The county seat of colorful and historic Cochise County, Bisbee
is located 90 miles southeast of Tucson. It is the site of the famed
Copper Queen Mine, which was one of the richest sites in the world
for gold and copper as well as silver, lead and zinc. In the early
1900's, Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.
As with most such towns, Bisbee had it's sunny side with culture
and wealthy people and its shady side known as Brewery Gulch with
saloons and prostitutes and gambling. In 1908 a fire tore through
the commercial part of town but it was rebuilt and by 1910, the town
looked much as it looks today.
By 1975 most of the mines had shut down, as the profit was no longer
there. At the same time tourism was on the rise and Bisbee was a draw.
People come from all over the world to get a feel of the old mining
west. The town is filled with relics of the past.
Stay the night at the four story Copper Queen Hotel. Copper light
fixtures guide your way down the hallways. Admire the antiques and
old photos. The original old switchboard stands behind the check in
Visit the Muheim Museum Heritage House which was built between 1898
and 1915. The guided tour takes you through the house with its period
furnishings and gives you a feel for what was then considered to be
the good life.
End your visit with a mine tour. Be sure to wear long pants and no
sandals, it's really cold in there. They give you a yellow slicker
and a hard hat along with a flashlight. Straddle the rail car behind
the little mine train and off you go. You will go about 1800 feet
into the mine. The tour is led by people who know, as they were miners.
You will see ore samples, drills and the cages used to take the miners
from one level to another. It will give you a new appreciation for
the people who brought world fame and fortune to a corner of the southwest.
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