Companies contributed to the community

The mining companies contributed to the community

Good miners were never common – never, and they knew it, which bred in some a deep sense of independence and wanderlust. Oft times a good miner would flow with the seasons, south to Arizona in the winter and north to Montana or the mountains of Colorado in the summer.  These fiercely independent souls, often called “tramp miners,” were both the boon and bane of the mining companies.  Their skills were desperately needed, but their free spirit and independent nature often caused them to quit over a minor matter, leaving the mine shorthanded. A stable, ideally married, workforce was highly desirable to the long-lived mines at Bisbee and much was done to make it a desirable place to live and work.  Much of what was built by the mining companies, beginning more than 130 years ago has now become known as “sustainable development.” These companies were well of their time.

The Copper Queen brought education to the forefront with the construction and support of a school as well as a first-class library for all to use. Soon thereafter, quality medical service was established in Bisbee by the Copper Queen, a true rarity in this remote frontier. Potable water, public transportation, quality food and fairly priced merchandise were included; even the problem of handling domestic sewage was undertaken.  

All the needs of the miners and the community as a whole were considered and, because of the absolute lack of any form of government to assume its normal role, the mining companies filled this void, often at great expense.  Good, content employees were worth the investment. To be sure, these many improvements can be seen as paternalistic or self-serving, if not both however, few western mining camps had such truly concerned and committed mine managers and owners.  Bisbee stood out as an exceptionally good place to work

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© 2013 by Doug Graeme