Friday, February 28, 2014

Bisbee, AZ

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Thursday February 27, 2014

We set out for the historic mining town of Bisbee Arizona this morning.  Easily one of our favorite towns in the West, we will always go out of our way to see it again.  

Bisbee is located on Arizona route 80 less than 10 miles from the Mexican border.  The town is the southernmost "mile high city" in the US at 5,538 feet.

The town is crowded into a series of narrow valleys with very steep hillsides all around, making buildable space a rare comodity.  The buildings that are here optiize the amount of land available

Roofs nearly touch, there are very few streets, tiny yards or no yards at all, lots of stairs and paths.

After the mine shut down in the seventies, artists adopted the area and began to congregate here.  Bisbee has many art galleries, gem and Jewely stores, and stores that sell whimsical creations of stone, metal, clay and glass.  This storefront is decorated with bottlecaps- each one carefully nailed into place by the artists hand.

Here is a minivan that has been decorated over every inch to reflect this artists concept of what is missing in Detroit's line-up.

The Lavender Pit Mine here in Bisbee, and the New Cornellia Mine in Ajo, were both owned by Phelps Dodge, and both converted from a tunneling mine to open pit.

The Bisbee area was a collection of small towns, of which Bisbee is the main survivor.  Just on the south edge of the large pit is the remnants of the town of Lowell.  The whole town of Lowell was purchased by the mine in the early 1900s and much of the town was leveled to make way for the mine.  All that is left of Lowell is this one street where the buildings are mostly empty, but many are decked out in period furnishings- at least what you can see from the street.  The nearby town of Warren was also purchased by the mine and incorporated into the town of Bisbee.  Warren survived and has re-asserted it's own personality of late.  

Joan and I decided to have lunch at one of Bisbee's famous landmarks the Copper Queen Hotel in Old Downtown.

They have a very nice dining area on the patio in front of the hotel, the food was delicious.

We hiked up several of the narrow streets taking pictures left and right.  We marveled at the creativity and tenacity of these residents.  Many of the houses litterally cling to the hillsides.

Rock and concrete walls serve to hold everything together- and forget about parking- the space is too valuable, a house with a carport or garage is a very valuable comodity.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

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