Bisbee, Lowell and Some Naco Please
While we were in Tombstone we ventured out on a day trip to the home of the Copper Queen Mine, where one of the world’s richest mineral sites resulted in what was once the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco, Bisbee, Arizona.
Bisbee got its start as a mining camp after army scouts and cavalrymen found a good-looking rock in the Mule Mountains’ Tombstone Canyon in the fall of 1877. By 1880, the mining camp known as Mule Gulch became a town and was named after Judge Dewitt Bisbee, a financial backer of the area’s Copper Queen Mine, the largest claim at the time.
In 1929, Bisbee became the seat of Cochise County, taking that honor away from nearby Tombstone, where the old historic courthouse still stands.
Lavender Pit Mine, Bisbee/LowellLavender Pit Mine, Bisbee/Lowell AZ
Today, Bisbee is known as an artist’s community and thrives on tourism thanks to its citizens’ efforts to restore the historic district. Mining also saw a small resurgence around 2007 when Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold bought out Phelps Dodge. The population of Bisbee in 2010 was about 5,500, a fraction of the former boom days.
The Lowell Life
Lowell ArizonaThe Lowell Life
On the southern end of the Lavender Pit, Lowell used to be a fairly large mining town, with the pit swallowing most of the original townsite.
I don't know what his name is, so I'll just call him Bandit. Good boy Bandit, thanks for the welcome.
On the side of the old truck below the welcome... The famous Broken Spoke Saloon in Sturgis, South Dakota was sold to Bisbee resident Jay Allen who continues to use the "brand."
We parked and walked along Historic Erie Street, really enjoying the nostalgia. About the only thing left of the original town, Erie St. is a living snapshot of another time, restored by residents and volunteers who want to preserve another period in American life.
Discover Bisbee describes it best, "...what remains of Lowell today is a strikingly intact, historical mid-century street – often utilized as a backdrop for film and video shoots, and well worth a visit to walk back in time."
Camp Naco, Border Fort.
Camp Naco, aka Fort Naco or Fort Newell, sits on the southern US border about 12 miles south of Bisbee. Surrounded by chainlink fence, the few remaining buildings document the only remaining border fort constructed during the Mexican Revolution. Today it is owned by the City of Bisbee.
The small town of Naco needed the Fort to protect from fighting across the border. It suffered the Battle of Naco in 1913 and the later Siege of Naco in 1915 in the sister city of Sonora, Mexico. It also has the honor of being the first and only U.S. mainland city to be aerial bombed by a foreign force, happening by accident in 1929. Today, Naco has around 1,000 residents.
A border crossing since 1902, the Naco Port of Entry operates 24 hours a day. Read more about Camp Naco HERE.
That's it for now. The data gods are smiling, as well as Mother Nature, so we are catching up. Next up, Cochise, dinosaurs in Dragoon, and Texas Canyon.
We'll be adding up these and more images soon to our Arizona Photo Print Galleries here.
Cya on the Road!
I worked for the Arizona Prison System for a number of years and promoted to Sergeant down in Douglas. The smelter was going full blast and the air was toxic. The scrub bush wouldn't grow and neither would my fruit trees. I met a lot of displaced miners that had to go to work for the State. One of them told me he worked security all night and "Hippies" would sneak into the mine waste piles to scrounge out huge pieces of turquoise. He and his partner would sneak along the dirt road, lights out, then suddenly hit them with this massively powerful spot light, causing the "Hippies" to take off running for fear of getting arrested. He would let them get to running over the rocks and debris at a good speed then BAM! He cut the light. When he turned the light back on, they were usually picking themselves up from a nasty fall from tripping in the dark. He would laugh his butt off when he told that story. The best thing about that area is the mountains you can explore.
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