Thursday, January 19, 2006

Former mining town, Bisbee, is now a picturesque community

[Source: Erin White, Arizona Daily Star] -- This small mining town, once one of the largest cities west of the Mississippi, looks slightly out of place in Southern Arizona. About two hours from Tucson by car, Bisbee is perfect for a day trip or weekend away. Shades of green suffuse the typical desert browns and beiges. Instead of Southwestern-style adobe houses sprawled into neighborhoods, the architecture is small and tight. Two-story houses, full of windows and trimmed with eaves, shutters and porches, are stacked and packed together, more like San Francisco than Tucson.

Judy Donaldson, who spent a few days vacationing in the town from the Phoenix area, described it as "absolutely darling" and "geographically extraordinary." The narrow streets often leave enough room for only one car — not that traffic poses much of a problem. Bisbee residents tend to get around the main area of the town of about 6,000 on foot, and the old section, where most of the shops are, is small enough that you'll likely run into the same people several times over the course of a day.

Three areas come together in Bisbee: Old Bisbee and the largely residential Warren and San Jose. Forgive the clich├ęs, but Bisbee is quaint and picturesque with its hills, pastel houses and gossip-filled street corners. It is also still very much alive with history. Founded in 1880 as a mining camp that over the course of a century would produce 8 billion pounds of copper, more than 6 million pounds of silver and 175,000 pounds of gold, the town has deftly turned its former industry into a tourist draw.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: A.E. Araiza, Arizona Daily Star.]