I had visited Bisbee, AZ when I attended the Lazy Daze SW Rally in Benson. I was only there for about 2 hours though so I thought I would check it out in more depth. I decided to stay there for 2 nights and really check out the town.
I stayed at the Queen Mine RV Park. Someone at the rally had mentioned it (can’t remember who) stating it was a real nice park located within walking distance of the downtown area. They also mentioned that the hosts where very friendly and accommodating. They were right on both counts. When I drove in it looked like the entire park was full. Louise (the host) was able to get me into a spot for 2 nights. Here is a pic of the Queen Mine RV Park.
Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.
This is a view overlooking the town from the RV park. Bisbee is about 5600′ up in the mountains so it was cooler then the Picacho Peak campground.
The next morning I decided to go on a mine tour. I walked down the hill from the RV park to where they conducted the tours.
The Queen Mine was a cooper mine. This had been in operation since the early 1900’s but was shut down in 1943 when they moved their mining operations to other locations. It was 47 degrees in the mine at all times so I dressed warm for the tour. Everyone was supplied with a coat, helmet, and flashlight with battery pack.
Then we all boarded this very small train that took us deep into the mine. We went 1500′ into the mine and were down about 400′ below the surface. Anyone that was prone to claustrophobia would probably have a difficult time as it was very confining.
This was our guide who was a former miner. He started in the mines when he was 20 years old and had worked there his entire life. We also had a 2nd guide who had also worked in the mines his entire life, but he started when he was 18. They were both very informative and addressed all our questions.
Here we have the guide explaining how miners would travel in the mine via this elevator. They would ring the bell a certain number of times to denote which floor of the mine they were going to.
Since the miners spent their entire 8 hour shift underground they had to use the mines restroom facilities. This is our guide showing how 2 miners would use the facility at once. It worked but definitely not too private.
This is one of the cars that holds 1 ton of rock. There was a foot lever at the bottom of the car when pushed the miner could push the top of the car and the rock could be dumped. However to do this the car would have to be top heavy.
This is some of the equipment used to drill a hole 7′ into the wall of the mine. Once the hole was dug they would ram a stick of dynamite into the hole with a long wick. When they got many holes dug and dynamite placed in them then they would light the wicks and run to safety.
This shows how the rock was placed in shafts, sometimes 100′ long, to be loaded onto cars to remove from the mine.
This is a couple of views of the Old Town district. Many of the buildings were very old from around the turn of the century and in some cases even older. I especially enjoyed the antique shops.
I really enjoyed my stay in Bisbee and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a quaint little mining town with lots of history.