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Times Past

First Bisbee Graduates (access required)

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These young women attended Central School, which served all of the students in Bisbee, from grammar to high school. They graduated on June 2, 1906. Commencement ceremonies were held at the opera house; the commencement speaker was University of Arizona President Charles Kendrick Babcock, who only a month before had sent a letter to Bisbee Superintendent of Schools Charles Philbrook accrediting a separate high school for Bisbee students.

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Charlie Brown’s Saloon (access required)

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Built by Charles O. Brown (the taller man at left in the photo), a gambler said to have been a crack shot who carried several notches on his gun, the Congress Hall Saloon was the unlikely spot where the first Territorial Legislature in Tucson convened. The Capitol building, a series of adobe rooms with dirt floors and mud roofs, was spurned by lawmakers, who preferred to caucus at San Agustin Cathedral and hold informal meetings in the back room of Brown’s establishment.

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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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