|We Finally Toured the Queen Mine, a Historic Copper Mine|
|View of Historic Bisbee, AZ from the Queen Mine RV Park|
We always stay at the Queen Mine RV Park, set on top of a hill above the old copper quarry, overlooking historic Bisbee. The entrance to the RV park is just past the Queen Mine Tours Visitors Center. Every time we pass the Visitors Center I say we should check out the tour. This year we decided to do it.
The tour into the now closed copper mine was well worth the $13.00 price of admission. After we were each outfitted in a reflective vest, hard hat, and mine light, we climbed aboard the mine train.
|We Were Outfitted and Ready on the Mine Train|
Our tour guide, Pete, explained the safety rules and that once the train was inside the mine shaft, he would stop the train and make sure each of us was okay with being underground. The narrow tunnel is not a good place to be for a person who is claustrophobic.
|Entering the Narrow Queen Copper Mine by Train|
Pete then climbed onto the orange battery-powered train engine, rang the train’s bell, and we moved forward toward the mine entrance. When the train was entirely inside the tunnel, the doors to the outside mine slammed closed and Pete stopped the train. He walked along each train-car, checking that all passengers were okay with being underground. Then he climbed back on the engine and we proceeded deeper into the earth.
|Pete Climbed Back on the Engine After Checking All Passengers|
|Pete, a Retired Copper Miner, Told Stories of Pranks They Played|
He told how in the early years, they trained mules to haul the ore out of the mine, and how hard the young guys worked to exceed their weekly quotas of ore in order to receive bonuses.
|Mules Hauled Four Cars at a Time, Loaded with Oar|
He explained that the focus was to extract the high percentage of copper, with silver and gold as byproducts.
|Stunning Azurite, One of Two Copper Carbonate Minerals in Nature|
|Queen Mine's Safety Scoreboard|
History of the Mine from Bisbee’s Website:
Bisbee’s Queen Mine was one of the richest copper mines in history. The mine opened in 1877 and eventually closed when Phelps Dodge discontinued mining operations in Bisbee in the mid-1970’s. The Queen Mine opened once again as a tour for visitors in 1976, nearly 100 years after the mine originally opened.
|Terry L Turrell, Author|
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