The county seat is Bisbee.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
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Bisbee was founded as a copper, gold, and silver mining town in 1880, and named in honor of Judge DeWitt Bisbee, one of the financial backers of the adjacent Copper Queen Mine.
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold often occurs in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits. It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium.
Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.
In 1929, the county seat was moved from Tombstone to Bisbee, where it remains.
Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1879 by prospector Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It became one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier. The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced $40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and presently draws most of its revenue from tourism.
Mining in the Mule Mountains proved quite successful: in the early 20th century the population of Bisbee soared. Incorporated in 1902, by 1910 its population had swelled to 9,019, and it sported a constellation of suburbs, including Warren, Lowell, and San Jose, some of which had been founded on their own (ultimately less successful) mines. In 1917, open-pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the copper demand during World War I.
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.
The Mule Mountains are a north/south running mountain range located in the south-central area of Cochise County, Arizona. The highest peak, Mount Ballard, rises to 7,500 ft (2,300 m). Prior to mining operations commencing there, the mountains were heavily forested with large Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir and other conifers, but these were all cut down for housing needs and to feed the ore smelting furnaces in Douglas, Arizona, approximately 20 miles due east. Now, the primary vegetation of the Mules consists of manzanita brush, juniper, lowland oaks and pines, and various grasses. To the east of the mountain range lies Sulphur Springs Valley, and the San Pedro River and Valley to the west.
Open-pit, open-cast or open cut mining is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow.
A high quality turquoise promoted as Bisbee Blue was a by-product of the copper mining. Many high-quality mineral specimens have come from Bisbee area mines and are to be found in museum collections worldwide. Some of these minerals include cuprite, aragonite, wulfenite, malachite, azurite, and galena.
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gemstone and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue. In recent times, turquoise has been devalued, like most other opaque gems, by the introduction onto the market of treatments, imitations and synthetics.
Bisbee Blue or Bisbee turquoise refers to the turquoise that comes from copper mines located in the vicinity of Bisbee, Arizona. Bisbee turquoise can be found in many different shades of color and quality, from soft, low quality pale blue to the quality hard brilliant blue turquoise and almost every shade of blue in between. The highest grade of Bisbee Blue turquoise is almost lapis lazuli blue and has a brownish red spiderweb matrix. Green turquoise is also found in Bisbee, but is not usually of very high quality.
Cuprite is an oxide mineral composed of copper(I) oxide Cu2O, and is a minor ore of copper.
Miners attempted to organize to gain better working conditions and wages. In 1917, the Phelps Dodge Corporation, using private police, transported at gun point over 1,000 striking miners out of town to Hermanas, New Mexico, due to allegations that they were members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); the company wanted to prevent unionization.Earlier that year, industry police conducted the Jerome Deportation, similarly intended to expel striking miners.
Luna County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,095. Its county seat is Deming. This county abuts the Mexican border.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), members of which are commonly termed "Wobblies", is an international labor union that was founded in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. The union combines general unionism with industrial unionism, as it is a general union whose members are further organized within the industry of their employment. The philosophy and tactics of the IWW are described as "revolutionary industrial unionism", with ties to both socialist and anarchist labor movements.
Continued underground work enabled the town to survive the changes in mining that caused mines in neighboring towns to close, leading to a resulting dramatic loss of population. But the population of Bisbee had dropped nearly 60%, from a high of 9,205 in 1920down to 3,801 by 1950 . In 1975 the Phelps Dodge Corporation halted its Bisbee copper-mining operations. Bisbee Mayor Chuck Eads, with the cooperation of Phelps Dodge, implemented development of a mine tour and historic interpretation of a portion of the Copper Queen Mine as part of an effort to create heritage tourism as another economic base to compensate for the financial loss due to the end of the mining industry.
Community volunteers cleared tons of fallen rock and re-timbered the old workings. Eventually, this local effort came to the attention of the federal Economic Development Administration. It approved a large grant to the City of Bisbee to help the mine tour project and other improvements in downtown Bisbee; these were designed to meet tourist business needs. The Queen Mine Tour was officially opened to visitors on February 1, 1976. More than a million visitors have taken the underground mine tour train.
From 1950 to 1960, the sharp population decline changed course and the number of residents of Bisbee increased by nearly 160 percent when open-pit mining was undertaken and the city annexed nearby areas. The peak population was in 1960, at 9,914.
In the following decade, there was a decline in jobs and population, although not as severe as from 1930 to 1950. But, the economic volatility resulted in a crash in housing prices. Coupled with an attractive climate and picturesque scenery, Bisbee became a destination in the 1960s for artists and hippies of the counter culture.
