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A Defining Chapter in Bisbee's Mining History at the Irish Mag Mine

The Irish Mag Mine's story, set against the rugged backdrop of Bisbee, Arizona, is more than a tale of mining; it's a narrative steeped in human drama, ambition, and the transformative power of industry.

MINE BUILDINGS, headframe. and smoke stack in the desert

The Beginnings: Daly's Ownership and The Naming

In the late 1800s, James Daly, an Irish immigrant, established the Irish Mag Mine, marking the start of a significant era in Bisbee's mining history. Daly, infusing a bit of local color into the mine's identity, whimsically named it after a local prostitute. This choice reflected the unique interplay between the local culture and the burgeoning mining industry of the era.

man with white beard and hat
Dr. James Douglas

Escalating Tensions: The Dispute with Douglas

As the mine's operations commenced, Daly's path crossed with James Douglas, a prominent figure in the Arizona mining scene. Douglas showed interest in purchasing the Irish Mag Mine, a proposal that would soon lead to heightened tensions. A dispute over railway use and pricing escalated the situation, with Daly's resentment towards Douglas growing. In a dramatic twist, Daly threatened to shoot Douglas or his mine boss, Ben Williams, deepening the rift between them.

Tragedy and Transition: The Constable Incident

The tension reached its peak when constable W.W. Lowther went to serve an arrest warrant on Daly for assaulting a Mexican. This meeting ended in tragedy, with Daly shooting and killing the constable. In the aftermath, Daly fled to Mexico, evading immediate capture but was eventually caught. This incident marked a turning point in the mine's history.

The Superstition and Change of Hands

Following the shooting, Douglas, plagued by superstitions, refused to purchase the mine, considering it bad luck. This decision opened a window of opportunity for the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company. Seizing the chance, they acquired the Irish Mag Mine, a move that would significantly alter the mining landscape of Bisbee.

The Calumet and Arizona Era

Under the new ownership of the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company, the Irish Mag Mine flourished in the early 1900s. It became a key player in the region, contributing significantly to the mining industry's growth. The mine's operations, though lasting only a few years, had a lasting impact, leading to the discovery of new mining sites and shaping the future of mining in Bisbee.

Closure and Legacy

Eventually, the operations at the Irish Mag Mine ceased, and by the turn of the century, the site was closed. Over time, the landscape transformed, with the original location of the mine giving way to modern open-pit mining operations. Today, while the physical structures of the Irish Mag Mine are no more, its story endures. It remains a significant chapter in the mining history of Bisbee and Arizona, a testament to the region's rich past.

Through historical tours and narratives, the legacy of the Irish Mag Mine continues to be celebrated. Its dramatic history, pivotal role in the mining industry, and enduring impact make it an unforgettable chapter in the story of the American West.

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