Bisbee, 100 miles southeast of Tucson and 35 miles east of Sierra Vista, is the picturesque county seat of historic Cochise County. The community was founded in 1880 and named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, a financial backer of the Copper Queen Mine. This Old West mining camp proved to be one of the richest mineral sites in the world, producing nearly 3 million ounces of gold any more than 8 billion pounds of copper, not to mention the silver, lead, and zinc that came from these rich Mule Mountains. By the early 1900s, the Bisbee community was the largest city between Stylus and San Francisco. It had a population of 20,000 people and had become the most cultured city in the Southwest. The city incorporated 1905. Despite its culture, however, the rough edges of the mining camps could be found in notorious Brewery Gulch, with its saloons and shady ladies. Those activities began to slow as the mines played out, the population began to shrink, and Prohibition was enforced. Bisbee has evolved into an artist and retirement community emphasizing monthly special events including concerts, fine arts shows, art & craft shows, historic home tours, the Bisbee Gem and Mineral Show and the annual Taste of Cochise County celebration. Bisbee boasts the “best year-round climate in the state” for people to visit and enjoy the quiet and easy pace all year.

During the 1980s, the city succeeded in diversifying its economy includes government, tourism and light manufacturing. The Phelps Dodge Corporation is conducting tests for future develop-mentor copper, which has been the major economic factor in Bisbee’s overall development. Major employment in the area is from the city, state and county government, the military facility at Ft. Huachuca, and tourism. “Historic Bisbee” is a registered National Historic District and an Arizona Main Street Community. The city also offers attractive retirement opportunities. Bisbee is in an excellent location to serve twin plant manufacturing operations in Naco and Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. Bisbee is four miles from the international border and serves as these cities’ major transportation link with the United States.

Nestled in the foothills of the Mule Mountains of southeast Arizona, Bisbee resembles a European hamlet more than a dusty1880s Old West town. Originally called the “Queen of the Copper Camps,” Bisbee has a rich history which grew out of its humble beginnings as a mining camp turned boom town in the 1880s.Bisbee was rebuilt in 1908 after being destroyed by a fire, and its homes and downtown area retain a Victorian charm. The old saloons, office buildings, and other landmarks still stand. Bisbee today is rich in architecture and culture with its numerous art galleries, antique stores, gourmet restaurants, crafts shops, museums, and period bed and breakfasts and hotels. The Queen Mine Tour annually attracts thousands of visitors who ride into the old mining tunnels on a string of mining cars.
The town of Bisbee is one of the richest mineral sites in the world. It is interesting to know, that it began very simply with Hugh Jones in 1875, who came through looking for silver. Hugh decided to move on after only finding copper stains. Then in 1877, a government scout named Jack Dunn came across an outcropping of ore. Jack took some samples before leaving the area.

Later on, Dunn met up with George Warren, a prospector with a shady background. Warren agreed to file claims on Dunn's behalf. Unfortunately, Warren told others of his agreement and filed claims with his new home partners. The Copper Queen Mine was born. Several years later, Warren lost his share of the mine by losing a bet. Around this period, electricity became popular and so was the need for copper. In 1880, Judge DeWitt Bisbee of San Francisco decided to invest in the Copper Queen Mine. Then shortly thereafter, the town of Bisbee sprang up, getting its name from the investor.

Following its purchase, a smelter was built and the mine operated 24 hours a day pulling out an endless supply of ore. Later, Dr. James Douglas visited the area and convinced Phelps-Dodge to purchase a mine near the Copper Queen Mine. After years of fighting over the ore at the boundary lines of these two mines, the two mines decided to merge and became the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company. In 1898, another mining company popped up on the scene. The Calumet and Arizona Company was soon a rival to Phelps Dodge. During those rival years the town of Bisbee began to take off. Bisbee soon became a rowdy little town. The town is made up of two canyons. One canyon called Main Street and the other is known as Brewery Gulch.

Brewery Gulch was a popular spot for saloons and wild women. It was said that Brewery Gulch had nearly 50 saloons. It is still a popular site to visit today. Bisbee also attracted immigrants to town. There were individuals from Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Russia. All of these people came to work in the mine. High copper prices allowed miners to be paid high salaries. This caused Bisbee to be the wealthiest city in Arizona and one of the largest mining sites in the world. Bisbee held the title of being the largest cosmopolitan town between St. Louis and San Francisco. At one time, the town soared to a population of 20,000. The town's growth was most evident in 1902 when the four-story Bisbee-history/Copper Queen Hotel was built. The Copper Queen has high ceilings, chandeliers, and long hallways.

This elegant hotel's guests include Teddy Roosevelt and Black Jack Pershing. During a visit to Bisbee, you can stay in this historic hotel. It wasn't until 1925 when Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation bought out all the small mines including Calumet and Arizona Company. This purchase gave Phelps Dodge ownership of over 9,000 acres. Then in the 1950's, the Lavender Pit opened. The pit was named after Harrison Lavender, a manager of the Copper Queen branch of Phelps-Dodge. This pit sunk to more than 900 feet and enclosed more than 300 acres. Phelps-Dodge operated the underground Queen Mine and the Lavender open mine pit for many years. By the end of the 70's most of the mining had closed down, due to falling copper prices.

