Globe and Miami, which have been important copper
mining centers for more than a century, are colorful communities
about four miles apart in east-central Arizona. Both are located
in a steep canyon, at 3,500 feet, in the Pinal Mountains of southern
Gila County. Globe is the county seat. U.S. 60 connects them.
Globe was founded as a mining town in 1876 because of
ample water and its attractive location for distribution of mining
products. The city was incorporated twice before its present incorporation
in 1907. Miami was founded by Black Jack Newman as a
camp near his copper mine. He named the camp, Mima, after his
fiancée, Mima Tune. The name was distorted, however, and the
town incorporated in 1918 as Miami.
More than 20 percent of the employment in Globe and Miami
is related to mining and production of copper. Over half of Gila
County’s sizable manufacturing sector employment is in copper
smelting, refining or rod production. In the area, there are three
copper mines, several concentrators, a smelter and a rod mill. All of
Gila County is a designated Enterprise Zone.
The local tourism industry has been enhanced by a $50 million
investment by the federal government to provide recreational campgrounds
and amenities at nearby Roosevelt Lake.
Meandering westerly from Globe-Miami is the famous Apache
Trail. This 98-mile trek on state Highway 88 provides more insight
into the character of Arizona than possibly any other section of road
in the state. Along the roadway, imposing saguaros, rugged mountains
jutting out of the desert, and four lakes created by dams on
the Salt River give the traveler a glimpse of Arizona’s beauty and
diversity. The newly designed “Old West Highway” continues eastward
to Lordsburg, New Mexico.
The Besh-ba-Gowah Indian Ruin is adjacent to the Globe
Community Center. The partially restored ruin and the adjacent
museum and visitor center provide a glimpse of the lifestyle of people
who occupied the region more than two centuries before
Columbus discovered the New World. A botanical garden is developed.
The downtown areas of Globe and Miami are rich in historic
buildings and a walking tour is available. In downtown Globe, the
historic Gila County Courthouse, built in 1906, is being restored and
houses the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts.
The Boyce Thompson Southwest Arboretum with its collection
of more than 10,000 desert cacti, flowers and trees are about 25
miles southwest of Miami. The Gila County Museum has a fine collection
of artifacts dating from 1125 to 1400 A.D. from the Salado
Fishing, hunting, white water rafting and sightseeing are popular
with residents and visitors. Roosevelt Lake, 25 miles from Globe via
state Highway 88, is one of the Southwest’s finest bass lakes. Tonto
National Monument is also nearby.
The Salado Indians came to this area in 1100 A.D. and built their cliff dwellings. These cliff dwellings can be seen today at the Tonto National Monument and at the Besh-ba-Gowah ruins. They were an advanced group of hunters and gathers, who farmed along the banks of the Pinal Creek. The Salado Indians disappeared mysteriously in 1450 A.D.
It wasn’t until many years later before another group ventured into the area. The Apache Indians were the next people to roam the land. The Apaches called the area Besh-ba-Gowah meaning “place of metal” or “metal camp”.
One of the first mines in the area was established in 1873. Soon afterward the Globe Mining District was formed. The story of how the town’s name came to have probably been embroidered over time. The name came from a silver nugget that was found in the area. It is said that the nugget was spherical in shape and had markings on its outside that resembled the shapes of the continents.
The discovery of silver brought many to the area, which was a part of the San Carlos Reservation. Soon after the silver discovery, a 12- mile strip that contained all the precious metal was taken away from the Apache Indian Reservation. This realignment of boundaries upset the Apaches, who raided the settlement up until 1886 when Geronimo finally surrendered.
Globe was founded in 1876. In the beginning, Globe was just a few tents and shacks. Then in 1878, the settlement moved to the banks of Pinal Creek. The name changed to Globe City, but after while the word ‘city’ was dropped. By the time of the town’s incorporation in 1880, the silver had run dry. Even though the silver had disappeared, miners soon learned that underneath the silver was copper. The copper kept the town growing for many years to come. An interesting quirk about the town is that it has gone through several incorporations the last being in 1907.
It was a hard life in Globe; especially during the first twenty years, the town was in existence. Transportation was the main problem. There was a 120-mile separation from Globe to the nearest railroad. In the beginning, supplies were brought in by way of Silver City, New Mexico. Then in 1878, the town of Florence has used just 60 miles away. It wasn’t until 1898 when the Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railroad was built that the mines could really take off. It was even later in 1922 before Globe was connected by pavement to Phoenix.
In 1881, George W.P. Hunt arrived in Globe. He would soon become a very famous Arizonan. Hunt began as a waiter and then moved up to be a leading merchant in town and then a banker. Hunt rose up the ladder by working hard in this growing mining town. He reached his peak when he became the first governor of Arizona.
The Old Dominion Mine on the north side of town had some hard times in its early years. But when the Lewisohn brothers purchased it in 1895, the mine took off. Globe was bragging that all of the United States coins had been minted from copper mined in Globe. Globe also called itself the “Capital City of the County with a Copper Bottom”. The town was the metropolis of the wild west with over 50 restaurants and saloons.
Then water seepage became a problem and the brothers sold the mine to Phelps-Dodge in 1905. After a change in equipment, Phelps-Dodge started to see a profit.
However, in the 1920’s two things went wrong with the mine causing it to close. The price of copper dipped and water began again to seep into the mineshafts. In 1931, The Old Dominion Mine officially closed down.
Today, the Magma Copper Company owns the mine. The company uses the water to help in the operation of other mines in the area.
Mining played a big part of the history of the town from 1870 to 1920. This time period is known as the Golden Age. Globe became the home to many rich miners and mine owners. Ranching also became an important piece of the economy.
The land surrounding town became prime grazing. Cattle and mining lore still color this trading center.
Today the green and rose-colored hillside and the tailings leached to colors as fine as those of the surrounding mountains at the northern limits are the remains of a great copper mine and stand as a landmark of the famous mining camp.
Even with this reminder, the town continues to prosper due in part to its water supply and its location for easy distribution of mining products. At least 20 percent of the town’s employment is related to mining and production of copper. Tourism is also becoming a large part of the industry in town.