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Lavender Pit
Lavender Pit

Bisbee was founded as a copper, gold, and silver mining town in 1880, and named in honor of Judge DeWitt Bisbee, one of the financial backers of the adjacent Copper Queen Mine. Mining in the Mule Mountains proved quite successful: in the early 20th century the population of Bisbee soared. Incorporated in 1902, by 1910 its population swelled to over 9,000. In 1917, open pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the heavy copper demand due to World War I. In 1929, the county seat was moved from Tombstone, Arizona, to Bisbee, where it remains.

High quality turquoise was a by-product of the copper mining and has been promoted as Bisbee Blue. Bisbee is noted for the astounding variety of copper-based minerals and the superb specimens that have been taken from its mines.

By 1950, boom times were over and the population of the City of Bisbee had dropped to less than 6,000, but the introduction of open-pit mining and continued underground work would see the town escape the fate of many of its early contemporaries. However, in 1975 the Phelps Dodge Corporation finally halted its Bisbee copper-mining operations.

Bisbee Panorama


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Webmaster Note:

In one issue of AARP's Modern Maturity Magazine, they labeled Bisbee as one of the "quirkiest" towns in America, and my observations confirmed it. Bisbee has a large gay community, many Birkenstock-shod yuppies, and numerous down-and-outs that I witnessed rummaging through trash cans and begging for loose change. From the suspicious wafts of marijuana smoke I got wind of, and the psychedelic graffiti and establishments, it makes one wonder how much of the smuggled drugs (from nearby Mexico) really get past Bisbee? Definitely not my kind of town...my stay was brief.



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