Shattuck mine

Shattuck & Arizona mine



The Shattuck & Arizona Copper Company formed in March of 1904 and by August 1, 1904, they were sinking a two compartment shaft on the Iron Prince Claim. The original hoisting was done with a windlass, but preparations were being made for a regular hoist. By October 23 the shaft was already 110 ft. deep.
Typical of the time, the company’s goal was to seek out buried ores with the thought of a deeper depth was better. At depth, water was becoming problematic, and a pump was needed for the 700’ level. On June 6, drill holes penetrated a body of water that flooded the shaft at 250 gallons per minute. These holes were plugged, and a sinking pump was ordered. By September 10, 1905, the shaft was 825 ft. deep and a station was being cut on the 800’ level.  By this time, ore had been hit on the 500’ level and the 700’ level. Soon, native copper was found in altered limestone on the 800’ level, and an orebody of cuprite was discovered. In October, development had to be temporarily stopped due to a vast amount of water.


With the discovery of significant ore and the challenging location of the mine inside a steep canyon, it was decided that an aerial tramway would need to be constructed to haul down the ore and the timber up to the mine. At this time, it was also determined that the shaft needed to be enlarged to three compartments. Before a tramway could be constructed, ore was hauled to the railroad by wagon. The difficulty of this was first realized on December 5 when an ore wagon had its brake fail while loaded with 3,000 lbs of ore. As the wagon began to roll down the road, the faster the horses began to trot, then to gallop and finally were being pushed by the wagon.  Seeing a sharp curve, the driver jumped off, and the wagon and horses rolled over an embankment. Miraculously, one horse received a severe cut, but the driver and the other horses were perfectly fine.
During 1906, more orebodies were discovered, and the 800’ level was pumped out and drifting began on the 600, 700 and 800’ levels. In August, the 3,200 ft. aerial tramway was completed. It had 14 towers varying from 12 to 40 ft. tall and could handle five tram cars (buckets) at a time. The cars traveled at 387 ft. per minute. At the terminus were 1,000-ton ore bins for loading into rail cars. A new steel headframe was erected, and a hoist was borrowed from the Junction mine until the ordered hoist arrived at the mine.  On October 13 at 8:00 pm disaster struck when a fire broke out in the newly constructed two-story engineer’s office. The flames quickly engulfed the blacksmith’s shop. Fire Chief Henkel was severely injured, when a section of sheet metal fell and cut through his hat. The ore bins were ignited, but the miners were able to extinguish the flames. The shaft, hoist house, and oil tanks were saved. This fire although costly did not significantly affect mine production. Also, the company employed two doctors, Dr. D.E. Broderick, and Dr. Fred Williams. Thoughts of building a smelter in Douglas, Arizona were gathering momentum. The Shattuck & Arizona began to dream big.
The year, 1907 opened with an extravagant wedding in Spokane, Washington between Miss Rena Kuhn and Carl H. Wiegal. The bride was showered with presents of diamonds and sterling silver, but the ultimate gift given to the bride by her husband was 2,000 shares of Shattuck and Arizona stock valued at  $54.00 a share or $108,000. At the mine, the shaft was sunk to the 900’ level, and a station was cut. It became evident that the aerial tramway was not going to be able to handle enough ore, so it was enlarged to handle ten cars. A site for a smelter was surveyed and purchased in Douglas, Arizona, 1,500ft. from the Calumet & Arizona smelter. Importantly, the 800’ level was driven to connect to the 200’ level of the Cuprite Mine providing ventilation and a secondary escape way. Interestingly, an arrangement was made with the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company to allow the Shattuck miners to be lowered down the Czar Shaft and walk on the 200’ level to the Shattuck shaft through the Cuprite Mine. This agreement allowed the miners easier access and not have to climb the long hill to the mine. On August 28, the Shattuck-Denn Hospital opened. It was once the Bakerville Hotel and now had been converted into a hospital.  Soon the copper prices collapsed, and the company ceased all mining. The low prices demanded conservative spending, but the company actively developed new ore reserves. On November 20, after 12:00 am, James Nowlin a hoisting engineer noticed smoke coming up the Shattuck Shaft. He thought this was unusual and soon high billowing smoke and flames poured out the shaft. Two fire hoses were attached to a fire plug and lowered down the shaft. This method seemed to work as the smoke lessened. Men attempted to reach the fire from the 200’ level Cuprite but were driven back by smoke. Location of the fire was unknown. By November 23, the fire appeared to be out. The newly opened Shattuck-Denn Hospital was shut down on November 23, and it was going to be remodeled back as a hotel.
The slump in copper prices continued in 1908. Development of new ore underground was aggressive and in March a sulphide ore body was found in #2 crosscut on the 700’ level, and more ore was on the 600’ level. The company had decided to wait to mine the ore during times of reasonable copper prices, so the ore mined was the amount only essential for the completion of development work. On June 18, an El Paso newspaper printed a rumor that the Shattuck was going to be sold to the Copper Queen for 3 million dollars. This story was denied, but the rumors persisted. In December, the workforce increased to 60 men and for a time there were plans to begin mining from # 2 stope in #8 crosscut on the 700’ level and cuprite was determined to be the primary ore in #1 stope in # 9 crosscut also on the 700’ level.
But by April 1909, the Shattuck was still working on the development and another rumor was being spread around Bisbee that this time, the Shattuck was to be sold to the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company. Then again, it proved only to be a rumor. It was decided in May that it was not economical to build a smelter and even though bids had been received the project was discontinued. Ten Sullivan rock drills were on the site and being used for development. On December 27, 1909, a 500 lb boulder rolled through the Shattuck mine office and did not stop until it was half way thru the building. It stopped at a table, which held costly and delicate equipment (probably surveying instruments).  Mr. Vantress and Harry Miller, bookkeepers, were luckily in the backroom at the time. Numerous footprints were found, near where the boulder fell. This situation resulted in the belief the boulder was possibly intentionally rolled into the building and left the question who was the boulder intended to harm.