Artist Stephen Hutchison and his wife Marcia purchased the Copper Queen Hotel, the town's anchor business and architectural gem, from the Phelps-Dodge mining company in 1970. The company had tried to find a local buyer, offering the deed to any local resident for the sum of $1, but there were no takers. The property needed renovation for continued use.
Hutchison purchased and renovated the hotel, as well as other buildings in the downtown area. One held the early 20th-century Brewery and Stock Exchange. Hutchison began to market Bisbee as a destination of the "authentic," old Southwest. His work attracted the developer Ed Smart.
Among the many guests at the hotel have been celebrities from nearby California. Actor John Wayne was a frequent visitor to Bisbee and the Copper Queen. He befriended Hutchison and eventually partnered with Smart in his real estate ventures. This period of Bisbee's history is well documented in contemporary articles in The New Yorker and in an article by Cynthia Buchanan in The Cornell Review . It was at this time that Bisbee became a haven for artists and hippies fleeing the larger cities of Arizona and California. Later it attracted people priced out by gentrification of places such as Aspen, Colorado.
In the 1990s, additional people were attracted to Bisbee, leading it to develop such amenities as coffee shops and live theatre. Many of the old houses have been renovated, and property values in Bisbee now greatly exceed those of other southeastern Arizona cities.
Today, the historic city of Bisbee is known as "Old Bisbee" and is home to a thriving downtown cultural scene. This area is noted for its architecture, including Victorian-style houses and an elegant Art Deco county courthouse. Because its plan was laid out to a pedestrian scale before the automobile, Old Bisbee is compact and walkable. The town's hilly terrain is exemplified by the old four-story high school; each floor has a ground-level entrance.
The city of Bisbee now includes the satellite communities of Warren, Lowell, and San Jose. The Lowell and Warren townsites were consolidated into Bisbee proper during the early part of the twentieth century. There are also smaller neighborhoods interspersed between these larger boroughs, including Galena, Bakerville, Tintown, South Bisbee, Briggs, and Saginaw.
Warren was Arizona's first planned community. It was designed as a bedroom community for the more affluent citizens of the mining district. Warren has a fine collection of Arts and Crafts style bungalow houses. Many have been recognized as historic places, and the city has an annual home tour during which a varying selection are offered for tours. Since the end of mining in the 1970s, Warren has seen a steady decline in its standard of living. The residential district still houses a significant portion of the population, and includes City Hall, Greenway Elementary School, Bisbee High School, and the historic Warren Ballpark.
Lowell was at one time a sizable mining town located just to the southeast of Old Bisbee. The majority of the original townsite was consumed by the excavation of the Lavender Pit mine during the 1950s. All that is left today is a small portion of Erie Street, along with Evergreen Cemetery, Saginaw subdivision and Lowell Middle School. These days Lowell is considered by most of the local residents to be more of a place name than an operating community.
San Jose, on the southern side of the Mule Mountains, is the most modern of the city's subdivisions. As it is not restricted by mountains, it has had the most new growth since the late 1990s. Named after a nearby Mexican mountain peak, it is the location of many newer county government buildings, the Huachuca Terrace Elementary School, and a large shopping center.
In 2007, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold bought Phelps-Dodge company. [ citation needed ]Freeport has invested in Bisbee by remediating soil contaminated in previous mining operations, donations to the school system, and other civic activities.
Arizona State Route 80 runs through the city, leading northwest 23 miles (37 km) to Tombstone and 47 miles (76 km) to Benson, and east 26 miles (42 km) to Douglas. The Mexican border at Naco is 11 miles (18 km) south of the center of Bisbee.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13.4 km2), all land.
Natural vegetation around Bisbee has a semi-desert appearance with shrubby acacia, oak and the like, along with cacti, grass, ocotillo and yucca. The town itself is much more luxuriant with native trees such as cypress, sycamore and cottonwood plus the introduced ailanthus and Old World cypresses, cedars and pines. Palms are capable of large size, but are not reliably hardy. A few higher-elevation trees such as blue spruce and white fir are growing fairly well in Bisbee.
