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Home / Times Past / A Bisbee First: Birdman Fowler (access required)

A Bisbee First: Birdman Fowler (access required)

In November 1911, R.L. “Birdman” Fowler made a stop at the Bisbee Country Club on a cross-country air trip and became the first man to fly into the copper mining camp (Didier Masson, whose plane appears in this photo, was the first to fly out of Bisbee in February 1911, but his biplane was shipped into Bisbee by railroad.) Fowler had only been flying for three months, but already had broken records. On the Yuma to Maricopa leg of his trip, he flew continuously for four hours and 26 minutes, longer than any other aviator to that date.

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Residents of Bisbee pose for a picture with a wrestling bear in front of Brewery Saloon on the town’s notorious Brewery Gulch in 1897.

Brewery Gulch’s Wrestling Bear

In southeastern Arizona in the 1890s a rancher named James Parker caught a bear cub and took it home to raise as a pet. It didn’t work out too well. Parker’s daughter Elizabeth, later Elizabeth Brown, said that as the bear grew it became too troublesome to keep at the ranch and finally her father took the animal, now half-grown, to Bisbee. He gave it to saloon keeper Joseph Muheim.