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The Lake Superior & Pittsburg #3 Shaft


L.S. &P. #3 shaft / Superior & Pittsburg #3 shaft / S& P #3 Shaft / South Bisbee #3 Shaft / S&B #3 Shaft

/ No. 3 Shaft / Cole # 3 Shaft

Simple wooden headframe on the L.S. &P. 3 circa 1903

Simple wooden headframe on the L.S. &P. 3 circa 1903

Map of the the L.S. &P. 3 circa 1902

Early map of the L.S. & P. # 3 circa 1902 (Ransome)

The South Bisbee Mining and Townsite Company gave a contract to Maurice Denn and Peter Johnson to develop a 600ft shaft on the Uncle Sam on May 31, 1900. Although, this claim had interesting surface out croppings it was largely undeveloped at the time. During the course of the next three years the shaft was sunk to the depth of 800ft. and small amounts of ore were mined. Three levels were advanced, the 100, 130 and 600. In 1902 the property was purchased by the newly formed Lake Superior & Pittsburg Development Company. At this time the shaft was renamed as the Lake Superior & Pittsburg #3 shaft .This development company was short lived and became the Lake Superior and Pittsburg Mining Company in 1904. At this time the shaft was deepened to the 1000 level. The new company was more interested in improving the nearby Cole shaft. During the year a 2,300ft drift was drilled between the two mines to make a connection on the 1000 level for ventilation. It was decided to enlarge the Cole shaft to four compartments and it became necessary to handle all men and materials for the Cole shaft through the L.S.P. #3 shaft. . To accomplish this hoist was removed from the Cole and installed at the L.S. &P. #3 On October 8, 1904 mules arrived at the mine to haul cars from the Cole to the L.S. &P. #3 shaft.  The haulage distance was too great for hand pushing of cars to be effective. Also, the #1 winze on the 1000 level was modified to serve as a temporary interior shaft by lowering cars and supplies with a small hoist.  Work continued in1905 supporting the overhaul of the Cole Shaft and facilities.  In 1905 local rumors stated that Congdon ore was being mined through #3 shaft. These stories were proven un founded as the L.S. &P.  stopes were a mile away from Congdon workings. In 1906 the Lake Superior and Pittsburg Mining Company merged with the Calumet & Pittsburg Mining Company and the Junction Development Company and became the Superior and Pittsburg Copper Company. After the completion of the work at the Cole shaft, the use of the L.S.&P.#3 shaft declined and little or no work occurred during 1906- 1919 . During the period on inactivity the property became part of the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company.  Excited by developments in Boras and Nighthawk mines, on April 15th 1920 the L.S. &P. #3 shaft was reactivated for development on the 500 and 600 levels. A hoist was moved over from the Hoatson mine and a new wooden headframe was built. 1,368 ft. of drifting was done during the first year along with shaft stations being cut. The following year exploration continued with 4,411ft of drifting on 500, 600 & 750 levels and mining small amounts of lead-silver ore. During 1923, 4,531ft of drifting was completed on the 600,700, 850 and 1000 levels with 60 tons of ore shipped. Development work was stopped on the 600 level in 1924, but continued on 700,850, 1000 levels with 5,200ft. of drifting and 746 tons shipped. 1925 was the last year the L.S. &P. #3 was operated with a small amount of drifting of raising. In March 14 1925 all equipment underground and surface removed except on 1000 which connected to Cole. This last period of mining was not without incident. On November 22, 1921 the hoisting cable broke and the cage fell to the bottom of the shaft. No one was injured, but the shaft was inoperable for a number of days.  Late at night on May 17, 1922 George Stalley was killed while riding a cage with drill steels. The drill steels became caught on the walls of the shaft and knocked him out of the cage. He was crushed between the cage and the shaft timber. This specific type of accident was becoming rare in the district. Nearly a decade, before it occurred a safety regulation was emplaced to prevent men from riding in cages with any equipment, timber or mine cars.

During the remaining years of mining in Bisbee the mine was allowed to ventilate but it was not used specifically as a ventilation shaft. Later the South Bisbee dump of the Lavender Pit avoided covering the shaft to allow for air flow although, it came reasonable close. The shaft was downcast and its neighboring shaft the Boras was an important upcast ventilation shaft. Parts of the L.S. &P. #3 mine workings were accessible through the Cole shaft during the 1960s and 70s.

 In the early 1990s the L.S.P. # 3 shaft was open but raw and the headframe lay collapsed near the shaft.  Later in the decade, the mine dumps were partially removed and the shaft may have filled in*. This was due to work on the South Bisbee dump. During mining operations, this end of the South Bisbee dump was used as a garbage dump and was covered with dump truck tires, oil filters and other trash from the open pit operations. In the later part of the 1990s this trash which had largely gathered at the base of the dump was covered with broken rock. Since this time the mine was consumed by the reclamation of the Lavender Pit’s South Bisbee dump and the shaft was filled (if it had not previously) and the dumps leveled


*Note that filled shafts are often only temporarily filled in.  The timber in abandoned shafts often falls down the shaft and creates a matt of timber in the shaft. When the shaft is filled the broken rock simply lands on the matted timber leaving the shaft below open. After a number of years this matted timber rots out and the broken rock falls filling the lower part of the shaft and reopening the upper part. In Bisbee, this has occurred at the Czar, Uncle Sam and the Southwest # 3 shafts

Diagram of the map of the Lake Superior & Pittsburgh #3 Shaft Bisbee Arizona
Drawing of the the L.S. &P. 3 Bisbee Arizona

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