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Thread: Several Mines in Southern Arizona--Then and Now

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    Default Several Mines in Southern Arizona--Then and Now

    I recently came across an online collection of USGS photographs that were taken in 1909 in the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains of Arizona. Those photos were later used in a USGS bulletin published in 1915 detailing the mineral resources of those mountain ranges. The interesting photos in the group were of several mines visited during the field research. I had to go see what was going on at the old sites today. I went to these mines: Alto Mine, World’s Fair Mine, Sweet Mine, Helvetia Mine Camp, Copper World Mine, Isle Royal Mine, and Total Wreck Mine. I went near the Salero Mine, but it is heavily posted against unauthorized entry! I still have several other sites to see as time permits.
    The first set of photos are the “then”(1909) and “now”(2012) of the Sweet Mine. This old mine is located west out of Temporal Gulch at the southern end of the Santa Ritas. It is a few miles north of the town of Patagonia. This mine was operated in conjunction with the nearby Black Cap Mine and they were known as the Mansfeld Group and together produced copper, lead and silver ore. The Sweet Mine was accessed by a 360’ vertical shaft which is still open today. Also installed at the mine was a 30 ton matte smelter. Today, not much exists at the mine except for the dumps, the mine shaft with its concrete collar and a few other concrete foundations. Using the early photo, it was possible to associate several of the foundations with their former structures.
    The second set of photos is of the Copper World Mine. In 1909, it was the primary producer of copper ore to the Helvetia Smelter. The mine is located alongside a popular 4WD trail on the northwestern slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains about 1 ¼ miles north of the Helvetia site. This mine was accessed by a double compartment inclined 500’ shaft. There were 12000 feet of tunnels, drifts, winzes and stopes. At one time there was quite a bit of surface development as seen in the 1909 photo. Esentially, NOTHING exists there today! I did find the remnants of one of the old water tanks, the platform for the hoisting machinery and very little else. The mine area has been reclaimed, I believe, by the folks wanting to pursue the mine at Rosemont.
    I have set up a webpage showing the “then” and “now” at these and the other sites from the list above. Those photos are higher resolution than those posted here. Plus, there are photos of some of the relics seen around the sites. The link is:
    www.azbackcountryadventures.com/rita.htm
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