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Gilmore and Salisbury’s ‘custom’ smelter (access required)

Benson was established in June 1880 by the Southern Pacific and became an important maintenance center for the railroad and the shipping point for the Bisbee and Tombstone mines, neither of which was served by rail. The town was less than three months old when, according to the Tucson Citizen, “the first shipment of copper bullion from Bisbee (arrived) in Benson, where it (was) shipped to San Francisco.” It was transported to Benson by mule-drawn wagons, weighing 43,003 pounds.

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Flagstaff’s Chapel Car (access required)

Rev. Peter Vanderhoof and his wife in founded Glad Tidings Baptist Church in 1926 in a Pullman rail car. The car, which was divided into a living space and a sanctuary, included an organ, a pulpit and a few benches. The makeshift church referred to as “The Chapel Car” allowed the Vanderhoofs to preach in the remote areas of northern Arizona.

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Surviving the frozen Colorado, 1931 (access required)

Eighty years ago this month, two intrepid would-be entrepreneurs spent a harrowing 12 days traveling upstream on the ice-choked Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Rainbow Bridge, battling frigid waters and the elements in a wooden boat they had found while testing their own steel boat.

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Arizona’s Snow Bowl (access required)

Skiing was introduced to Flagstaff in 1915, probably by a pair of Norwegian immigrants, brothers Ole and Pete Solberg. The Solbergs made skis and started downhill runs on Observatory Hill where the Lowell Observatory was located, very nearly in the center of town.

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A Territorial Christmas (access required)

Christmas time in the 1860s in the Arizona Territory was similar to Christmas in the state of Arizona in 2010. People had feasts, decorated large Christmas trees, children ate candy and townspeople spread cheer by caroling.

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The ‘Convento’ (access required)

South of Congress Street on the west side of the Santa Cruz River near downtown Tucson was a Pima Indian village. This site, at the base of Sentinel Peak — today it is called ‘A’ Mountain — is known to have been inhabited since at least 1000 B.C. Located by a once-flowing spring that emptied into the Santa Cruz, American Indians called the village Stjukson (spelling of the word varies widely; the Spanish transliterated it to Tucson).

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Tent City Hero (access required)

Sporting a pitch helmet, linen suit and big white mutton-chop sideburns, Oliver E. Comstock pedaled his bicycle along Tucson’s dusty roads with a soup kettle hanging from the handlebars. He will never be as famous as Wyatt Earp, but he was a real hero to the residents of southern Arizona’s Tent City.

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The Oasis at a Cultural Crossroads (access required)

For almost two centuries, Spanish missionaries, mountain men, ’49ers, Civil War soldiers and American settlers benefitted from — and often depended on — the plentiful crops and hospitality of the Pima and Maricopa people.

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The questionable Battle of Carrizal (access required)

In 1916, Capt. Charles T. Boyd, Lt. Henry Adair and Capt. Lewis S. Morey, on direct orders from Gen. John “Blackjack” Pershing himself, led their regiments across large swaths of desert to check on a possible buildup of Mexican troops around the small northern Mexican town of Villa Ahumada.

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