In May of 2017 my wife Martha and I rented an apartment in Bisbee, Arizona for the months of June through September so that we could get out of the worst of the Tucson heat. As time goes on, I will be chronicling our summer there and, ultimately, our decision to buy a house there. This is just a short introduction to this quirky little town, especially for those of you who may be unfamiliar with South Arizona in general and Bisbee in particular.
Bisbee is nestled in the Mule Mountains about 100 miles southeast of Tucson and about five miles from the Mexican border. From Benson, a town of about 5,000 where the current Arizona Highway 80, formerly U.S. 80, branches off of Interstate 10 one must travel just under 50 miles to Bisbee. Roughly halfway between Benson and Bisbee, Rte 80 passes through Tombstone. Although Tombstone, the old west town famous for the shootout at the OK Corral involving Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday, is more well-known, it is nowhere near as interesting as Bisbee.
From Tombstone we will travel another fifteen miles or so before we begin our climb up into the Mule Mountains. At the high point on Rte. 80, called the ‘divide’, we pass through the Mule Tunnel built in 1958. This view is from atop the divide above the tunnel.
As we continue down the mountain, we will pass old Bisbee on our left and then pass the Lavender Pit, a huge man made hole in the ground over a mile long, about a half mile wide, and in the neighborhood of 900 feet deep! This was the last of the copper mines in Bisbee. The view below is looking east towards the Lowell and Warren districts of Bisbee.
There is more of modern Bisbee further to the southeast and south (beyond the opposite end of Lavender Pit) that may be the subject of a future installment of this blog but I’m keeping this initial entry short and sweet so that I, hopefully, don’t scare you away.