Bisbee has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb), but due to relatively low precipitation it borders on the typical semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) of the upland Mountain West. Summer days are warm to hot and dry before the monsoon brings the wettest season from July to September with 10.65 inches (270.5 mm) of Bisbee's total annual rainfall of 18.63 inches (473.2 mm), often with severe thunderstorms. During the winter, frontal cloudbands may bring occasional rainfall or even snowfall, though average maxima in the winter are typically very mild and sometimes even warm.
|Climate data for Bisbee, Arizona|
|Record high °F (°C)||85|
|Average high °F (°C)||57.3|
|Average low °F (°C)||34.3|
|Record low °F (°C)||6|
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||1.18|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||3.4|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch)||4||4||4||2||1||3||13||13||6||4||3||4||61|
|Source: Western Regional Climate Center|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Bisbee first appeared on the 1890 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village.It did not appear on the 1900 census, despite having a population of thousands (many unincorporated communities were not reported). In 1902, it incorporated as a city and has appeared on every census since 1910. On September 10, 1959, it incorporated the adjacent unincorporated villages of Lowell-South Bisbee (1950 pop. 1,136) and Warren (pop. 2,610).
As of the censusof 2000, there were 6,090 people, 2,810 households, and 1,503 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,266.3 people per square mile (488.8/km²). There were 3,316 housing units at an average density of 689.5 per square mile (266.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.12% White (or European American), 0.46% Black or African American, 1.22% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 11.07% from other races, and 2.58% from two or more races. 34.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,810 households out of which 21.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.90.
An analysis of United States Census Bureau data by researchers at The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that, on a proportional basis, Bisbee had more gay couples living together than anywhere else in the state. The ratio was 20.9 for every 1,000 households.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 21.6% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,942, and the median income for a family was $36,685. Males had a median income of $29,573 versus $23,269 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,129. About 12.9% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.2% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
The Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb is a five-kilometer run through the city that traverses 1,034 stairs. Billed as "the most unique physical fitness challenge in the USA!" by the organizers,the Climb includes runners being serenaded by musicians at various locations among the stairs. The event has grown to include the Ice Man Competition, designed to honor the history of men delivering blocks of ice by hand before the advent of refrigeration. In the Ice Man Competition, entrants race up 155 steps carrying a ten-pound block of ice with antique ice tongs.
Bisbee hosts an annual Blues festival, occurring in 2015 during the second week of September. The festival effectively lengthens the tourist season, and provides a large amount of business to local bars and breweries.
Bisbee joined with Clifton in forming a cricket team that travelled to Santa Monica, California, in 1908 to play the Santa Monica Cricket Club in two games overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the grounds of the Polo Field. The miners lost both cricket games.The Copper Echo reported that Bennie, the general manager of the Shannon Company Copper Mine, was the miners' best cricketer.
Bisbee is governed via the mayor-council system. The city council consists of six members who are elected from wards, each ward elects two members. The mayor is elected in a direct citywide vote.
In 2013, the city council received public notoriety when it proposed same-sex civil unions and shortly after became the first municipality in Arizona to pass a civil union law.The state's Attorney General, Tom Horne, threatened to sue, but decided against it after Bisbee amended the ordinance; the civil union ordinance came into effect July 5, 2013. "Bisbee was the first in Arizona to approve civil unions, with Tucson, Jerome and Clarkdale following."
The City of Bisbee administers the Bisbee Bus System which is in fact operated by the City of Douglas under contract, with regularly scheduled services from Monday through Saturday; One-way fare is $1;The City of Douglas also operates the Cochise Connection, with regular shuttle services between Douglas, Bisbee, Benson and Sierra Vista; One-way fare is $3-4.
In the May–June 2000 issue of Modern Maturity , the AARP highlighted what they called the most "alive" places to retire in the U.S. Bisbee was a runner-up as one of the "quirkiest" towns in America.
In 2016, Bisbee was named the Best Historic Small Town in both Sunset magazine and a USA Today online reader poll. Bisbee's director of tourism credited social media and comedian Doug Stanhope for the USA Today win.July 3, 2016 was declared "Killer Termites Day" after Doug Stanhope's social media followers, The Killer Termites, voted for Bisbee in the online poll.
Benson is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, 45 miles (72 km) east-southeast of Tucson. It was founded as a rail terminal for the area, and still serves as such. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 5,105.
Douglas is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States that lies in the north-west to south-east running San Bernardino Valley within which runs the Rio San Bernardino. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico at Agua Prieta and a history of mining.
Ajo is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pima County, Arizona, United States. The population was 3,304 at the 2010 census. Ajo is located on State Route 85 just 43 miles (69 km) from the Mexican border. It is the closest community to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The Lavender Pit is a former open pit copper mine near Bisbee in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. It is located near the famous Copper Queen Mine. The Lavender Pit was named in honor of Harrison M. Lavender (1890–1952), who as Vice-President and General Manager of Phelps Dodge Corporation, conceived and carried out this plan for making the previously unprofitable low-grade copper bearing rock of the area into commercial copper ore.
