Discovery to 1900
It took several years and the investment of substantial sums of money by bold men before the remote Copper Queen Mine became an economically viable operation. Still, difficult times ahead were to test the faith of the investors and the management skills of those in charge. High-grade ore alone was not enough to secure success, as copper is a commodity, dependent on the often-fickle World Market conditions. In the face of low copper prices, Phelps Dodge & Co. made additional and quite substantial investments in the Copper Queen Consolidated Copper Company, which made the mines successful beyond belief and influenced the future of the Arizona Territory.
The completion of the transcontinental railways across southern Arizona in 1880 aided greatly in making Arizona’s copper mines successful, but none were truly close and transportation costs were high. Thus, the Copper Queen built the Arizona and Southeaster Railway to improve costs and provide an easy connection to Bisbee to and the rest of the world.
Arizona was growing on other fronts as well. Now free of the threat of hostile Apaches, farms, ranches and numerous mines dotted the Territory. With the new-found economic strength of its many farms and rich mines, the Arizona Territory began the long and difficult path to statehood. The Copper Queen was always there to help, most notable at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, showing the richness of Arizona’s mines. Soon others would come; seeking to share in this abundant mineral wealth. More than a few came looking at Bisbee.
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