Part 2: Bisbee Underground Mine Tour



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The Trip

Since our campground was physically adjacent to the Queen Mine Tour facility, we had to check it out. The photos below are what we saw.

The heavy rains the night before had washed down heavily mineralized water into the bottom of Lavender Pit. Note the color of the water.

The walls of Lavender Pit are very steep and therefore subject to collapse. On the north side of the pit there was just such a collapse.

The historic district of Bisbee is built on steep hillsides because there is minimal level ground. The entrance to the Queen Mine Tour is at the bottom left of the photo above.

The history of Arizona is inseparable from mining. My great uncle died in a mine accident in Bisbee and my father was born in Lowell which is nearby. My father's company did much business with the mines and I, myself, worked underground when I was in college.

A shovel bucket on display at the Queen Mine.

A trolley motor.

The battery motor that would pull the "man train" that will take us into the mine.

The portal to the Queen Mine.

Kathleen ready to go underground.

This reminds me of the old days back in the middle 1970s when I used to work 2000 feet underground at the Magma Copper Company in San Manuel, AZ.

On the man train, heading into the mine.

At the first stop, we headed up stairs into one of the stops where high-grade ore was extracted.

An air drill. A pocket of malachite, a type of mineral that is rich in copper, is visible on the left.

A map of the mine. There were many hundreds of miles of tunnels in this mine complex.

A cross section of one of the production areas in a nearby mine.

A device that the mine bosses used to get from one section of the mine to another.

The guide is describing the use of the chute to dump ore into the cars.

More air drills.

The guide describes how to set charges in the face.

A slusher machine used to drag ore for removal. This setup consists of a winch, a pulley and a blade.

An old-time porta-potty. The miners referred to this as the "honey pot". Yum.

Air powered mucking machine.

The bell code chart for use in controlling the cage.

The bell is used to signal the hoist operator to control the motion of the cage.

When we finished at the mine, we headed into town to check things out. We saw some pretty sketchy people there. It seems that after the mines shut down, Bisbee has become a haven for ex-hippies and artists. The gal being kissed above had no front teeth, likely due to crystal methamphetamine use.

The text of the graffiti left me saying WTF?

More interesting signage.

While the structure is unremarkable, note the date.

The place high on the cliff was seemingly constructed with old timbers salvaged from the mines.

An interesting manifestation of "art".

The tour through the mine was very cool. If you make it to the area, it is a "must do" item. The hike around town left me looking over my shoulder to see who was following me.


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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2008, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.