Phelps Dodge Corporation was an American mining company founded in 1834 as an import-export firm by Anson Greene Phelps and his two sons-in-law William Earle Dodge, Sr. and Daniel James. The latter two ran Phelps, James & Co., the part of the organization based in Liverpool, England. The import-export firm at first exported United States cotton from the Deep South to England, and imported various metals to the US needed for industrialization. With the expansion of the western frontier in North America, the corporation acquired mines and mining companies, including the Copper Queen Mine in Arizona and the Dawson, New Mexico coal mines. It operated its own mines and acquired railroads to carry its products. By the late 19th century, it was known as a mining company.
George Warren worked as a prospector in the Tombstone and Bisbee, Arizona region during the late 19th century. He is credited with having located the body of copper ore, which later was known as the Copper Queen Mine, one of Arizona's most productive copper mines. Warren drank too much and bet his interest in the mine on a foot race against a horse and lost.
Warren Ballpark is a baseball stadium located in Bisbee, Arizona. The ballpark was recently home to the Tucson Saguaros of the Pecos League and the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings of the independent Arizona–Mexico League The Stadium was built in 1909 by the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company as a recreation for the miners and their families, pre-dating the construction of Chicago's Wrigley Field by nearly five years. It is currently the home of Bisbee Killer Termites and Bisbee High School Pumas baseball and football teams.
James Douglas was a Canadian born mining engineer and businessman who introduced a number of metallurgical innovations in copper mining and amassed a fortune through the copper mining industry of Arizona and Sonora.
The Bisbee Deportation was the illegal kidnapping and deportation of about 1,300 striking mine workers, their supporters, and citizen bystanders by 2,000 members of a deputized posse, who arrested these people beginning on July 12, 1917. The action was orchestrated by Phelps Dodge, the major mining company in the area, which provided lists of workers and others who were to be arrested in Bisbee, Arizona, to the Cochise County sheriff, Harry C. Wheeler. These workers were arrested and held at a local baseball park before being loaded onto cattle cars and deported 200 miles (320 km) to Tres Hermanas in New Mexico. The 16-hour journey was through desert without food and with little water. Once unloaded, the deportees, most without money or transportation, were warned against returning to Bisbee.
Louis Davidson Ricketts was an American economic geologist, metallurgist, mining engineer and banker who pioneered development of copper mines in the U.S. state of Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora.
Daniel Willis James was the son of an American merchant who with his cousin, William Earl Dodge Jr., transformed Phelps, Dodge & Co. from a predominantly mercantile business into one of the largest copper producers in the world.
Silver mining in Arizona was a powerful stimulus for exploration and prospecting in early Arizona. Cumulative silver production through 1981 totaled 490 million troy ounces. However, only about 10% of Arizona's silver production came from silver mining. More than 80% of the state's silver was a byproduct of copper mining; other silver came as a byproduct of lead, zinc, and gold mining.
Copper mining in Arizona, a state of the United States, has been a major industry since the 19th century. In 2007 Arizona was the leading copper-producing state in the US, producing 750 thousand metric tons of copper, worth a record $5.54 billion. Arizona's copper production was 60% of the total for the United States. Copper mining also produces gold and silver as byproducts. Byproduct molybdenum from copper mining makes Arizona the nation's second-largest producer of that metal. Although copper mineralization was found by the earliest Spanish explorers of Arizona, the territory was remote, and copper could seldom be profitably mined and shipped. Early Spanish, Mexican, and American prospectors searched for gold and silver, and ignored copper. It was not until the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1876 that copper became broadly economic to mine and ship to market.
The Copper Queen Mine was a copper mine in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. Its development led to the growth of the surrounding town of Bisbee in the 1880s. Its orebody ran 23% copper, an extraordinarily high grade. It was acquired by Phelps Dodge in 1885.
The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad was a short-line American railway company which operated in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, with line extensions across the international border into Mexico. The railroad was known as the Arizona and South Eastern Railroad from 1888 to 1902.
William Earl Dodge Jr. was an American businessperson and philanthropist. For many years, he was one of two controlling partners in the Phelps Dodge Corporation, one of the largest copper mining corporations in the United States.
The Detroit Copper Mining Company was an American copper mining and smelting operation based in Morenci, Arizona. Incorporated in July 1872, it existed as an independent company until 1897, when a controlling interest in the company was purchased by the predecessor of the Phelps Dodge Corporation. It continued to exist as a subsidiary of Phelps Dodge & Co until 1917, when all Phelps Dodge operations in the area were consolidated into the new Phelps Dodge Corporation, Morenci Branch.
The Copper Queen Hotel is a historic hotel located in Bisbee, Arizona.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bisbee, Arizona .|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article Bisbee .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bisbee .|