So as we traveled further south on Arizona State Route 80 just south of Bisbee, we caught a glimpse of yesteryear just a block over. There were old buildings (as if that was anything unusual) and old gas station signs and old cars. We had to go check this out …. so …. I stopped and backed the car up and turned it around to see what we had almost missed.
This was the (former) town of Lowell, Arizona. You know, back in the day … the town was a “company” town. The company made the town to house the workers. The workers shopped at the company stores, went to the company movie theater and company dance hall. The demise of Lowell was due to the fact that the company needed more land for their mining operations so they just “took” what was already theirs – the land and the homes along with it and displaced the workers. But they left a short one-block section of Erie Street … and that’s what the pictures above represent.
THE LAVENDER PIT
The Lavender Pit (named after the Phelps-Dodge mining executive Mr. Harrison Lavender) was what consumed most of Lowell. The pit (or the Queen Mine) have not been active since they both ceased operations in 1974, but the pit is still there (fenced) but you can drive right up to it and look over the edge and take pictures like mine in the slide show below. The abandoned pit covers 300 acres, is 950 feet deep, and is a result of the removal of 351 million tons of material. Since mining operations ceased, the town of Bisbee reinvented itself as an artist community and historical tourist destination.
Take a peek at the pix of the Lavender Pit in the slide show below.
It’s really hard to tell the size of the mine in these pictures, but I’m here to tell you that you could take a small motorboat down to that pool of water at the bottom and have room to pull a water skier around. It is HUGE!
NEXT POST – On down to Douglas and the FENCE!