CORNER CITY GOVERNMENT
by Jennifer L. Graeme
In 1877 a reconnaissance
detail of army scouts and cavalrymen was sent to the Mule Mountains
to search the area for renegade Apaches. What civilian tracker Jack
Dunn found instead were signs of mineralization indicating the presence
of lead, copper and possibly silver. The first mining claim was staked
in what would later become the City of Bisbee. The filing of this
claim, and a multitude of others filed by George Warren, sent prospectors
and speculators scurrying to the Mule Mountains in hopes of striking
it rich. Numerous rich ore bodies were located and Bisbee soon became
known as the "Queen of the Copper Camps"
continued to grow and prosper. With prosperity came an increased population
and the need for sanitation, clean water, medical care, building codes
and fire protection. On January 9, 1902 a city charter was approved
and the City of Bisbee was incorporated. A temporary city council
was formed and went to work on these sorely needed civic improvements.
In 1910 the city was considered the largest in the territory, with
over 25,000 people. The Cochise County seat was relocated from Tombstone
to Bisbee in 1929.
Mining & Historical Museum
During almost a century of mining, 8 billion pounds of copper, 102
million ounces of silver and 2.8 million ounces of gold along with
millions of pounds of zinc, lead and manganese were produced. By 1974
ore reserves had been depleted and December brought the announcement
of the impending closure of mining operations in Bisbee. Phelps Dodge
curtailed open pit operations that year and ceased underground operations
in 1975. It appeared as though the queen was about to be laid to rest.
With the departure of its industrial base, the real estate market
in Bisbee collapsed as hundreds of homes went up for sale. The availability
of cheap real estate drew retirees, "hippies" and eventually
a new group of speculators. These new residents purchased property
and slowly began to contribute to the renovation of the city.
The Bisbee of today is a well-known artist's community whose architectural
and historic heritage has been preserved. Located at the center of
the natural and historic beauty of Cochise County, the city has transformed
itself into the ideal spot for tourism. These benefits combined with "the most perfect year round climate" make it an attractive
place to visit and a great place to call home.
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