Bisbee Mineral Show


Bisbee Mineral Show

Bisbee is a small mining town on the Arizona/Mexico border. It is about 85 miles from Tucson and a scenic drive. Every year about the first weekend in October the local mineral and lapidary club holds a Bisbee mineral show in the old downtown area.

Note: They have also held the show at lodge just outside of the city too, I have a couple of pictures from last year when the show was at the lodge below.

bisbee mineral show Old town Bisbee

Old town Bisbee

Top left – A bed and breakfast at to top of the canyon as you go into town. Top right and left – part of the old town lower into the canyon.

Old Bisbee is in a canyon and the main road twists and turns as it goes down the canyon.

Note: There is a lot of modern Bisbee located out of the canyon and towards the border. The town is actually a lot larger than you would think if you get out of the canyon/old town, back around the mountains towards the Mexico border.

Bisbee mining musemBisbee old downtown

Mineral dealers in parking lot

Top left – This is the parking lot and outside mineral show tables. Across the street is the Bisbee mining museum, which is really worth looking through. Top right and left – part of the old town and more of the dealer tables at the base of the canyon road.

Going to this show is a nice day trip from Tucson and the weather is almost always very nice at this time of year. The mineral show is on the small side and there is not a lot of dealers. Quite a few locals are usually selling from their “collections” and when the Copper Queen Mine was being worked years ago it was really worth a trip to acquire some of the very unique minerals and cabbing materials that were coming out of the mine.

Hotel where the mineral show is held old downtown

Left – Is the hotel in old downtown Bisbee that the mineral show is held in. It is located right next to the parking lot where the outside dealers are located.

Note: This year there was no entrance fee to get into the show… Of course this is a very small show, and really only worth going if you want to just enjoy the trip and old Bisbee.

The majority of the inside dealers were located in the basement of the hotel. The lobby has some gift shops and the mineral show’s information desk.

inside show inside show

Bisbee Copper Queen Pit

This is the Copper Queen Hotel (green awnings)… This is a very historic hotel and really worth a visit if you get the chance. There is a restaurant inside of it and they serve a decent meal.

Also there are quite a few other bars and restaurants located in old downtown Bisbee. So you will not have any trouble getting a good lunch or dinner.

A lot of people stay at a local hotel or bed and breakfast on the weekends in Bisbee. Tourism is actually becoming one of the main sources of income, and there is all types of shops, art galleries and gift shops to wander through if you are interested.

Bisbee Copper Queen Pit

A trip to Bisbee is a good one and worth doing for the chance to see some of the interesting and historical sites in and around Bisbee.

Left is the Pit – It was/is actually one of the largest open pit mines in the world at one time (it might still be). The scale of the pit is truly huge and these pictures do not really do it justice. You need to see it to get a true idea of the scale It is just huge.

They do have scheduled tours of the mining area and under ground in the mine tunnels too. The tours are really worth a try if you have never seen a mine.

Also they will sometimes open the “mine dump” or slag heaps for collectors to find their own specimens on occasion. They also schedule local mineral clubs to get access to the mine dumps occasionally. These are areas where the earth that was excavated from the mine was hauled and deposited/dumped during the mining process.

Road leading int the pit

Depending on which “mine dump”, the time of year (if it has recently rained it is a good time to look because the rain washes things out and makes them easier to see and find) and how lucky you are. Some truly unique and often valuable mineral specimens can be found.

This picture is taken just to the left of the one above, same area/pit. Notice the road leading into the pit and the terraces in the background. That is some of the earth that has been “moved”. Pretty impressive isn’t it? This pit is miles across and deep, I do not know the exact measurements but, it is really very large. It is a long ways down into the pit.

Road leading int the pit

This picture is taken on the back side of the canyon towards Mexico. I am not sure what the mining complex in the picture was for. It is abandoned now. As you can see it is large.

You drive past this spot to get to the lodge where the mineral show was held last year. It is down towards the border a little ways.

If you hiked straight over the mountain it is resting against you would be looking down into the pit pictured above.

Bisbee mineral show last year at the lodge

Last year and the year before the Bisbee mineral show was held at a local lodge, not downtown. Here are a few pictures from those shows. This year they moved the show back into town where is always used to be. It is a lot nicer in town in my opinion.

Lodge

Outside dealers Inside lodge dealers

About the author
Jeff R. Graham
The late Jeff Graham was a prolific faceter, creator of many original faceting designs, and the author of several highly-regarded instructional faceting books such as Gram Faceting Designs.
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