Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bisbee Arizona

We spent part of a day in the little town of Bisbee Arizona this week. It's an old mining town that has out-lived the closing of the mines. The town was built in the draw and up the sides of the hills on both sides. The County seat was moved here from Tombstone after the mines filled with water there and the town went down to about nothing. That's another story.

Bisbee has a lot of art and craft type stores (tourist trap) but it is still fun to walk the streets. One of the larger buildings in town is a town and mining museum.

We came here for a tour of the copper mine and a walk around town. We went directly to the mine, found a parking spot and figured we should come back after finding a school bus in the parking lot. As it turned out we needed a reservation for the tour; the noon tour had space available so we made reservation and then went into town to look around. When we got back the bus was gone, yea.

Not being one to view thing from the truck, we parked as soon as we could and walked from one end of town to the other. As we said it's a small town.

Also, as we said the town is right on the edge of the hills.

Back to the mine for our tour and this is our entrance to the mine. It's straight into the side of the mountain with several layers of shafts above and below this one, all about 100' above or below the other.

They gave us hard hats, coats and battery lanterns. Kind of a tight squeeze, but we all got onto the train to head underground. As you can see, we had to be very friendly with the other tourists. Notice the 1X8 above our heads; this is so if one tries to stand up you don't get your head taken off by the rocks in the top of the tunnel.
Off we go...

About 200' into the mine off to our left was another shaft that went miles underground.

This is a typical drill pattern (24 holes) with fuses ready for lighting to blow out another layer of rock. The miners would muck out the loose rocks, drill and be ready to blast at the end of the work shift. On the way out they would light the fuses and when then next shift came down there would be another pile of rocks for them to haul out and then they would drill...over and over 6 days a week.

Hey they had elevators to take the men up and down. A little tighter than we are used to but it worked for them.

This is one of the larger shafts that we walked down. Notice that there is very little cribbing holding up all the rock. Why do we keep thinking about earthquakes in these type of situations?

The rocks would be pushed down chutes and drop down into cars on the next lower level and then they would move out of the mine for smelting, or what ever they did with it.

What can we say? They had to go too. There was one person that would have to push them out of the mine, dump and bring back. Did I mention that they are also built out of heavy steel plate and that would make them hard to move.
For those that are a little on the slow side, yes it's a two hole toilet. Never did find the sink so you could wash your hands after use.

Back on top and down the road about a mile or two is this open pit mine. This picture is looking down and the next picture is looking right into the same hole. Out of sight further to the right the hole continues.

The water or should I say liquid at the bottom is black. Wonder if it's safe to drink?

Went back into town and had lunch on the patio of one of the old hotels, sitting in the sun watching the world go by. Another very good day and a nice lunch.

To be continued...

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