Greater Bisbee Tour
Well before the end of the 19th century, historic Old Bisbee was packed full of people, homes and businesses. These folks needed to be close to their jobs. The Mines, which got their start on the side of the hill above (to the south of) Bisbee, followed the rich copper ore to the southeast as it got ever deeper.
There was some room for Bisbee to grow in that direction, and the result was a community called Lowell. Over the years to come, many small neighborhoods popped up, some near the mines and some along the railroad that came up the valley into Bisbee. They carried names such as Tintown, South Bisbee, Jiggerville, Briggs, Don Luis and Tovreaville.
When a second major mining company came to the area in 1899, it was time for a major expansion. Quickly the mining operations would grow by about 50% and Bisbee along with them. Over the ensuing couple of decades, Bisbee (including the surrounding unincorporated towns) would grow to an estimated 25,000 people. There was no way the old part of Bisbee could handle that many people.
In 1908, the new mining company, Calumet & Arizona, built a suburb named Warren and created a trolley system to link that remote (4 miles away) area to the mines. Within nine months of its opening, it had carried 1 million passengers. At the far end of the line, the company built a major-league-size baseball park to encourage ridership, just in case. It wasn’t needed, but the ballpark remains, and today is the oldest park in the nation.
This part of town also includes Bisbee’s “mansions,” built for mining company executives and other business and professional people who wanted to get away from the crowding of the Old Bisbee.
In the 1950s, when nearby Ft. Huachuca was being reactivated to provide services to a Cold-War-era Army, another section was built onto Bisbee, serving as a bedroom community for the Fort, an alternative to what at the time was a dusty, remote little village known as Fry (pre-Sierra Vista.) In fact, one section is called Huachuca Terraces, indicating its purpose. That general part of Bisbee is known as San Jose, for its view of a mountain just a few miles away in Mexico. It has Bisbee’s newest homes, on the south slope of the Mule Mountains, with great views into Mexico and of the spectacular sunsets.
Most all of these other areas were annexed into Bisbee in 1959 and contribute to the total population of today – about 5,500. But each retains its own color and its own unique history.