It is amazing to think by the time mining ended, the Bisbee area had produced 6.1 million dollars from 3 million ounces of gold, over 97 million ounces of silver, over 8 billion pounds of copper, nearly 273 pounds of zinc and 304 million pounds of lead. Mining has seen many improvements through the years from mules to earth moving equipment and Bisbee has followed in the steps of mining history by making changes in order to thrive. Today the town has switched gears and has become a haven for artists and cultural events.

The Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum is a terrific spot to start your visit in the town of Bisbee. The museum gives a great overview of the town's history. The building was once the headquarters of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company. Visitors will see exhibits and displays recounting the rich local history and its culture. Much of the focus of the history, the museum has collected is from 1877 to 1917. One of the highlights of the museum is a mural-sized photo of Bisbee shot in 1908. The photo was taken when residents showed up in full force to see the arrival of the trolley.

On the second floor of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, you will discover a collection of western ranch memorabilia. The collection is made up of photos and includes descriptions of ranch life. Visitors will see a variety of photos such as horses and chuck wagons. Life was tough on the ranch. The museum also has a library filled with information. The Shattuck Memorial Archival Library has photographs, books, and documents describing Arizona and Bisbee's mining history. The Library has a daily new homes paper from 1902 that can be seen on microfilm.

The Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum is open every day from 10:00 to 4:00. The museum is closed on Christmas and new home Year's Day. The admission to the museum is $3.00. Seniors over 65 are charged $2.50 and children under 18 are free. You will find the museum in Bisbee at 5 Copper Queen Plaza, between Main Street and Brewery Gulch. If you have any questions, call 520-432-7071.

Bisbee History

The town of Bisbee is one of the richest mineral sites in the world. It is interesting to know, that it began very simply with Hugh Jones in 1875, who came through looking for silver. Hugh decided to move on after only finding copper stains. Then in 1877, a government scout named Jack Dunn came across an outcropping of ore. Jack took some samples before leaving the area.

Later on, Dunn met up with George Warren, a prospector with a shady background. Warren agreed to file claims on Dunn's behalf. Unfortunately, Warren told others of his agreement and filed claims with his new partners. The Copper Queen Mine was born. Several years later, Warren lost his share of the mine by losing a bet. Around this period, electricity became popular and so was the need for copper. In 1880, Judge DeWitt Bisbee of San Francisco decided to invest in the Copper Queen Mine. Then shortly there after, the town of Bisbee sprang up, getting its name from the investor.

Following its purchase, a smelter was built and the mine operated 24 hours a day pulling out an endless supply of ore. Later, Dr. James Douglas visited the area and convinced Phelps-Dodge to purchase a mine near the Copper Queen Mine. After years of fighting over the ore at the boundary lines of these two mines, the two mines decided to merge and became the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company.In 1898, another mining company popped up on the scene. The Calumet and Arizona Company was soon a rival to Phelps Dodge. During those rival years, the town of Bisbee began to take off. Bisbee soon became a rowdy little town. The town is made up of two canyons. One canyon called Main Street and the other is known as Brewery Gulch.

Brewery Gulch was a popular spot for saloons and wild women. It was said that Brewery Gulch had nearly 50 saloons. It is still a popular site to visit today. Bisbee also attracted immigrants to town. There were individuals from Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Russia. All of these people came to work in the mine. High copper prices allowed miners to be paid high salaries. This caused Bisbee to be the wealthiest city in Arizona and one of the largest mining sites in the world. Bisbee held the title of being the largest cosmopolitan town between St. Louis and San Francisco. At one time, the town soared to a population of 20,000. The town's growth was most evident in 1902 when the four-story Copper Queen Hotel was built. The Copper Queen has high ceilings, chandeliers, and long hallways.

This elegant hotel's guests include Teddy Roosevelt and Black Jack Pershing. During a visit to Bisbee, you can stay in this historic hotel.It wasn't until 1925 when Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation bought out all the small mines including Calumet and Arizona Company. This purchase gave Phelps Dodge ownership of over 9,000 acres. Then in the 1950's, the Lavender Pit opened. The pit was named after Harrison Lavender, a manager of the Copper Queen branch of Phelps-Dodge. This pit sunk to more than 900 feet and enclosed more than 300 acres. Phelps-Dodge operated the underground Queen Mine and the Lavender open mine pit for many years. By the end of the 70's most of the mining had closed down, due to falling copper prices.

It is amazing to think by the time mining ended, the Bisbee area had produced 6.1 million dollars from 3 million ounces of gold, over 97 million ounces of silver, over 8 billion pounds of copper, nearly 273 pounds of zinc and 304 million pounds of lead. Mining has seen many improvements through the years from mules to earthmoving equipment and Bisbee has followed in the steps of mining history by making changes in order to thrive. Today the town has switched gears and has become a haven for artists and cult. ral events.