Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Cardboard Cut-Outs Of Bisbee Arizona.

This is Bisbee. Bisbee is a small town in southern Arizona not far from the Mexican border. It is a unique town in many ways that grew up when minerals and copper was discovered and mined by 'those virile men the copper miners.' It lies scattered amongst some hills in a haphazard way as though dropped from an airplane. One didn't expect those early miners to be town planners so consequently the streets don't follow any pattern and there are a lot of steps going up to wooden houses perched on the denuded hillsides.

I came over the hills from Tombstone and encountered Bisbee down to my left on the way to Naco the crossing point to Mexico and pulled in and parked up near the Copper Queen.  As I said it is a unique town and one of the unique aspects is that it is populated by cardboard cut-outs standing outside shops along main Street. 

These two dimensional local celebrities have all played some part in the evolution of this town. I saw the occasional three dimensional human inside one of the shops but they were generally hidden behind a counter amongst second hand clothes, shoes and hats and books and crockery and china and antiques and designer furniture. I also saw a cardboard cut-out of a grinning Roy Rogers holding up a second hand store.


The mellow voiced smiling Rex Allen looking dapper with his quiff and bow tie and his tight slacks. But his six guns seem to me to be pointing backwards.

More after the jump

Jimmie Pearce from Cornwall seems to have not been a qualified geologist as he 'stumbled' across an outcrop bearing gold and silver. I would call him Jimmie 'Lucky' Pearce.

Edward Schieffelin found lots of silver and triggered a stampede to the area and the town of nearby Tombstone is named after his experiences. His guns seem to be on backwards as well. Maybe this is Bisbee fashion of those days.

Lizzie Leake walked 900 miles from texas to  start a new life. I drove 780 miles from Mazatl├ín to Bisbee and found that quite grueling. Kudos go out to her.

This man in a waistcoat is Brannick Riggs, a rancher with a big ranch. The railroad came here as a result of his operations.

 The lady holding a cup is Madeline Giacomo Wyatt who was a fine teacher who tirelessly helped many kids

 Jimmy Judd looks happy probably because he was a law man had a shoot out with members of the African-American Christ healing Center and won by all accounts. One wonders what the Christ Healing Center got up to deserve being shot at by lawman Judd and his sidekicks. Anyway he looks like as man who brooks no nonsense.

This relaxed looking man cradling a large weapon is Thomas Jeffords who was a friend of Chief Cochise and brokered a peace between the Apache chief and the US. They were promptly placed in a reservation and no doubt told to keep quiet or else.

Albert Spikes was in the state legislature and did fine things for the state.

This man John Slaughter standing in front of the hat shop was a rancher and law man.

Lorna Lockwood was a famous Arizona judge, the first woman to become one in the US.

 This is chirpy looking Roy Rogers visiting Bisbee holding up the crockery section in this second hand shop. How he could wear all that ridiculous 'western' garb and still keep a straight face is a mystery to me.

Ellen Cashman the blousy looking and ostrich feathered 'Miner's Angel' who operated boarding houses and did other things like prospecting and mining.

I urge anyone to visit this slightly strange but unique western town and walk the streets and climb the steps. It is a living museum to the mining past with a rich history of characters and tales and disasters and come-backs. But watch your step because and few hundred meters out of town to the south you will encounter the very thing that built this town; a very deep hole gouged out of the red earth delicately called The Lavender Pit now closed from which gigantic machinery once hauled out copper oxide ore.

But if you come in from the north and leave to the north you will not see this big ugly rent in the earth and consequently you will leave Bisbee with fond memories.

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