The Old Dominion Mine and the copper it produced were the main reasons for the development of the Globe/Miami region and the primary reason Globe was the fourth largest city in Arizona at statehood. In operation from 1880 to 1931, the mine produced over 765 million pounds of copper and introduced innovations in mining that are still used around the world today.
With decades of community support, this once closed site has been transformed into an award-winning regional mining park honored by the Governor as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project.
The Old Dominion Mine Park (ODMP) represents 18 years of development, multiple public-private partnerships, over $700,000 in funding, and thousands of volunteer hours. In a unique collaboration, the ODMP Committee (originally under the auspices of the Gila County Historical Society) built the park while the City of Globe maintains the site as a city park on 195 acres of land owned by the international mining company BHP.
The ODMP is a great place to hike, geocache, fly kites, ride trails, and have group gatherings. It provides over 200 educational and wayfinding signs, historic mining artifacts, miles of trails for walking or mountain biking, a 9-hole disc golf course, a mining-themed playground with a 100-foot zipline, rock samples and identifiers, and a 7-foot diameter compass on the highest hill that identifies local mountains and communities. These amenities are in addition to picnic pavilions and ramadas, barbeques, bathrooms, benches, foot bridges, a drinking fountain crafted for both people and dogs, a video surveillance security system, and remnants of the mining structures that used to be present.
The park is free of charge, open from dawn to dusk, and offers free site maps in a rack outside the bathrooms. If you are playing disc golf, it is recommended you take a picture of the map posted just before the first hole as it is the only course indicator in the park. For your safety, it is wise to bring additional water and to consider sun protection as there is little shade. In the summer, plan your visits in the cooler morning hours or when the sun sets as a gentle breeze comes up most evenings at that time. The pedestrian gates at the two entrances are left unlocked, so you won’t be stuck in the evenings; however, there are no lights on the site and wild creatures live in the area, so head off site before dark.
People have asked about the difference in the Old Dominion Mine Park and Round Mountain Park. I love both sites and use them frequently. Round Mountain has natural flora on a site that has been largely undisturbed, offers tougher hills for aerobic exercise, and is stunning in wildflower season. The Old Dominion is a reclaimed mine site, teaches about local history and mining, offers an outdoor museum of historic artifacts, and provides flatter trails. During rattlesnake season, I prefer the straighter and wider trails at the Old Dominion as I can see the surroundings without obstructions or curves and keep my dog safe.
The Old Dominion Historic Mine Park is a great way to be introduced to mining, geology, and the regional history of this Old West region. It is one of the many things I love about the Globe-Miami-San Carlos region.
To get there from Highway 60, turn onto Murphy Street by DeMarco’s Restaurant, then drive about 50 yards to the park’s opening on your left. For safety when leaving, follow the signs that lead you to downtown and Highway 60 as the Murphy St./highway intersection can be dangerous.
Thea Wilshire works as an author, psychologist, speaker, healthcare consultant, and AirBnB host. Her passions include community development, the creation of public spaces, trying new adventures, and sharing her therapy dog with schools and medical facilities. Find her blog at http://www.acornconsulting.org/blog.