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Preserving the legacy of the Old Dominion mine

The History of the Old Dominion Mine

It was the largest mine operation in a region replete with copper mines at the turn of the Century.

The community of Globe-Miami was built on copper and the East Coast money which flocked here at the turn of the century to cash in on the rich bodies of copper ore. At one time there were over 35 operating mines around Globe and none were bigger than The Old Dominion Mine.

The old Headframe before it was dismantled. Photographed by Bill Woody, Ohio.
Like mining in general, the Old Dominion had fits and starts as it came to life and passed through several owners. The Old Dominion company was originally a silver producer, but in the early ‘1880’s erected a small copper furnace west of Globe to treat some ores found nearby. From 1876 – 1884 the “camp: produced about 21 million pounds of copper until the price of copper dropped to 9 3/4 cents and was closed down. Four years later, the price of copper ‘soared’ to 17 cents and the mines reopened.” (The Border. pp10. pub.1909)

“From 1899 -1905 the mine developed few new ore bodies and it was even thought that the supply would soon be exhausted. Yet, the discovery of a large ore body west of Globe, which would become Miami Copper, proved there was still much to be discovered in the area, and by 1906, under new management, the mining engineers with the Old Dominion discovered one of the largest low-grade ore deposits in the United States.” (The Border. pp10. pub.1909)

The mine was shut down in 1931 and has remained closed for nearly eighty years.

A new future for an old mine:  A Historic Mine Park

The idea of a walking park on the Old Dominion property was first raised twenty years ago, but it wasn’t until 2003 that a committee was formed to seriously advance the idea and began working with all stakeholders including BHP,  the City of Globe, FreePort McMoran and others. The small group which has lead the way on the project includes; Thea Wilshire , Mary Ann Moreno , Brandon Parker , and  Ellen Kretch. The group has succeeded in getting all the necessary permits and approvals which took over 7 years of wrangling with lawyers and stakeholder interests to arrive at an agreement on how the property would be used and what was permissible on the site.

Today, all of the site planning, design work, signage and  have been done and are finally ready to put into place this Fall.

The Generosity of others in funding a Walking Park

The Park is made possible through the slow and steady persistence of this group in working through every obstacle. Funding for the site came from many sources including: $140,000in grant monies and donations; including a Governors’ Rural Tourism Development grant for $140,000, $12,500 from BHP, $10,000 from Globe Rotary, $2,000 from the Rotary District, $2,000 from Gila Historical Museum, $2,000 from WAIME, $2,500 from SME, $5,000 from MWH, $3,000 from FreePort McMoran, $1,000 from Resolution Copper and $5,800 from individuals.

In addition, Wilshire says the group has received over $70,000 of ‘in kind’ services involving engineering and design.

The Park is slated to open February 12,2011 and promises to be a real draw for tourism, as well as local school groups, organizations and individuals.

The Old Dominion Historic Mine Park will be open from Dusk to Dawn… and involve approximately 3 miles of walking paths which will be marked by large 4’x4′ signs detailing the history and evolution of mining in the region. The Self-Guided tour will give the visitor a rich sense of the regions mining history including “evolving mining methods”, and the impact of railroads on the mining industry.

The entrance to the park will be up the road behind DeMarcos Italian Restaurant, off Hwy 60, and will have a large area for parking, plus ramadas strategically placed throughout the park for enjoying the views, and getting out of the sun.

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