Bisbee, Arizona

Bisbee, Arizona

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Bisbee, Arizona
settlement_type = City

image_caption = Main Street, Bisbee.
imagesize = 250px

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in Cochise County and the state of Arizona

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Arizona
subdivision_name2 = Cochise
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = January 9th, 1902
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Ron Oertle
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 12.5
area_total_sq_mi = 4.8
area_land_km2 = 12.5
area_land_sq_mi = 4.8
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
elevation_ft = 5538
elevation_m = 1688
population_as_of = 2007
population_footnotes = cite web|url=|title=Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Arizona|publisher=United States Census Bureau|date=2008-07-10|accessdate=2008-07-14]
population_total = 5996
population_metro =
population_density_km2 = 494.2
population_density_sq_mi = 1286.9
timezone = MST (no daylight saving time)
utc_offset = -7
latd = 31 |latm = 25 |lats = 6 |latNS = N
longd = 109 |longm = 53 |longs = 52 |longEW = W
website =
timezone_DST =
utc_offset_DST =
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 85603
area_code = 520
GNIS_id = 1436
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 04-06260
blank1_name =
blank1_info =
footnotes =

Bisbee is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, 82 miles (132 km) southeast of Tucson. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 6,177.cite web | date = June 21 2006 | url = | title = Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Arizona | format = CSV | work = 2005 Population Estimates | publisher = U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division | accessmonthday = November 14 | accessyear = 2006] The city is the county seat of Cochise CountyGR|6.


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.

In 1929, the county seat was moved from Tombstone, Arizona to Bisbee, where it remains.

Mining industry

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 9,019 and it sported a constellation of suburbs, including Warren, Lowell, and San Jose, some of which had been founded on their own (ultimately less successful) mines. In 1917, open pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the heavy copper demand due to World War I.

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. Bisbee specimens can be found in museums worldwide. Cuprite, aragonite, wulfenite, malachite, azurite, and galena are just a few of the myriad variety of minerals that have been found underneath the town.

Bisbee Deportation

:"For full article see: Bisbee Deportation"

In 1917, the Phelps Dodge Corporation deported 1,185 suspected Industrial Workers of the World miners. [] This followed a similar incident earlier that year in central Arizona, the Jerome Deportation.

Mining decline and closure

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. The resulting exodus of mine employees might have been the end of the town. Bisbee survived and remains as the county seat.

Modern Bisbee

The sudden flood of real estate onto the market and crash in housing prices, coupled with an attractive climate and picturesque scenery, led to Bisbee's subsequent rebirth as an artists' colony. The rediscovery of Bisbee by baby boomers in the 1990s saw it develop a more polished look, complete with coffee shops and live theater. Many of the old houses have been renovated, and property values in Bisbee now greatly exceed those of other Southeastern Arizona cities.

Today, the original city of Bisbee is known as "Old Bisbee," and is home to a thriving downtown cultural scene. Old Bisbee is also noted for its architecture, including its Victorian houses and elegant Art Deco courthouse. Because its plan was laid out before the automobile, Old Bisbee has an almost European feel. The town's hilly terrain is exemplified by the old three-story high school: each floor has a ground-level entrance.


In the May-June 2000 issue of Modern Maturity, the AARP highlighted the what they called the most 'alive' places to retire in the U.S. Bisbee was a runner-up as one of the "quirkiest" towns in America. [ [ International Real Estate Digest] ]


Bisbee is noted for its gay-friendliness [ [ Sierra Vista Herald "Bisbee Pride Festival organizers say they have put city on the map" June 09, 2008] ] [ [ Purple Roofs - Your GLBT guide to World Travel] ] , and its Gay Pride Days is considered one of the top 5 rural Gay Prides in the United States by the online site at [] . Bisbee gays have their own website at [] This year's (2008) Bisbee Gay Pride celebrations included a Leather and Lace Street Party, poolside BBQ, a lingerie pub crawl, the Bert Lundy Dance Party, and a turn-of-the-century ball. [ [ Gay News] ] Ten U.S. AIDS Memorial Quilt panels were on display at Bisbee's famed Copper Queen Hotel.


The "City of Bisbee" now includes the historic downtown Bisbee, as well as the geographically spaced but administratively combined satellite communities of Warren, Lowell, and San Jose. The Lowell and Warren townsites were founded around their own mining subdivisions before being purchased in large part by Phelps Dodge and then consolidated into Bisbee-proper during the early part of the twentieth century. There are also smaller neighborhoods interspersed between these larger boroughs including Galena, Bakerville, Tintown, South Bisbee, Briggs and Saginaw.

Warren has the distinction of being Arizona's first planned community. Although there were mines operating in the vicinity, it was primarily designed as a bedroom community for the more affluent citizens of the mining district. The centrally located Vista Park and its adjacent downtown area at one time comprised a thriving center of commerce. Warren boasts a fine collection of Arts and Crafts style bungalow houses, many of which are historically registered and can be visited by the public during the city's annual home tour. Since the exit of mining in the 1970s, Warren has seen a steady decline in its standard of living, but its residential district still houses a significant portion of the population and it boasts ownership of many public services including City Hall, Greenway Elementary School, Bisbee High School, and the historic Warren Ballpark.

Lowell was at one time a sizable mining town located just to the southeast of Old Bisbee. The majority of the original townsite was consumed by the excavation of the Lavender Pit mine during the 1950s. All that is left today is a small portion of Erie Street, along with Evergreen Cemetery, Saginaw subdivision and Lowell Middle School. These days Lowell is considered by most of the local residents to be more of a place name than an actual community, though it houses the town's natural foods market and a highly popular restaurant, known as the Bisbee Breakfast Club.