Description of a party and tour of the Shattuck Cave on May 12, 1914

Description of a party and tour of the Shattuck Cave on May 12, 1914
In 1910, the Shattuck & Arizona began looking towards the upper reaches of the mine. Stations were cut on the 400’ and 500’ levels. Production started to increase slowly and they were shipping 100-150 m tons a day in August. This work continued until June 9, 1911 when all mining was stopped, and only development work continued. In September production resumed and the newspaper reported a rumor that “high grading” was a problem. The company denied this, but precious metals were becoming an important commodity for the Shattuck. On October 22, 1911, another ore wagon accident occurred.  A wagon carrying 8,000 lbs ore from the Shattuck had its brakes fail and ran into an embankment.  The driver was struck in the head by the brake and one of the horses that was thrown against an exposed pipe and remained severely injured. Unfortunately, he could not survive and had to be shot. Also in October, the 600’ level was connected to the Powell Shaft.
During 1912, exploration continued in the upper sections of the mine.  A raise was driven from the 400’ level towards the final 300’ level. The mine was reactivated in September and In November, they were shipping ore. Lead ore was uncovered on the 300’ level in January 1913, a tunnel (upper tunnel) 500 feet southwest of the shaft was driven to explore the Shattuck fault. In April, a crosscut on the 300’ level intercepted the largest natural cave found in the local mines. It was well decorated with cave formations and for a few years became a favorite tourist site in Bisbee. Thousands of people came to visit this beautiful cavern. Initially, it was planned to close the cave to the public and in May 1913, the company began backfilling. However, it was known that visitors were occasionally taken to the cavern until 1915.
During 1914, a new shaft bell signal system was installed, and the mine produced until October when the mine shutdown. As 1915 approached so did the demise of the Shattuck Cave. The company wanted to donate part of the cave to the Smithsonian Institution, but instead specimens from the cave were given to the Michigan College of Mines in 1915.  Shattuck, mine superintendent, Arthur Houle’s, brother was a professor at this school.

