After The Boom In Tombstone And Jerome, Arizona
Decline In Western Resource Towns
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Nevada Press
List of Illustrations
While hiking the long trail that ends at a book, one becomes beholden to many people. First among these, in my case, is my wife, Barbara. She has lived with this project for a decade and earned most of the money that sustained it. My interest in the mining history of the American West goes back twenty years; hers goes back four...
Gunfire crackled in the hills above Tombstone, Arizona, in the early morning darkness of 9 August 1884. The gun battle involved perhaps fifty men behind a woodpile, shooting at seven men holed up in a building. But this was not a fight between lawmen and desperadoes, the sort of thing from which modern Tombstone claims its fame and...
1. Future Growth and Prosperity Is Assured
Nineteenth-century mining camps are famous for being located in forbidding places. The Tombstone District was certainly one of them. John Gray, who as a young man made the stage trip from the railhead a few miles east of Tucson to Tombstone in June 1880, wrote many years later...
2. Apartments or Houses Are Impossible to Obtain
Residents of Tombstone could find some solace in the belief that even if its mines gave out, the town could survive as a ranching and border supply center and county seat. People who lived in the great copper mining town of Jerome could find no such comfort in their situation. Dug in high on the side of Cleopatra Hill at the foot of Mingus...
3. This Ill-Omened City
Tombstone’s problem at first appeared to be its salvation. When miners struck water at 520 feet in the Sulphuret Mine at the end of March 1881, the Tombstone Epitaph rejoiced, “Here’s Richness.” Tombstone’s groundwater could be pumped to the surface and used in local stamp mills, which would end having to haul ore nine miles to the San Pedro...
4. Employment by Mines Practically Nil
The stock market’s plunge in October 1929 initially affected few residents of the Verde District. United Verde general manager Robert E. Tally apparently lost a not-so-small fortune, but to most residents the crash did not seem that important at first. As late as mid-February 1930, Tally assured the Verde Copper News that although United Verde...
5. The Drawbacks Incident to Mining
In his 1883 report to Tombstone Mill and Mining Company stockholders, company president George Burnham wrote that “in no year in the history of our Company has the management been required to deal with so many of the drawbacks incident to mining for the precious metals.” Whether beset by a flood of subterranean water or a...
6. Owing to the Dullness of Trade
Ten days after Tombstone’s mines shut down, the town’s economy had a heart attack. George Parsons slept in on 10 May 1884 because he had stood guard duty into the early morning hours. Upon going uptown later that morning he discovered “intense excitement.” The Hudson and Company Bank had suspended operations, and its cashier, his...
7. Two Chinese, an Irishman, a Frenchman, and a Negro
Like any other mining town, Jerome was a place where cultures, as well as individuals, could collide. Y. C. Shen, a photographer by trade, had a dispute over some property with another businessman, jeweler Enrique Guerrero, at the beginning of 1934. But rather than resort to the American justice system, Shen turned to a tactic more traditional...
8. The Painful Necessity of Closing the Church
Just before midnight on the evening of 11 May 1890 Tombstone’s police chief, Dick Gage, entered McDonough and Noble’s saloon and pool hall on Allen Street, walked to the back of the building, drew his pistol, and blew his own brains out. “The causes that led to this rash act are several,” the Tombstone Prospector informed its readers the next...
9. As Tombstone Has Empty Houses to Burn
One of the more spectacular vistas in Arizona may be observed when standing next to the former New State Garage on Main Street in Jerome, looking northeast. To the left, in the far distance north of Flagstaff, the San Francisco Peaks jut over the horizon about fifty miles away. In the middle distance to the right lies the red rock country of...
10. Due Economy in Town Administration
Dr. F. W. Boville, a member of the Prescott School Board, had made a simple suggestion, and now he found himself besieged. Boville had proposed a ten-dollar increase in the county school tax levy, but in the depths of the Great Depression in July 1932, he found his plan assailed as a “bunch of foolishness.” That critique came at a meeting held in...
11. Our Last Dollar on a Sure Thing
By the beginning of the 1950s even Jerome’s most optimistic resident could see that the end was near. The district’s mines had limped along for twenty years, gradually curtailing their activities, but soon the United Verde Mine, the last of the district’s great products, would suspend operations. Then what? Some of those who remained wanted...
12. But a Monument to the Glories of the Past?
One hundred and twenty years have passed since Tombstone first started to decline, and more than sixty since bust descended upon Jerome. Both communities faced lean times—even extinction—but both have survived. Although neither has regained its former significance in either population, affluence, or influence, both have...
Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 45 b/w photos, 4 maps, 12 tables
Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities
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