Globe, Arizona is known as one of the oldest mining towns in all of Arizona and the southwest. Mining is still one of the largest employers in the Globe-Miami area as the surrounding areas still operate open-pit copper mines.
The area surrounding the Miami-Globe Mining District includes mines like the Ray Open Pit Mine, about an hour from Globe, holds some of the largest copper reserves in the entire United States of America.
One of the richest mines in the area was the Inspiration-Miami Mines which began as an underground copper operation. It eventually transitioned to an open-pit mine as the ore values ran too low to make a profit on mining the underground. The Inspiration Mine produced some amazing, high-grade chrysocolla ore and chalcocite.
The Inspiration Mining Company made a large, $20 million investment into a mill, smelter, production, and rail line into the area. It would create an incredible return on their investment as it would yield high-grade copper ore that they milled using a flotation-concentration process.
Some say that the Globe area was originally milled for silver, with some even believing that the name "Globe" came from the shape of an early piece of silver. Due to the presence of Native American Indians in the area at the time, mining would be but on the backburner in the area until the mid-1870s.
The City of Globe was established in 1876 where around 700 citizens lived in the area, a large majority of which was involved in mining.
Bob Metcalf who along with his brother founded the Metcalf Mine, later to become Morenci, was one of the early miners.
The largest discovery of silver in the area was the Silver King Mine, which actually was closer to Superior than it was to Globe. The growth and operation of The Silver King's findings led to the entire area being prospected for more.
There were small silver outcroppings found in the Globe area but certainly, nothing of long-lasting significance. The Globe silver interests were pretty much gone by the late 1880s. From early on prospectors knew of the copper minerals in the area but thought of them as a less significant value. That of course until the silver began to fade out.
Once the country began to implement telegraph, telephone, and electric lines the demand for copper rapidly grew and Arizona copper districts, including Globe, flourished.
The Old Dominion Mine
One of the most well-known mines in the Town of Globe was unquestionably, The Old Dominion Mine. The town and its fortunes were inseparably connected. When the copper production would rise, so would the town.
By the late 1870s, many small mines in Globe were able to pull copper ore. By the year 1880, the Old Dominion Copper Company was created. The next 10 years would be a time of great prosperity in the area as anywhere from 10-12% copper ore was being roasted in furnaces installed in Globe and Miami.
Early photos from the 1880s until the 1930s show numerous smelter stacks, some of which can still be seen from Highway 60. Not only did the mills and smelters process ore from the major mines but also handled smaller contracts.
Then the 1890s happened. This was not the best of decades for the mining communities of Globe and Miami. A flood would enter the town in 1891 which destroyed many of the homes and businesses in the area. Just as the residents began to recuperate from the initial flood, the Pinal Creek would flood in 1893 doing just as much damage as the first. On top of it all, the financial panic of 1893 would cause great difficulties for the town and mines, forcing Old Dominion to shut down until the prices of copper would rise again.
In 1899, water seepage in the mine began to be a problem and pumps were required to be installed. By now the mine had been sold and reorganized more than once. Improvements to get back to production were going on in a big way but the water issues and associated costs were still forced to be dealt with.
The last few years of the 1800s almost seemed to have it out for the Globe area, but by the early 1900s the Old Dominion Mining Company had some of the finest and newest copper mining facilities in the entire United States. The Mining Company had integrated a new aerial tram to carry ore from small mines to a smelter outside of Globe. Six new smelters were built and the Old Dominion was cranking up new production totals and profits. There were many times during the early 1900s that trains were hauling out up to 2 million pounds of copper each month.
Globe, Arizona may have never seen a better time. Although the mines were reaching all-time heights there were still several problems that would occur. The Town of Globe would experience more floods, fires, and a number of accidents underground. At one point in the year 1917, a strike ensued. Miners, business owners, and residents of the town had become so angry that it took four companies of Federal troops to camp in the area and remain in close proximity to Globe.
Eventually, a settlement was negotiated and by 1919 the Old Dominion Company had around 1500 on the payroll. Through that time, mine repairs were neglected and water damage and decreasing copper values caused a slow decline in profits that resulted in reduced employment. Early on the Old Dominon Mining and Smelting Company had taken out a loan to Phelps Dodge but were no longer able to pay the loan as finaicial hardships would overtake the company. This would force the Old Dominion Mining Company to shut down. This time for good.
Even though the Mining Company was not able to close on possibly its own terms the impact it had on the community will never be forgotten. Throughout the decades of mining, it produced 800 million pounds of copper and produced revenues of $134 million. Several of the mining buildings and equipment were sold off to other plants throughout the US.
The Town of Globe Today
Just a short, gorgeous, 90-minute drive east of the Phoenix valley the Town of Globe still thrives today. The town is situated on the Pinal Creek just a stone's throw from the Pinal Mountains. Many visitors to the area from Metro Phoenix gawk at the beautiful scenery from Superior through to Globe-Miami.
Along with it's current mining economic force, tourism has grown greatly in the area. Many come to see many of the historical buildings from the old Wild West. Many like the 1906 courthouse still remain strong. The current property of the Old Dominion Mining Company is now used as a public park great for hiking and viewing some of the mining histories that happened there so many years ago.
It is a perfect spot to visit for a day full of authentic Mexican cuisine, great outdoor adventures, incredible history, and fun antique and boutique shopping.
For more information about the Globe area and things to do there visit www.discovergilacounty.com/globe