Excitement was stirred up when a cave containing cuprodesclozite was discovered on the 600’ level. This vanadium oxide prompted the interest in the possibility of the mining for vanadium. Although, there was keen interest and an area 200 ft. long and 3 ft. wide was exposed, significant mining of vanadium never occurred. At this time, the new mineral species shattuckite was discovered on the 300’ level. During 1916, development occurred largely on the 100, 200 and 300’ levels. New orebodies were discovered. The 191 raise on the 300’ level holed through to the 200’ level and struck a lead-silver orebody. Now the 138 & 139 raises driven from the 200 intercepted ore as well as, # 3 crosscut on the 100’ level.   Soon, 18,500,000 lbs. of copper, over 4,000 ounces of gold, 260,000 ounces of silver and 16,000,000lbs of lead were produced at the Shattuck during 1916.

In 1917 lead-zinc sulphide ores were developed on the 200’ level and other ores were mined on the 400, 500 and 600’ levels. During August 1917, L.C. Shattuck’s sons, Warner A. Shattuck and Henry Shattuck were drafted into the U.S. Army. Rather than join the army, both were believed to have left for Mexico .They were listed as “deserters in time of war” and the newspapers made it clear that it was a death penalty offense. The public was incensed that these two sons of one of Arizona’s richest men had betrayed their country and even stated that they were considered lesser men than the I.W.W. strikers that were deported from Bisbee. Furthermore, a paper commented that L.C. Shattuck would be looked upon with suspicion after his sons action. The Shattuck & Arizona quickly worked to dispel these suspicious ideas and became a leader in supporting the War effort. The company had a 100% participation in a war bond drive among employees, and the company purchased $500,000 in bonds during the second bond drive.  In October, construction of a lead-zinc mill was started near the Denn Mine.
Further troubles occurred when Peter Nabonivach excited El Paso authorities, in July of 1918. This Shattuck miner and native of Austria tried to travel into Mexico by street car. He was arrested, and authorities questioned him about his interest in Mexico. Nabinovach proclaimed his innocence by stating he did not realize the car went into “Old” Mexico rather than nearby New Mexico. The Austrian also declared he had worked for the Red Cross and had purchased $100.00 in Liberty bonds. On October 22, 1918, Frank S. McErlane, alias Walter Scott and wanted for the murder of two police officers, jail breaking, and bank robbery was arrested at the Shattuck Mine just after he had changed his clothes to go underground. He was part of an Illinois automobile bank robbing gang that included Earl Dear, Lloyd Bopp and “Big Joe” Moran.

1919 began as a challenging year. On February 22 a fire broke out in a sulphide stope between the 700 and 800’ levels and helmet crews were sent down to install bulkheads. Eventually, 25 million gallons of water was pumped into the mine to extinguish the fire. The fire was put out when the water reached 8 ft. below the 700’ level. Dewatering began in September, as the 100’ level was being developed. The mine was producing 9,000 tons a month by the end of the year.  In June 1919, the lead-zinc mill had its first test run.
The shaft was deepened from 900 ft to the 1136 ft. in 1920 and a new level was developed at the 1100’ level. Around 70 gallons of water per minute flowed from this level. Like many other mines, a sports team was formed. The Shattuck Mine team became a successful soccer team. On January 1, 1921, the mine was shutdown, and only development work continued. Some ore was discovered on the 600’ level, but in July the pumps were pulled, and the lower levels were allowed to flood.  During 1924, a significant copper-silver orebody was struck on the 100’ level under the lower adit. The Shattuck continued to operate off and on until 1925 when the mine was leased. Also during 1925, the Shattuck & Arizona Mining Company merged with the Denn & Arizona Mining Company and became the Shattuck Denn Mining Company. A miner was arrested at the Shattuck mine for “high grading”  as he was taking from the mine, pieces of altered limestone that were “thickly peppered” with gold. At the time, it was felt a dynamite box full would have been worth hundreds of dollars. In 1929, the Shattuck produced 125,000 lbs of copper.  From 1942-1945, the mine was leased by James Maffeo and produced an average of 400 tons a month. Lessees continued to operate the mine until 1947 when operations ceased.
In 1952, children started a fire and the mine site burned all buildings and the aerial tramway leaving only the steel headframe.
Phelps Dodge Corporation then purchased the Shattuck Mine in 1973. With the ending of mining in Bisbee, Phelps Dodge became interested in the possibility of opening the Shattuck for precious metals and to explore the sulphides in the Abrigo Limestone on the 1100’ level. The original headframe from the Spray Mine was removed from the Calumet & Cochise Shaft and erected over the Shattuck Shaft. The main house was removed from the Denn Shaft and installed.  A hoist house and a storage and shop building were erected . The shaft was reopened relatively easy to 800 ft. below the surface, where the shaft was filled. It appeared that leasers may have dumped rock into the shaft. Eventually the shaft was reopened to 30 ft below the 800’ level. Water was struck at 780 ft. and initially the water was pumped along the 700’ level to a point where it was hoped the water would drain into the Uncle Sam Mine. This unfortunately failed, probably due to caved ground and water and was then pumped to the surface.  Shaft stations were cleared and repaired to the 700’ level. Most of the development work occurred on the 200 & 300’ levels. Low copper prices and a need to conserve money resulted in the project being shutdown on August 27, 1975, before the lower section of the shaft had been cleared.
In 1982 and 1983 an attempt to mine gold was initiated.  The work was confined to the 200 and 300’ levels near the Shattuck cave. The small scale mining operation hoisted mine cars full of ore instead of using skips, producing little ore. This mining venture ceased after only a few months.


