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 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.

Street music part of Bisbee experience

Christa has been playing music around historic Bisbee for many months now, coming out most days and staying as long as her daughter, Isabella, will maintain her good attitude. She does remarkably well for an 18-month old.

She arrived in Bisbee in January and does “busking” as her living, playing mostly cover tunes. She says she enjoys country and folk music. Though she has written many of her own songs, she hasn’t been doing this of late and doesn’t yet have her own album available.

If you see her on the street while you’re walking around, take a break and enjoy her music (she takes requests) and drop some encouragement in her guitar case.

What are all the yellow sandbags around Bisbee for?

By Gary Dillard

One aspect of Bisbee which I point out to our riders is the proliferation of yellow sandbags around town, with an explanation of the history and process.

Freeport soil cleanupBisbee had a smelter between 1880 and 1903, located where the Queen Mine Tour is today. As well as putting out gases, it emitted particulates. (Later, smelters would be able to install electrolytic precipitators to removed these solids from the gas stream, both because of their value and for health considerations.) Some of these particulates were heavy metals, such as lead, and some of them settled into the local soil.

Smelter emissions weren’t the only cause of lead in the soil. House paint used to contain lead as well, and every time someone scraped the paint off into the yard, the lead remained in the soil. Nevertheless, a few years ago, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. began its local soil program, testing all of the soil in greater Bisbee. Where metals were found to be above a certain threshhold, the company has dug up the soil, disposed of it, replaced it with clean soil and planted it to prevent erosion. Continue reading “What are all the yellow sandbags around Bisbee for?”