Wednesday, January 29, 2014

copper queen mine, bisbee, arizona



bisbee, a large mining town, was established in 1880 after the nearby copper queen mine opened in 1877. between the copper queen mine's opening in 1877 and its closing in 1975 it was the most productive copper mine in arizona producing over 8 billion pounds of copper. over the years other metals were mined as well, including 2.8 million ounces of gold, 77.1 million ounces of silver, 304.6 million pounds of lead, and 371.9 million pounds of zinc. however, by the mid-1960s, the copper queen mine was no longer a particularly lucrative mine and was finally shut down in 1977, at which point they began giving tours of the mine. 

my parents came to visit southern arizona over the holidays and we decided to take a little trip to bisbee (a 2 hour drive south of tucson) to check out the town and the mine, and the mine was definitely the highlight of the trip. for $13 they take you on an hour long tour through the mine where you get to wear a hard hat, a large yellow jacket (something akin to what firefighters wear i'd imagine), a gigantic belt, and a flashlight, all while riding a tiny train trolley thing. it's spectacular. but the most amazing part has to be that your tour guide is a former miner! (ours worked in the copper queen mine for 20 years before it closed!) it's amazing to hear all about the different processes and equipment that they used from someone who actually used the tools he's talking about. plus, he was such a cute old man -- he insisted he couldn't hear anyone's question, so he kept asking "what? speak up!" it was the cutest. 


 

 



some things you should know before you go: it's a cool 47ºF in the mine and tours last approximately 1 hour. reservations are a must; call 866.432.2071 or 520.432.2071. tours run at 9am, 1030am, 12pm, 2pm, 330pm. adults are $13 while kids (4-12) are $5.50. for more information, check out the copper queen's website here.