There’s just something about you, Bisbee. You are unapologetically insane. You’re ramshackle, you’re rough around the edges, and if we’re not careful, you might just pitch us down your hillsides or into your mines. You remind us of the steeper, rougher parts of Paris. Paul thought that in most other cities, there would probably be a code against trying to build in the areas that you embrace. Almost every one of your streets is a dead end, and lots of your houses can only be accessed by steep, rickety staircases. You look like you might give us tetanus. But the nicest, weirdest people live in your houses and doorways and you embraced us and made us feel strangely at home.
I probably don’t need to tell you this, Bisbee, but you were founded in 1880 as a mining camp. You generously gave up all of your riches, producing nearly three million ounces of gold, eight billion pounds of copper, and all kinds of silver, lead, and zinc. By the early 1900s, you were rocking it as the place to be between St. Louis and San Fran.
But then in 1908, some fool fire burned down the majority of your downtown and you had to be rebuilt from scratch. I know that this was a hard time for you, so we won’t dwell on it for long. After you were rebuilt, by 1910, your residents knew they had a good thing going and they haven’t changed much in the last 100 years.
By the 1970s, your natural resources ran out and the miners moved on. All that was left was a sweet town with lots of cute little miner cottages. That’s when the “artistic free spirits” moved in and made you home. All that’s left now is a constant battle against gravity, erosion, deferred maintenance, patch-work construction, and neglect to keep you cool. And these two misfits think that you are pretty cool, indeed.
Thanks to the Bisbee Visitor Center for the facts!