Mammoth is in Southern Arizona. It is in Pinal County. The town is located in the broad San Pedro River Valley, with the Galiuro Mountains to the west and the Santa Catalina Mountains to the south, along State Highway 77. Mammoth is a part of a tri-community area, covering a 12-mile radius with the towns of Oracle and San Manuel. Tucson is 40 miles southwest and Phoenix is 140 miles northwest.
Mammoth is a quiet town sprinkled with adobe buildings and a rich mining history. The town sits at an elevation of 2,353 feet. The warm desert climate has a winter low temperature of 40 degrees and a summer high temperature of 99 degrees. The community is surrounded by giant cactus, cholla and pastel painted mountains.
There is a terrific attraction just a few miles southwest of town. Biosphere 2 is world famous. It is a three-acre model of the earth’s ecosystem. The mission of Biosphere is to serve as a center for teaching, learning, and research about the earth and its systems. There are tours offered daily.
Mammoth has several outdoor activities. The Oracle State Park and Center for Environmental Education are currently offering nature education programs for school aged children and is a wildlife refuge. The Arizona Trail passes through a seven-mile section of the park. This trail is available for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. If you are interested in learning more, call the Oracle State Park. The Pinal Pioneer Highway begins southwest of town on State Highway 79. The highway heads to the town of Florence passing by all kinds of desert fauna. There are plaques along the roadside with information on the various plants. It is a gorgeous drive.
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In 1883, Frank Schultz located the first mine in the area. The name Mammoth was given to the mine because it was believed that the gold ore deposits were of mammoth proportions.
The mines soon realized that is was impossible to work the ore at the mine site. A stamp mill had to be built to solve the problem and the best place for the mill was along the San Pedro River. The location of the stamp mill became known as Mammoth, named after the mine. In the beginning, the ore was hauled down to the mill by mule teams and wagons. Then in 1903, aerial trams were constructed. Bucket loads of ore were sent down from the mine to the mill.
Throughout the 1880’s, the town was one of the busiest mining camps in the country. The Mammoth post office was established in 1887.
The Mammoth Mine changed owners and work were shut down in 1895. During this time, the mine developed a new system of milling.
When molybdenum was found in the tailings during 1936, the mine had a short-lived resurgence. The town was incorporated in 1958.
The discovery of the nearby San Manuel Mine brought Mammoth alive again. The San Manuel Mine opened in the 1950’s, bringing more jobs to the surrounding mining towns. Today, production of metal continues to play a large role in the town’s economy, along with ranching.