Four miles east of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the mining town, Superior, Arizona. It is the first of three mining towns that I have often photographed while wintering in Arizona. Eighteen miles further is Miami and then after another 6 miles is the county seat, Globe.
There is beauty in this semi arid landscape. It is rocky and rugged with a wide range of cacti and other plant life suited to the climate. Even though the elevations of this area are higher than those close to Phoenix summer temperatures can regularly reach up to 100 degrees F while below freezing temperatures are common in the winter.
Mining in the area began in the 1870’s. The original Magma mine in Superior was founded in 1875 and closed in 1996. Today, efforts are underway to open a much deeper mine below the Magma site. Copper has been mined in the Miami area since the early 1900’s. It has been described as a classic Western copper boom-town.
One would think when first walking the streets of Superior that it was a ghost town. It is not. While the homes are small and run down most are occupied. Many of its downtown brick buildings are boarded up. On my last visit through there, there were several buildings being renovated so perhaps the ongoing mineral exploration is having a positive affect.
Most of my images were made in the Superior to Miami area. I was attracted to the rustic run down aspect of these towns and the affect that the harsh climate and the up and down nature of the economy has had on the buildings.
The central image of this article was made in Superior. It is part of the façade of an old hotel. While the walls and the signage were almost completely bleached out by the sun I found that by adjusting the setting in my image software I could bring out the hidden colours. I called it ‘Vacant’ and entered it in Lake Country’s Artwalk several years ago. It sold!
I noticed during my last visit that this building is being renovated and probably is now an active hotel again.
The images in the gallery below represent the geographical landscape and some of the sights from around the Superior and Miami areas. I found several active antique stores in Miami. They were chock-full of memorabilia and old household items that would interest most antique hunters. One of the store owners allowed me in to photograph her store. That was fun.
Also in Miami were several old cars stored behind a tall fence. To make these images I had to hold my cameral high over my head above the fence and hope that I was pointing it correctly. Most of the time that was not quite the case.