San Jose, on the southern side of the Mule Mountains, is the most modern of the city's subdivisions, and has seen the most new growth in the last two decades as it is not restricted by mountains. Named after a nearby Mexican mountain peak, it hosts many newer county government buildings, Huachuca Terrace Elementary School, and a large shopping center.

Resurgence of Mining Industry

In 2007, in what has been noted as the world's biggest-ever mining takeover, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold bought Phelps Dodge Mining [ [ | Bloomberg News] ] and has begun some preliminary work in the area.

Naco and Bisbee Junction

Naco, Arizona is a small unincorporated border community some three miles south of the San Jose district of Bisbee. It straddles the U.S./Mexican Border and is home to a U.S. Port of Entry. Naco features a U.S. Post Office, elementary school, and several businesses including a small store, garage, and saloon.

Bisbee Junction (formerly Osborn or Osborn Junction) is located four miles south of Warren. It was originally a railroad siding where ore trains from the Bisbee mines joined with the main Southern Pacific rail line. A Southern Pacific depot and U.S. Post Office building originally stood at the railroad junction, but it was closed in the late 1950s and eventually razed soon afterwards. A dance hall, Elks country club and small dry goods store were once located near the depot, and the settlement was once home to several cattle ranches and dairies. The
Arizona Cactus Botanical Garden was located in Bisbee Junction.


Bisbee is located at coor dms|31|25|6|N|109|53|52|W|city (31.418390, -109.897772).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.5 km²), all of it land.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 6,090 people, 2,810 households, and 1,503 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,266.3 people per square mile (488.8/km²). There were 3,316 housing units at an average density of 689.5/sq mi (266.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.12% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 1.22% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 11.07% from other races, and 2.58% from two or more races. 34.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,810 households out of which 21.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,942, and the median income for a family was $36,685. Males had a median income of $29,573 versus $23,269 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,129. About 12.9% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.2% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.

ites of interest

(excluding those mentioned under "History")
*Cochise County Courthouse is built in the art deco style.
*Copper Queen Mine, was once a major copper producer and can be toured daily
*Phelps Dodge General Office Building, a National Historic Landmark, now the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum
*The Lavender Pit is an inactive open pit mine site in the center of the city.
*The Warren Ballpark, a baseball stadium built in 1909, has housed a number of professional teams and may be the baseball's oldest park still in use.
*The Thomas Ranch, a family-owned and operated beef cattle ranch since 1902, the year Bisbee was incorporated.

Sports teams

*Professional: Bisbee/Douglas Copper Kings (1928-1955) (2003) Baseball
*Semi-Professional: Bisbee Kings (2006-) Baseball

Popular culture


*Joanna Brady is the protagonist of a series of mystery novels by author J. A. Jance, centered on Bisbee and surrounding desert-mountain-border areas.
* It is one of the towns robbed by the "Butcher Bandit" in Clive Cussler's 2007 novel, The Chase


* In 2000, the low-budget William Shatner film "Groom Lake" was filmed in Bisbee and surrounding areas, using many local residents as extras.
* In the 1990 film "Young Guns II", the New York City classroom from which Pinkteron agents drag reformed outlaw Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) is actually in Bisbee's historic district.
* It is featured in the 1957 film "" and its remake.
* In the double-Oscar winning 1997 film "L.A. Confidential", actress Kim Basinger plays Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-a-like beauty originally from Bisbee.
* In the movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," one of the previously alien-abducted characters who was returned to earth at Devil's Tower is identified as "John DeLorean: Bisbee, Arizona".


* The song "Bisbee Blue" was included on the 2006 Calexico album, "Garden Ruin".


*The 1956-1958 TV series Sheriff of Cochise was set in and around Bisbee, legal seat of Cochise County. []
*On the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode originally aired December 5 2005, Bisbee is visited by Larry David. The city's name is misspelled "Bisby" in the episode.
* On the television show "Supernatural", in the episode "Skin," Dean claimed to be a police detective from Bisbee.
* The Stephen King 2006 made-for-television film "Desperation" was filmed around Tucson and Bisbee, using several extras from Bisbee itself, including Mayor Ron Oertle.

Notable residents

* Don Fryemixed martial arts fighter. He was fired from the Bisbee Fire Department after winning an early Ultimate Fighting Championship event, UFC 8, due to the negative stigma surrounding mixed martial artscite news|url=||title=Fight Clubbed|first=David|last=Plotz|date=1999-11-07|accessdate=2007-03-21]
* Jess Hartley — author
* Earl Hindman — actor best known for portraying Wilson W. Wilson Jr. on the sitcom "Home Improvement", was born in Bisbee in 1942.
* Katie Lee — singer and writer. She made a Lady Godiva-style bicycle ride through downtown Bisbee. [ Katie Lee, 2004, "Sandstone Seduction"] .
* Richard Shelton — author
* Doug Stanhope — comedian
* Jack Williamson — science fiction writer, born April 29, 1908 in Bisbee.
* Peter Young — artist

ee also

* Mule Mountains
* Lavender Pit
* Warren-Bisbee Railway
* USS Bisbee (PF-46)
* Bisbee-Douglas International Airport
* Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory
* Arizona Cactus Botanical Garden


External links

* [ City of Bisbee]
* [ Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Community Profile] by [ Arizona Department of Commerce]
* [ Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review] (newspaper)
* [ The Bisbee Observer] (newspaper)

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