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.

Where is it cool in Arizona?

bisbee in the cool summer rainGo north to get cool, say the denizens of Arizona’s urbs. In Tucson, it’s up Mt. Lemon. In Phoenix, it’s up to the Rim.

After all, south is hot! Not! Not always, at least.

Bisbee, with its mile-high elevation, has average high/low temps in June of 89/59, while Payson, up on the Mogollon Rim where Zane Grey once rode, is 88/51. Not a lot of difference. In July, the numbers are 87/62 for Bisbee and 91/59 for Payson, after the rains start. (Here’s the source for these figures.)

The summer rains don’t just cool things off in Bisbee. No, no, no. They add a beautiful dimension to the scenery as well. The thunderheads often start in the valley below the city and come right up into the canyons, a-flashin’ and a-roarin’ and dropping the temperature 20 degrees or so within minutes, while soaking and cooling folks who are out in the streets dancing, ’cause they can. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but we’ve given rainy-day tours, in our open Jeeps, to folks from Phoenix who dearly love getting a soaking. Because they can’t get it at home. Continue reading “Where is it cool in Arizona?”

New Joanna Brady novel coming

A new Sheriff Joanna Brady novel is coming Sept. 6, and though it’s a mystery novel, it’s announcement also solved a mystery for us.

Some weeks back, we had the pleasure of providing a J.A. Jance/Joanna Brady jeep tour for some of her fans. That had just spoken with the author at one of here booksignings and she had recommended the tour (thanks, again!) and had told them to have us point out Geronimo.

Joanna Brady, DeadfallNow Geronimo is a peak in the southern end of the Mule Mountains, in which Bisbee and its suburbs sit, and it’s alternately known as Gold Hill. (Here’s a piece Gary wrote on Bisbee hills with two names.) I couldn’t figure out why she wanted them to know about Geronimo.

Then I saw the notice about the upcoming new novel, Downfall, which will be available Sept. 6. Here’s what the blurb has to say:

Two women have fallen to their deaths from a small nearby peak, referred to by Bisbee locals as Geronimo. What’s the connection between these two women? Is this a case of murder/suicide or is it a double homicide? And if someone else is responsible, is it possible that the perpetrator may, even now, be on the hunt for another victim?

Now we know. All that remains is awaiting the 15th Joanna Brady novel.

New mural going in at City Park

New mural at City Park
New mural coming at City Park. Monti Eaton, the artist, shows off a sketch of what it will look like.

As we were heading around City Park today, on Taylor Avenue, we were hailed by Monti Eaton, who was at the top of the step-seating at the park. “You’ll soon have something new to add to your tour,” he said.

In honor of the upcoming centennial celebration of “Cement Park” in May, he is putting in a new mural on the concrete of the west wall. It will cover the front of the benches, but not the tops, and the wall above the benches, so that the images will be complete from across the park. Continue reading “New mural going in at City Park”

Cemetery tour set for Saturday

On several of our tours, we go through Evergreen Cemetery, which truly represents the enormous size of Bisbee-past.

Visitors who want to know what to do in Bisbee soon realize that, as much as there is to do today, it doesn’t begin to compare with the city of yesteryear.Muheim plot at Evergreen Cemetery

This Saturday (Sept. 26), the Muheim Heritage House will sponsor a cemetery tour, with actors playing the roles of various historic characters, as a fundraiser. It’s been a tough run for the organization, since the tour isn’t on the schedule of regular maintenance by the city’s DOC crews, so it’s had to do selective weed-whacking on its own, at strategic sites. Continue reading “Cemetery tour set for Saturday”

Getting a little artsy at sunset

Lavender Jeep on Juniper FlatsWent up on top of the mountain last evening on our Sunset Tour. It was in the low 90s downtown; somewhere in the 70s up top. And — as always — gorgeous.

Tried to get an “artsy” photo of the Jeep as the sun was going down. Came out okay, but wish I had the flexibility of a camera-camera in my phone-camera. Probably an app for that, so I’ll have to find one and get some experience.

Darn! That means a lot more trips up the mountain to practice. If you want to get away from Bisbee’s relatively mild summer, and see some great views, give us a call. Would love the opportunity to show you a different part of the Bisbee area! And practice my photography.


Seeing the rainbow from above

Looking down on rainbow from Juniper FlatsLooking down on a rainbow isn’t a common occurrence, but it was the view today from Juniper Flats, as rain danced all around the Mules.

God gave Noah the rainbow, we are told, as a covenant that He never again would destroy the earth by floods.

Today what I wondered was this: When he got that message, was Noah still atop Mt. Ararat, looking down on the rainbow, as we were today? Perhaps a rainbow is a rainbow, but a change in perspective certainly can encourage one to ponder new ideas.

The Sky Island Tour up Juniper Flats is like that. It continually offers to me news visions of the world. It’s a great retreat from computers, crowds, even the desert. Give me a call when you’re ready to take that trip.

Speed bump or speed hump

It used to be that the only term used was speed bump, but in recent years, speed hump also came into use. Someone decided there was a difference and signs needed to conform. I never bothered to look up the distinction, and still haven’t. But on the drive up School Hill on the Historic Bisbee Tour the other day gave me some perspective.

Speed bump/speed humpApparently, if you’re going “up” the hill, it’s a speed bump, but once you’ve crested and are heading back down, it’s a speed hump. Makes about as much sense as anything else. Don’t know how that applies to flat streets, but there are few of those in Bisbee, so perhaps I don’t need to know.

Yep, we like dogs!

Lavender Jeep dog friendly
Doodles makes himself at home with the rest of the family in the Lavender Jeep. He had good things to say about the tour.

Lavender Jeep Tours are dog-friendly. we have entertained a number of clients who have taken their dogs for a ride around Bisbee, both little ones in backpacks and big ones that kept their feet warm.

(Should note that our base of operations, the Copper Queen Hotel, is dog-friendly as well. You can drink or dine on its saloon patio with your pup.)

So don’t let Fido stop you from enjoying a run through the canyons or up on the mountain. He’ll enjoy the smells as much as you enjoy the view and narrative.

And no, we don’t charge for Fido.