Lower Shattuck  adit

Up until the early 2000’s the lower adit was largely accessible ,and was refurbished to be used for mine rescue training. The upper adit was filled, and its exact location could not be determined. The shaft itself had only recently been closed and the steel manway was in decent condition, although beginning to rust heavily. The subway portal was caved, but was accessible from the shaft.  On the 100’ level several hundred feet of crosscut were open, but the stoped areas were largely inaccessible. A Copper Queen cast iron candle sconce was found resting on top of a  gobb wall. This indicates that they were possibly adopted by the Shattuck and Arizona Mining Company.  The 200 was similar to the 100’ level where most of the stoped areas were caved, but a stope that was being  mined in 1975 was open and still had a slusher in place. Powder and cap magazines from the 1970s were empty but intact. Even a spitter can was still in place.  In the #174 prospect the type locality of the mineral, shattuckite was found and exposed.  The Shattuck Cave was accessible by climbing down a slope of backfill where the 300’ level could easily be reached. Cave formations protruded from the backfill and the upper part of the cave had partially collapsed and daylighted to the surface.  On the 300’ level, hundreds of feet of crosscut were open. The area near the shaft station was blackened by soot from a fire on all the levels. A badly rusted and partially melted blue & white enamel stonehouse bell signal chart was leaned up against the wall of a crosscut not far from the shaft. The station was similar to the rest of the upper levels and was in excellent condition with fire blackened and grey walls only broken by a bright shining golden call bell, which seemed out of place in the darkness (this was on the 100 to 700’levels). The Shattuck was one of the few mines that used a new type of bell signal chart that were large metal-like stickers. These were black and silver and had Phelps Dodge Corporation Copper Queen Branch indicated at the bottom. The 400’ level was heavily coated in fire soot and no more than 200 ft could be walked in from this heavily caved level. Similar to the level above, little ground was open on the 500’ level, but parts of a small cave could be found, as well as, a single stope could be reached. On the 600’ level hundreds of feet of crosscut were open. At the back end of the station were the burned remains of a mine car and an intact toilet car. The wooden step on the toilet car had been converted to charcoal from the intensely hot and low oxygen environment from the fire.  A number of paper Apache Powder boxes were found on this level dating as late as August 4, 1947. One cave was accessible, and an area of interesting specimens of hematite could be seen. A few areas of massive azurite with chryscolla could be found in the ribs of the crosscuts. Below the 600’ level, water was raining into the shaft. The 700’ level was partially open from the station and little of interest was found in this sulphide rich area. Interestingly, an original bronze mechanical call bell was lying on the station mounted to a plate of steel. The manway continued to the 800’ level, but water had flooded the station completely leaving only the arch of the back of the station exposed.  Without a doubt, a few hundred feet from the station the level would be above water. At about 135 ft below the shaft collar was a boarded up natural opening in the side of the shaft. This was probably a small natural cave struck by the shaft. It was inaccessible and timbered off

Looking down on the Shattuck mine

Timber trucks, H - cars, slusher  rake and cage left over the from the  1980's development

© 2013 by Doug Graeme