Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bisbee, AZ

We took a drive down to the historic mining community of Bisbee. It is 23 miles south of Tombstone and sits at an elevation of 5,538 feet. Bisbee is the county seat for Cochise County. According to the 2010 census, the population of Bisbee is 5,575. In 1910 when the mines were booming, the population reached 9,019!
To enter the magical community of Bisbee via Highway 80 you have to go through the Bisbee tunnel!
The view is spectacular throughout the community! There is the historic downtown, homes built up the hillsides, deep open pit mines that are a brilliant copper color, and mountain peaks all around!
This is the downtown and nearby homes. 
This is the Copper Queen Mine, as seen from the highway going past the downtown. If you continue on Highway 80 past the copper colored mound in the center of the picture, you will enter a residential area. The homes are from the early mining days.  It is pleasant just to drive through the community experiencing the feel of days gone by! 
There is a parking lot off the highway where you can stop to peer deep into this mining pit. Bisbee was founded as a copper, gold, and silver mining town in 1880 and was named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, one of the financial backers of the Copper Queen Mine. Turquoise was also found in this area with a special quality that's become known as Bisbee Turquoise. 
Today Bisbee is known for its artist community. The only large attraction besides the community itself is the Copper Queen Mine tour.
This is a picture we took outside the edge of town. Check out the long mound of slag to the forefront of the mountains. Homes throughout the community are built right up against these slag piles. The yellow home with the red roof that you see off in the distance at the end of this road is the historic home of an early 1900s copper baron.
This is Loma Linda mansion built in 1907 for Walter Douglas, who was known as "The Copper King". In the 1970s this mansion became the Loma Linda Lodge Health Retreat and was a party spot for rock stars! The eleven bedroom mansion is currently on the market for $1,200,000! Roy and I had to wonder if all those mounds of copper ore around town help people's arthritis like some people feel copper bracelets do! We could feel dust on our lips and taste the metallic flavor just from driving through town!  
This is the town hub in the old downtown. There are some small markets in the area, but it seems for most shopping, residents would have to go to Sierra Vista 24 miles away.
The downtown streets are narrow, but we comfortably toured Bisbee in our truck. There are chauffeured golf cart tours of various durations that provide narration on the history of Bisbee. We heard from friends that they enjoyed the golf cart tour they took and would enjoy going back for the longer tour.
Here is one more look at the interesting historical community of Bisbee!