Arizona has been one of the best mining areas in North America since it was first discovered. In fact, Europeans first came to Arizona searching for new places to dig for silver and gold in the 1860’s. When mining hit its prime, one fourth of Arizona’s residents were working miners or prospectors. They great land didn’t disappoint with many precious minerals being discovered over the next 100 years, from copper to cold and even a few precious gems as well. The wealth created by the mining industry is what shaped the backbone for Arizona as a state. Today, the economy still relies heavily on working mines for support. Of the many mines that have been established over time, here are a two of the most interesting projects that left a mark on Arizona’s history.
The Patagonia Mine
The Patagonia Mine was originally known as the Mowry Mine. It was renamed in 1860 when Sylvester Mowry proudly purchased the property. Unfortunately, his operating years were numbered due to his political views. As a sympathizer to the Confederates, he was arrested as the Civil War was in its hay day. He went to prison and the Union took his mine. When he was released from prison, Mowry took his case to court demanding 1.1 million dollars for the illegal seizure of his property. Unfortunately, his case was unsuccessful and he never retrieved his property or the money he hoped to gain. The Mowry Mine is historically known as being a place of great conflict. One of Arizona’s favorite legends is about the murders of multiple mining leaders in this very spot. According to stories, the Apaches were displeased with European occupation of their land and took revenge at the mines.
The Bisbee Mines
Bisbee was one of the mining capitals during the 1800’s with multiple mines having great success. One of the most noted operations was the Copper Queen, home to an underground mining tunnel and a regular pit style mine. An electric train was used to transport equipment and carry the minerals. Today, you can still see this old train on display at the Bisbee Museum.
Both of these mines played an intricate role in the successful evolution of the mining industry in Arizona. When you visit the area, you can browse through museums and see real artifacts depicting detailed accounts of the stories that unfolded in these historic mines.