Bisbee, AZ–An Old Copper Mining Town

March 5 & 6, 2017

The historic town of Bisbee reminded me of the town where I was born and raised, in a number of different ways. I was born in the town of Macclesfield in Cheshire, England. The town was built on the hills on the Edge of The Peak District. There were lots of steep, narrow roads, red brick or stone buildings, and steps between the buildings to access the road above or below. The tiny parks had views of the tops of buildings, and into private back yards. There was a place called Step Hill and A Hundred-and-Eight Steps, and Sparrow Park. The whole town overlooked the Derbyshire Hills in the distance and one didn’t need to go to the gym for a workout, just walking around town was enough. I used to push my mum up some of the really steep hills when I was a child and used the cobbled stones to get a good push forward with my sensible shoes. There are no cobbled streets in Bisbee, and the town was created because of copper mining whereas Macclesfield was a silk town, but it still brought back some nostalgic memories of my childhood.

A person can learn a lot about a town by walking the back roads. In the image below you’ll see a homeless man sitting comfortably in an armchair, a blanket over his lap and reading a newspaper. He has his belongings on the shelves, and a bed on the floor. He looked as comfortable as I do when I sit in someone’s living room.

Bisbee is clearly a very artsy town, and I’m grateful that it has found a way to continue after the copper mine closed. In Colorado, many of the old mining towns have now become gambling towns. They do attract tourism, but they also make the back roads swell with heavy traffic regularly, and especially on weekends. The tiny back roads fill with huge coaches full of people, and of course, there is an increase in drivers who have been drinking. The roads around these tiny old mining towns have been expanded with wider roads, passing lanes and turning lanes, and extra fire and police stations, and traffic lights, and well… I’m just glad I got a glimpse of some of them before they turned into Disneyland because now the quaint character is lost forever. Bisbee has managed to retain it so far, and I hope they can continue in this manner.

I’ve offered up my thoughts on Bisbee, but I’m sure you’ll have different thoughts, so I’m just going to let you enjoy the experience. I hope you enjoy these images:

This is a view of the town from the south end. To get a better shot I would have had to walk up the highway, and well, I just didn’t feel like it.

Below are two shots of the old copper mine, now closed. After seeing these images, I gave some thought to the use of copper. I accept the fact that we need it to make copper wire for electricity and other practical things, but when I look at copper ornaments hanging on someone’s wall, I can’t help thinking that is something we could do without. Surely these mines would be much smaller if we only took what we needed and used in some practical manner, and said no to the ornaments and jewelry. I know it’s too late for this mine, but at some point, man is going to have to start doing without unnecessary things. I hope humans realise this and start limiting the manner in which we rape the earth, before it’s too late.

This was the strangest camp spot I’ve had yet. I enquired at the Visitor Center about places to camp, and the gentleman there scared me by telling me it was not safe for me to camp alone on BLM lands around here. He was pretty insistent about it. He directed me to the RV Park which I couldn’t afford, but then remembered that he occasionally saw people park in the parking lot opposite the museum overnight. It was a privately owned parking lot and the attendant agreed to let me park here for the night for $5.00. Normally they charge more, but he was a sweetie and gave me a deal. I thought I’d go and walk around the town and listen to some music because I was right in Historic Bisbee, but I got settled in and didn’t feel like going out on the town. I also thought it would be noisy, but it got really quiet through the night, so it was worth the $5.00 for the peace of mind.

I only spent the one night in Bisbee and left the next day after exploring the town some more.

I hope you have enjoyed this instalment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature


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4 responses to “Bisbee, AZ–An Old Copper Mining Town

  1. The reason BLM land is unsafe is smugglers and illegal immigration from Mexico (since Bisbee is very close to the border). By the way, we do have a few cobble streets, like the road up to Castle Rock 😉


  2. I enjoyed Bissbee, spent a couple of days there & went to watch a Saunders/Clinton debate at the theater. It was one of the very few places that reached out & grabbed me in my travels.
    All those concrete steps were built by the CCC back in the 30’s, I’m always amazed by the amount of “things” they built that I have used!

    For the night I stayed at Whitewater Draw WMA, about 15 miles away. That was a place to go in it’s own right. I got up in the middle of the night and the birds were still making noise, it was great!


    • Whitewater Draw WMA sounds lovely. I wanted to explore Bisbee two times though to see it all, so driving 15-miles to camp for the night is a 30-mile round-trip. I figured the parking lot cost less money. I’m one of those people who sometimes only drives 15-miles to my next place to visit and stay for a few days. LOL. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever go down there again, which I doubt, at least not in the next couple of years. I keep finding CCC places as well, sometimes in the middle of nowhere.


  3. Thanks for the great photos and the info Roxy. We wanted to go to Bisbee while we were in AZ this winter but didn’t make it. Next time. Did the guy say why he thought the BLM land wasn’t safe?


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