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Author Archives: Tom Vaughan

Brewery Gulch’s Wrestling Bear

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.

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.

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The Siege of Naco

The remains of a Dodge touring car struck by a bomb in Naco, Ariz., in April 1929.

These are the remains of a Dodge touring car struck by a bomb in Naco, Ariz., in April 1929. The bombing took place during the last stages of the Cristero Revolution in Mexico, a religious and political revolt against the federal government, which had outlawed the Catholic Church.

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Amelia Earhart Touches Down in Arizona

Famous woman aviator Amelia Earhart sands in front of her biplane in McNeal, Ariz., on Sept. 12, 1928.

Famous woman aviator Amelia Earhart stands with a couple of spectators near her biplane – a French Avro-Avian – while the craft sits on a crude runway in the farming community of McNeal in the Sulfur Springs Valley just north of Douglas.

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Christmas in Bisbee, 1909

A holiday advertisement in the Bisbee Daily Review from Dec, 19, 1909.

This is an advertising page from the Bisbee Daily Review of Dec. 19, 1909. Led by the Fair Store and Copper Queen Mercantile, the December editions of the Review carried more and bigger Christmas ads than in previous years and were festooned with Christmas graphics – Santa Clauses, wreaths, Christmas trees and toys.

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Bisbee’s Post Office

The Post Office on Bisbee’s Main Street.

The Bisbee Post Office has been a meeting place on Main Street for more than 100 years. Through remodeling, demolition, reconstruction and floods, it has served as a de facto town square.

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Strike up the band

The Bisbee Boys Band at the YMCA in 1914.

When the Bisbee Boys Band was organized at the YMCA in 1914, the members had few instruments, no sheet music and little musical training. Their first task was to raise money to buy themselves instruments and music books. The band members all were older than 12 (and many closer in age to 18).

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Bisbee Pioneers at the Norton House

A group of Bisbee residents gathers in front of the Norton House for a commemorative photograph in 1906.

On May 21, 1906, this group of Bisbee residents gathered in front of the Norton House hotel on Main Street for a commemorative photograph. With the exception of the children, all the residents had arrived in Bisbee in the 1800s, and were friends and acquaintances of E.G. Norton, who owned the Norton House and was leaving Bisbee to retire in Maine.

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Traveling Photographers

Bisbee, 1885, looking south toward Sacramento Hill. At right are the Holbrook headframe (the covered building), the entrance to the Copper Queen mine and the smelter.

This photograph of Bisbee was taken by George Rothrock, one of many itinerant photographers who traveled the countryside in the 19th and early 20th century to record the lives of farmers, ranchers and settlers on the frontier. The photographers gave people the only chance they would have to secure a “likeness” and left a revealing record of life on the frontier.

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