Bisbee history is rich and exciting

By Gary Dillard

Bisbee history is unbelievably rich and diverse. From progressive women to murderous men, from a Democrat stronghold to the power behind the Bull Moose party. From great wealth and political power to a back seat in state governance, Bisbee has it all.

Dozens, hundreds, thousands of stories. You can dig as deep as you want and always find more. Much like its fabulous ore bodies.

It has several “founding dates:” The original discoverers filed the first mining claim in the summer of 1877; it got a name and a post office in 1880; and it was incorporated in 1902. Each date is important.

It had (at least) three major booms: mid-1880s, turn of the 20th century, and mid-20th century. Again, each boom brought significant changes and new residents with new ideas and renewed creativity. (So, too, with its near-demise in the late 1970s.)

Slow growth

Tombstone was a silver-mining camp, and though it was discovered at the same time as Bisbee, it boomed faster and became the county seat when Cochise County was carved out of Pima County in 1881. That left Bisbee with a local jail, for example, that was just a holding cell, and trials for area crimes were held in Tombstone. Continue reading “Bisbee history is rich and exciting”

See the Presidents in Bisbee

By Gary Dillard

How well do you know your presidents?

If you think you’re pretty good at identifying the 45 men who have held the office over the past 2+ centuries, stop by the gallery of John Thamm on Main Street in Bisbee. He has painted portraits of all of them and opened a show on Presidents Day.

John Thamm and Andy Jackson
Artist John Thamm and his portrait of Andrew Jackson..

I did pretty well on a self test, but those from the “dark ages” of American history, the mid-19th century, the late 19th, and the early-mid 20th were hard to identify. Just what does Martin Van Buren look like?

John is working on a book created from his paintings and is considering taking them on tour. Right now, however, you can see them all in Bisbee, at his gallery at 40 Main Street, and you can even get a print of your favorite.

Janet Eaton and Thomas Jefferson
Janet Eaton checks out Abe Lincoln while Thomas Jefferson keeps watch. It’s like being at Mount Rushmore!

For those of you who have been around Bisbee for a while, you might remember back in 1976 when local resident Frank Taylor ran for president, he traveled the country lecturing on the American presidency. I caught his presentation down at the Lowell Theater and learned a lot, some of which I even remember.

Now you can learn about the men visually, and it might encourage you to go home and do some research on Buchanan or Tyler or Harding. Just one more thing to do in Bisbee.

Learn more about the artist and his work at his website.